Now, I may joke that my life resembles a horrible mashup of select episodes of Doctor Who and The Red Green Show, but there are times where this assessment doesn’t come close to the real story. I may also joke about the Czarina’s exceptionally sharp and venomous elbows, and then she puts them on display. Then, then, I occasionally have an adventure where all of the stories come together at once.
To start off, let me introduce you to my friend Barry Kooda, one of the biggest catalysts in the Dallas music community. Barry’s been an influence on Dallas music for working on 40 years: he’s best-known outside of the city for his work with the Nervebreakers, the band that opened for the Sex Pistols when the Pistols played at the Longhorn Ballroom in 1978, but if he wasn’t in a band, he was influencing other musicians for decades. I’ve known him since 1991, when I moved to the Exposition Park area near downtown, and I can say that I’ve had a tiny influence on him. If you don’t believe me, ask him about the Tyrannosaurus and Ichthyosaurus tattoos on his arms.
Anyway, Barry still keeps everyone updated via Facebook, and he passed along a beaut yesterday. Specifically, he came across a display case being discarded behind a landmark hotel, and sent along a photo:
Barry's display case
Now, you have to understand that I come from a long, extensive line of packrats, and the reason why I enjoyed The Red Green Show when it was running is because it’s funny when it’s fiction. The family joke is that everyone was hoping for another Tim Allen when I was born, and instead they got a Tim Burton. The reality is even more insidious, because the packrat gene just took a new and deadly form. Unwatched, I’m just as likely to produce a real-life “Handyman’s Corner” segment and take it into directions that nobody really wants to see.
So there I was, with the offer of a freestanding case that would be perfect for a permanent Nepenthes display. All for no cost, either. All I had to do was figure out how to get the thing home. With a carefree inattention to reality or the repercussions of my actions unseen since my first marriage, I waited until the Czarina picked me up from The Day Job and asked, gently, “Do you think we could look at a display case tonight?”
Absolutely amazingly, she didn’t pin me to the car seat with her elbows. Even more amazingly, she only said “After we eat.” This plan might work after all.
Well, after getting her dinner, we drove down to the north side of downtown to the hotel, and after a bit of wrangling, found the case. It was a bit, erm, larger than I expected. With the base, it stood at least eight feet tall, meaning that even with dismantling it for moving, there was no way it was going to fit into the car. The Czarina didn’t bother to point this out: she just kept mumbling “No way. No way.”
It’s not that it’s a bad case. The base and the molding are brass, with a stout shower-glass backing on good strong hinges. The top had a lighting system, and the plug is still in place. The base is hollow, meaning that it could be perfect for setting in a sunken container for a bog garden arrangement. Best of all, you see what look like sandblast-etched decorations on the side? Those and the advertising for the presumably long-dead spa that owned this case are all made of contact plastic, so a bit of peeling and a bit of Goo-Gone would clean them up nicely.
The Czarina was helpful and thorough. No threats, no yelling, and no untoward displays of the elbows. She noted that with big pieces of glass like this, merely putting them on the bottom of a flatbed would still risk breakage. Since they probably weren’t pieces of safety glass, that breakage could possibly be catastrophic. Worse, we don’t have any place to put it while I cleaned it up, save in the back yard. The garage is too short. The back porch is too short. The greenhouse is definitely too short. She’s right, she’s always right, why do I keep doing these dumb things?
And then my father’s lineage calls to me, over a thousand years. I really hope that someone else gets this before Sunday. If it’s still there by then, I’m renting a truck.