Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family Artifact

My mother is the queen of random. At Christmas, birthdays, and sometimes for no reason at all, a box will arrive. Some of the things I've received include tourism guides to Sioux Falls, SD (my home town), ten year old issues of Cat Fancier magazine, my Cub Scout relics and First Communion certificate and paraphernalia, mildewed books by forgotten authors, and this lamp, sans shade. For some reason I'd prefer not to think too hard about, my mother looked at this lamp one day and said to herself, without irony, "I think Tim would want this." I tried to leave it behind at my ex-wife's. but it didn't work. She delivered it to my new apartment. My prized little hobo boy lamp.

In an insane moment, I thought this might be one of those Antique Roadshow kind of things, where the hideous bad art that's been sitting in Aunt Mildred's attic is appraised at $450,000. I looked around online, and there was little evidence that anything of value had ever been produced by Don Ward Industries. Similar cultural abominations were going on Ebay for about $3.

And so, I am left to contemplate the mystery of the lamp. Who is this cheeky hobo boy with the battered hat? Why is he following me? What horrible nuclear accident is responsible for his deformed dog? What, other than flight, would be a suitable response to being confronted in person by this freakish little gnome with the yellow flowers. Why are his legs crossed like that? Does he need to pee? If I gave this lamp to Goodwill, would some art school stoner make a bong out of him? Can God exist in a universe where this sort of thing happens? I can't bring myself to throw him away, but I'm working on it.


Revel said...

Must confess I really do like it, though I did roll it away underneath the cabinet. Reminds me of "Leprechaun." Hard to look at. Needs a kitschy shade.

DiAnne said...

That is still fashionable in South Dakota.

I used to live in Plankinton, South Dakota and went to University of South Dakota at Vermillion, the Berkeley of South Dakota.

(They had Owsley acid.)

Hebe said...

And your little dog too!

Hi Tim,

What a delightfully scary lamp. I believe your mother is what is known in the biz as a Found Object Psychic. This involves an involuntary impulse to find and then give to some hapless relative or bystander an object that will be of use after or during an upcoming event or in some cases a symbolic image of the persons life in general. I myself had a brief touch of the FOP when I gave my treasured three legged stuffed dog bonzo to the neighborhood bully Johnny Palmer as collateral to pass his house without harassment. Unfortunately later that day his own dog, Bruce, (the moose), had a run-in with the garbage truck that rendered him a rather messy mirror image of Bonzo.
Johnny, having witnessing to de-legging was in kiddy therapy for years-- leaving the neighborhood in peace.

My own talents culminated at seven and a half and then waned after a spectacular episode when 10 minutes after I gave a brand new miniature plastic corvair to my parents older friend Clayton we looked out to see his brand new hot-pink Cadillac catch fire, (faulty electric window buttons), and burn to the ground. It was quick and brutal. It melted the wires overhead and the tires to the pavement. Fabulous. Since then I have not been bothered much by the syndrome. Occasionally at a garage sale I eye a cocktail mix set made of small golf clubs or some bad art that beckons to me-- but I restrain myself.

So the lamp. What we have got here is the Fool tarot card. A person empty of experience, i.e., “poor of spirt” since they just went through a purge. He is moving - hence the leg crossing--left leg first- rational choice He comes from at his feet. In fact, beauty is all he is taking with him hence the flower in his hand. He is urged on by his canine friend, (animal nature), who is either humping him towards enlightenment or giving him a small woof of warning as to the road ahead.

Of course those of a classical bent could argue that this figure could simply be a blind roman beggar, mendicus, with his dog to guide him. however since the dog is posterior and not anterior with a notable lack of nobel bearing I believe my first guess is probably best. All though the tramps eyes do have rather demented and blank look to them....

There is a third quite simplistic possibility. It is a tramp. You do work with the homeless. You do need illumination --ideas to light your was on your journey. So if you are the lamp you need only find the dog that is bitting your ass, interpret his bark, locate a long-lasting bulb and most important .... a place to plug yourself in.

This interpretation was for entertainment purposes only.

Best to you and girls.