Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

There is a tourist shop on Seattle's waterfront that has always fascinated me: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Perhaps it is because it looks like my office. Or perhaps my office looks like the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop because of the stuff I used to buy from them. For example, the genuine shrunken head fashioned out of goat skin that is perched on my flashing plastic crow on a skull shown above is from the Curiosity Shop (the skull is actually from Big favorite store when I am in the mood to buy useless, cheap crap that I usually end up immediately sending to Good Will). The head is pretty darned realistic looking. But if you go into the Olde Curiosity Shop, you can view real shrunken heads from the Amazon and two genuine mummies...Sylvester and Sylvia.

There's lots of weird stuff like that at the Olde Curiosity Shop. Problem is, it's pretty cramped and almost always full of tourists just dying to buy a t-shirt that says something about all the rain in Seattle. So, I don't really go there much anymore. I mean, after you've bought one shrunken head, what else is left.

Thinking back to childhood, I was always fascinated by weird stuff. My favorite part of field trips to the Idaho Historical Museum in grade school was this stuffed two-headed calf that they had. I thought that was pretty cool. I was never sure what it said about Idaho's history, but I think it had something to do with the dangers of inbreeding. I could have pretty much learned that lesson by looking at the way many of my cousins turned out. My mom came from a family of 13 kids and some of the younger ones pretty much showed what happened when you start scrapping the bottom of the DNA pool. And lord I have some butt ugly cousins.

But, I digress.

I've always figured I keep odd stuff around because they are conversation pieces. Essentially this means I spend a great deal of time explaining why I have a warthog skull on my coffee table. Oh, and that doughnut in the tape dispenser is just about nine years old. It was my own little experiment in mummification. Plus it is practical. I figure if push comes to shove in an emergency, dipped in a little coffee that sucker will be as good as new.

Nevertheless, as I get older, I find myself less drawn to collecting weird crap just for the sake of having it. One, the clutter is really getting to me and two, I don't want to end up like a friend of mine's aunt who collected tons of these porcelain figurines and would superglue them to shelves so they would be easier to dust and wouldn't fall over in the event of an earthquake. Of course, they discovered she had a brain tumor, so that could have contributed to that line of thinking in her case.

Oh well...

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