Monday, February 08, 2010
Then Again, Let's Not
There are moments when I feel ungentlemanly for shooting peas at these old magazines. Part of it has to do with being a budding designer myself, and wondering which things I'm putting out there will some day make the Hit Parade of a "You Knit What?" as yet unborn.
The other part stems from an honest-to-goodness feeling of gratitude for publications like Workbasket. That plucky little thing toodled along for sixty years–a magnificent run for a periodical by anyone's standards–even though by the mid-1970s knitting and crochet were both on life support. Granted, Workbasket was heavy with flights of fancy that should have been grounded on the tarmac. Toward the end, fiber arts content was heavily supplemented with forays into tuna cookery and making your own beef jerky. But the editors kept putting it out there, month after month, long after more mainstream mags like Woman's Day and Family Circle had given up on any craft that required mastery of an actual skill.
On the other hand, just when I'm in danger of smudging the faded ink with tears of thankfulness, I turn the page and run into something like this.
In case they don't have doors where you come from, this is a doorknob cover. In case they don't have doorknob covers where you come from, you may be wondering why a doorknob needs a cover.
I have encountered doorknob covers in real life–including several sisters, cousins and aunts of the Scary Clown variation shown below. They were to be found on various knobs around my paternal grandmother's house when I was a little boy, and I hated them.
When you are five years old, and small for your age at that, a doorknob cover is less a piece of handmade whimsy than a torture device. The doorknobs on the heavy old doors in grandma's house were either metal or china. They were slippery when nude. Tricked out in equally slippery acrylic, they became almost entirely impossible to turn, even with both hands.
And there was one on the bathroom door.
Place yourself, if you will, in the tiny shoes and underpants of a newly housebroken child who has had three glasses of Kool Aid and has just felt the alarming and unmistakeable call of nature. He heads for the commode, but finds the way barred by the immovable head of a smirking clown. He struggles, he bangs, he cries a little bit.
Finally, in desperation, he goes against everything Grandma and Sunday School have taught him rather than face the shame of admitting to the grown-ups that there's been an accident.
Grandma, if you're reading this, I used one of your good tablespoons to bury the doorknob cover over by where the plum tree used to be. I'm sorry. The tree is long gone; but since the clown face was made out of Red Heart, it's probably still there. At least you didn't have to mop the hallway.