April 17, 2024

The Concept of Antiques

The concept of antiques has always puzzled me. I don’t give a hoot about the old junk itself, but the concept is intriguing. The same old furniture we couldn’t wait to get rid of thirty years ago is now valuable simply because we never reached the point of desperation where we needed to burn it for heat. Other pieces survived only because chrome-plated tubular steel, Formica, and beanbags don’t burn very well.

The guy who came up with the antique idea has to be one of the greatest salesmen of all time. I think it had to be a guy because once a man leaves home and buys his first set of furniture, that’s it. That same furniture lasts him the rest of his natural life or until he gets married. The one possible exception is if his apartment is gutted by fire.

A man buys the furniture (it’s usually a TV set, a recliner, and a bed), takes it home, puts it in place, and leaves it there forever. Women have to move stuff around all the time. I believe it’s in their genes. If they don’t have a man to move it, they do it themselves. They slide the pieces around, here and there, like those little plastic puzzles with the movable squares.

I recall coming home from work one day to find my wife waiting for me at the door holding the loose end of a rope. She said, “Attach this to your truck and after it’s taut, go exactly five feet eight inches farther.” I decided this required investigation, and found the other end tied to our waterbed. All this sliding around takes a toll. Sooner or later, the legs wear down to nubs and the piece of furniture must be replaced. If it were left up to women, antiques would not exist, because nothing would stay around that long. Somewhere along the line a man must have convinced a woman that hanging on to the same old furniture would be a good thing.

Picture the following scene: Gorg and Goria are sitting around the cave and Goria says, “Gorg slide that boulder over closer to the fire and switch those two end-rocks–I think we need to get a new bark-o-rock; that one’s getting pretty seedy.” (I assume you noticed how she tried to slip that last part in.)

Gorg has been through this before and he knows what to expect, so he says, “I’ll move the boulder and the end-rocks, but this bark-o-rock stays. I hauled this one all the way from over where those red rocks are just so it would add the splash of color you wanted in the den-cave. Also, I’ve just got this one broke in. It’s comfortable, fits my butt, and all it would take is a couple handfuls of bark to make it as good as new. Besides, I was looking at the new ones, and they’re made pretty cheap. They’re not going to last long at all. They just don’t make rocks the way they used to.”

“But I want a new one.”

“Tell you what we’ll do. We’ll get a new one, but we’ll keep the old one too, and when everybody finds out how junky the new ones are they’ll be knocking on our door-rock trying to talk us out of the old one. I’ll be able to sell it for three or four times what we paid for it. And they’ll even come get it, I won’t have to haul it away.”

“Where will we put it until we sell it?”

“We’ll have to leave it right there. The shed-cave is full and if I don’t use it every day, it’ll dry out, get brittle, and never be the same.”

“Can we at least smear something on it to make it look better? Throw a hide over it, or something?”

“No, there is nothing available now that comes near the quality of the original dinosaur-snot finish, since they’re extinct you can’t get it anymore. We have to leave it as close to original as possible, or someone will accuse us of having a fake.”

“I don’t know, Gorg.”

“Trust me Goria, I’ve got a real good feeling about this idea.”


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