Sinatra smiles easily, looking rather dapper in his cocked Fedora. Audrey looks coyly away, almost as if to say that she needs no such accoutrements to achieve an even more sophisticated look. Edward Gory sits between the two, not really caring what he looks like, seeing as only his oversized letters are visible – each complete with feline accessory – and together, spelling out the title of his ode to meaningless and nonsensical things. Clustered between all three are various Hollywood power couples of old – all or most of whom are long ago buried, each to their own grave. Swing band dandies can also be seen on occasion – a horn to the mouth and a devil-may-care gleam in their eye – all of them oblivious as to how far we’ve fallen from the musical hopes they may have had for us. The shelf is rounded out by Norman Rockwell’s take on Christmas, some determined Marines, hell-bent on raising a flag and a solitary woman, apparently hell-bent on folding herself in half, all in an effort to explain “proper” yoga techniques.
The second shelf is guarded by a series of Pullip dolls, some dressed as Alice In Wonderland characters, and others even scarier. A whacky Wobbler white rabbit pretends to lead them, but they ignore his existence even more than they do mine. Nestled behind their ranks are the likes of “The Little Minister” sitting idly beside Lewis Carroll’s best efforts. Fairies of various colors – Green, Blue, Red and Yellow – surround Hans Christian Anderson. And the whole lot of them completely ignore both the Little Women and the British nanny (she who can fly aided only by an umbrella) that sit close enough, and seem nice enough, as to warrant not such disregard. Bridging these two groups is a pre-war era portable pinball game, still proudly wearing its weathered box, and acting quite superior about being on top of all the rest. Slouching up against the hard-cover nanny mentioned before is a well-worn and scuffed paperback child by the name of Harry Potter. Seven volumes in total, the first being seven times more used in appearance than the last, but the last catching up quickly.
The conversation being held on the third shelf up pertains to everything from “Diamonds (of the baseball variety) in the rough” to the vanishing act of a certain Esme Lennox. In between, Studs Terkel can be seen to be making quite a dent in the available space. He is forced to share it begrudgingly with both Gaiman’s Coraline and Burton’s translation of Arabian Nights. The Pierrot doll box thrown unceremoniously atop the Burton volume is unaware of the honor, and sits rather neglected-looking, hoping to stay unnoticed in the shadows. Stuffed versions of Lock, Shock and Barrel sit closely together – quite obviously scared of the three Madame Alexander replicas. The Mad Hatter, the Scare Crow and Little Red Riding Hood are each staring blankly, with eyes as dead as you would think a McDonalds giveaway’s would have. Babe Ruth sits safe however, in the life that he built, and he neither needs the dictionary of angels nearby nor does he fear the presence of Dracula next to it. And Jo’s Boys, well they sit pondering – still not sure if they should peruse a book of Christmas Tales or rather, see what they can learn from the poisoners handbook that sits next to it instead.
The fourth shelf finds a plastic Anguirus (of Godzilla-fame) fighting a housecat dressed in period piece clothing. Anguirus surely fights out of fear, the cat being the scariest thing on the shelf. The Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book is a book in serious need of decorating, and its age can be more felt by the soul than seen with the eye. A model U.S. Coast Guard ship protects the list of Schindler, some Boys from Brazil, Oscar Wilde and Angela’s Ashes, but “The Bronze Horseman” is left to fend for himself. The Da Vinci Code feels rather underdressed in comparison to its shelf mates, and as a result it makes every effort to stand out, quite in a sore thumb and overly needy fashion. The Fozzie The Bear wristwatch beside it almost seems to blush as a result. Atop Don Quixote sits several hounds of the Baskerville – of the illustrated pocketbook type – and they seem to glare at the first of two sonic screwdrivers, created solely from a few Lego pieces, a modicum of imagination and a buckets-full of love.
The fifth shelf does not find the second of the two sonic screwdrivers, in part because this item actually resides on the sixth shelf instead. What can be found however is a platoon of green army men. Presumably protecting the Sea World novelty mug in their midst from the blue plastic chick-a-dee sitting near by. An idea found unlikely, especially when considering the porcelain baby doll, even deadlier-in appearance, that looms equally close by. Matheson proudly proclaims that he “is legend” while Marx spouts off about his never-ending yet never-fully realized manifesto. Robin Hood attempts to upstage not one, but three, musketeers and Faulkner simply lies there, dying. The Godfather sits in a unassuming, yet cocky fashion – even though he never once seems to show any interest in the Maltese Falcon, sitting there for the taking. Terkel makes on last appearance, shaking Frankenstein’s hand before he leaves.
The final shelf is the sixth – and while shelves one through five have been filled with culture and poise, adventure and drama, wit and wisdom – the sixth shelf is the one that belongs to me.
As a result, the thing that first jumps out is the tin of Bacon Mints (yes, bacon-flavored mints). An item that cannot be thrown away until such time as another (full) one has been found to replace it. A plastic Gigan (again, of Godzilla fame) smirks as he watches Martin Luther sit on top of Pontius Pilate, relishing in the fact that there must be at least some sort of irony involved in all that. A book on the parables of Jesus sits rather close to a book concerning itself with disastrous quotes and ill-fitted catch phrases throughout the ages. Perhaps at the time that the book was titled “Boners”, boners didn’t quite mean what it has come to mean since, and as such, the editors were unaware as to their own disaster to come. “A Christmas Story” is squashed between both Steven Colbert and Dave Barry. And even though it is the smallest and quaintest of the three, it is also i think the funniest. “The book of totally useless information” never asks why men have nipples, but the book above it does. Harold and his worn down, yet still mighty, purple crayon help to support both the second sonic screwdriver, and the most curious Fathers Day present ever received – a pen. A pen that’s also a comb. A pen that’s also a comb, complete with a mirror. And a pen that never ever wrote a single word because it also came equipped with a dried out ink stick. The old faux leopard skin cigarette case sits empty, with a rather pissy look – seemingly more upset that it is no longer used than it is happy that i no longer need to use it. And it sits on top of the final book – a book that might have better explained the entire bookcase had it come first – it’s titled “A Stranger In A Strange Land”.
The entire collection is closed up behind heavy wooden and glass doors – the kind that begin to creak almost before they’re opened. And these doors, while not locked, are sealed by a book about the lives of the saints – one that sits outside the bookcase proper because it is surprisingly used quite often. i’m not sure if the saints within pray for us, our bookcase, or if they even pray at all. But i do know that they help to complete the look. One of i don’t know what, but one that is a snapshot into our life.