I have decided to call him Porkius Hamhocks MacSwine, Esquire.
Just at the moment, he is reclining, very much at his ease, on a desk (not mine) in the reporters’ area, where any one coming up The Leader stairs can hardly miss him.
I think he is splendid.
Granted, other staff members have described him using rather different adjectives.
Porkius is a really large, very plump piggy bank (although you have to search diligently to find the coin slot amongst his salmony-pink rolls of ceramic flesh). One of his back legs is inelegantly stretched into the air, his stomach dominates the room, his pudgy tail appears to be an after thought, and his grin reveals at least six chins.
The first question that most people ask me when they lay eyes on Master MacSwine is: Did you actually pay money for that?
Yes I did. Granted the venue was a charitable auction, but I might have purchased old Porkius right from a shop window had I simply seen him while walking.
Why do generally sane and rational people buy insane and irrational things?
I’ve come to the conclusion, after years of making purchases I’m embarrassed about, that there must be a gene in our human nature which compels us to put down cash (that might better be spent on gas or cupcakes) on objects that can only, at best, be called weird.
Don’t condemn. We all do it.
At least I purchased Porkius just for myself. I didn’t intend to inflict him on anyone else – well, maybe co-workers at The Leader, but they gave up trying to “explain” me years ago.
No, there are people out there who actually gift their weird purchases to others!
Even after two decades I can still see the face of a bride at a traditional bridal shower I was attending when she unwrapped one large present.
What she lifted out, to mixed silence, was a huge, bright orange, ceramic turtle, sprawled (grotesquely) on its back. Its stomach was hollowed out, supposedly for crackers, and each of its legs, poking rigidly into the air, sported a bowl apparently designed for dips.
The bride, a very well-brought up girl, managed to stammer out her appreciation for this “truly one of a kind gift” and immediately put it carefully back in its box.
Five minutes later, she unwrapped a second ceramic orange turtle.
Two people actually put down cash for that turtle. And presented it as a gift.
For years I had a large (fake) bluish, bloodshot eyeball, bobbing around in a globe of milky liquid, sitting on my desk at school.
It was a gift from someone who said they just “couldn’t resist buying it,” (which makes one wonder about the type of people I include in my social circle.)
Hideous though it was, frankly Eyeball ended up being a rather useful teaching aid.
First time students in any of my classes who wandered up to my desk, spotted the floater, and exclaimed “Eeew, what’s that?” were generally led to believe that I had a reputation for being quite, quite tough on pupils who failed to complete their homework on time. (Saved a lot of assignment hassles.)
If we were all to be scrupulously honest, haven’t most of us, at one time or another, made some kind of weird purchase? One that embarrasses us to remember?
I mean, there are seniors out there to this day, who have not got over eagerly ordering, using their hard-earned quarters, the “delightful, lively sea monkeys” always featured in big ads on the back pages of almost all comic books.
The ads promised hours of enjoyment once you owned these sea monkeys, watching them climbing little reefs and swinging happily on the seaweed.
The lumpy black specks which eventually arrived in the mailbox, crushed into a brown envelope, proved to be neither monkeys, nor seaworthy. And if you did put them in water, they reeked.
Did I mention the X-Ray Glasses that were supposed to allow you to look through walls? And skin? And clothing?
You’d think bitter childhood disappointments like these would cure most of us of making any more weird purchases.
Not a chance.
I had a shocking orange velour pantsuit that I never wore hanging in my closet for years (charitably you could say I resembled the Great Pumpkin in it). Why then, would I ever buy such a thing?
Because it was ON SALE. And for an incredible price.
Too cheap (or too expensive) to resist are also my excuses for ending up with: Pet Rocks, really loud paisley boots, lava lamps, sequined bustiers (don’t ask), a feather boa (ditto), several pairs of stiletto heels which I absolutely CANNOT walk more than six steps in.
And a Furby.
Okay, there were also some Beanie Babies. And a Cabbage Patch Doll. And I just found these adorable Hatch-i-Mals that honestly, are supposed to hatch into this really cute creature right in front of you…