I love old things. Or maybe I should say antiques. Not that I don’t like old people, I’m not saying that, but right now I’m not talking about old PEOPLE but old THINGS. Books, furniture, pictures; old cities, old architecture, old knick knacks. I love to find an old treasure and make it my own, all the while wondering who had it before me and what their life might have been like. I had a beautiful old glasses case back in the day, which I used to carry my lipstick around. Truly a wonderful find, beautiful and elegant. I lost it at the Joe Lewis arena one year, watching a hockey game. I told you all, I love sports, but that particular game sucked, and suckier still was losing my treasure. It’s not like I was likely to ever find out who owned it before me, but it’s fun to wonder. Was this some exotic and beautiful woman who wore thick glasses because she was blind as a bat? Perhaps she found her boyfriend cheating on her and went blind with fury, and suddenly found herself needing glasses and a cute glasses case?
Anyway, I diverge. The whole purpose of this post was actually to brag about a treasure of mine. One glorious, fated day I came across an old book. Very hard for me to resist them, so if they are in the least bit interesting, artistic, or valuable I will do my best to save, salvage or purchase them. No, I’m not a hoarder, I wish you would stop assuming the worst of me. It’s called being a “picker”. Haven’t you seen that show “American Pickers”? Well get on that; it makes all of us crazy packrats feel much more sane, and gives us a viable excuse – er – reason for clutter and collections.
Back to my tale. Stop distracting me.
This book – Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts, c1949 with illustrations by L.J. Allen – is a dandy. Written in a snarky, sassy tongue, the book guides a young man in all things entertainment. What types of drinks you should serve at your party, how to barbeque, how to determine if you are attractive to members of the opposite sex. (I don’t think there are any bits of advice on attracting same sex admirers; this IS 1949 after all) I may end up quoting this book on occasion, because I love it so, or at least sharing an occasional drink recipe.
For example, a little treasure tidbit from the section entitled “Cocktails”:
“There will be times when you must steel yourself to mix up one of those fluffy, multicolored abominations which, for some mysterious reason relating to iron-insides and paralyzed palates, the “ladies” insist upon downing. The habitual-offenders of these unmanly drinks are segregated under “Something for the Girls,” confined to page 117 where they can’t interfere with your own tasteful toasting.”
I love this silly, sexist, sassy book. Good thing I wasn’t a wife back then, or I might have landed in the clinker for homicide with a rolling pin. Better yet, a stirring stick.
I got cute beans.
Back-story: One of my cats – I have four – is ridiculously adorable. I mean, they all are, of course. One is neurotic, needy and affectionate. One is shy, nervous and spends most of the day hiding from carpet lint. One is adventurous, athletic and bossy. And then there is Siris.
Siris is … well, adorable. Soft little belly, big pouty eyes, dark markings on his mouth that make you wonder if he found some kitty-sized lipstick somewhere and is looking into cross-dressing. He does have a shoe fetish. We’ve never determined exactly what it is about this cat that makes him so adorable. True, he is physically cuter than many a cat. We frequently remind him that there are a score of dreadfully ugly felines out in the world because he stole all the cute. He just says “meow”. Is it his cute ‘fun-sized’ stature that makes him so adorable? He’s never really sprouted into a cat size; still walks around sporting a kitten suit. Is it this petite frame that makes him so endearing? Or the fact that he snores when he’s asleep? I mean, serious snoring, like your old favorite grandparent on the Lazy Boy Sunday afternoon. Or could it be all the funny adventures Siris has gotten himself into, and we just automatically believe he is charming because of his hilarious past? The burrito eating contest. The spontaneous cast he made for his arm. His random art projects. Regardless of the reason, he is just freakishly delightful.
And he knows this. In the ten years that we have had Siris, the only days he hasn’t been told he’s cute are days that we were off with family for the holidays; or traveling through Bellinzona, Italy; or landed in jail for indecent exposure in a public place. Hey come on. I thought there was something called Freedom of Religion? Cult rites should be included in that, especially if they involve nudity, honey and shocked onlookers. But back to the topic at hand; me.
Reality is, no matter what the reason, this cat is damn cute. It can’t be denied, ignored, or refuted. And according to my sister, I’m cute too.
It’s a frequent occurrence in my house, the mentioning of “cute”. And it often is attached to me somehow. Throughout the course of the day, I apparently do things that are funny, endearing, stupid, silly or bizarre. I say things that are equally goofy, ridiculous or hilarious, and apparently these silly things create a feeling of affection on the end of others. Or at least this is true with my sister because she is constantly saying how cute I am. Forever now I’ve been responding back to this comment with “why?” or “what did I do?” I want to understand what thing I did that was weird or silly or particularly funny. It’s not like I’ve done anything interesting or humorous in my eyes. I’m just being me. So what on earth is making her smile and shake her head? What did I do?
The other day – after mentioning my cuteness and appropriately being drilled as to the reason of said cuteness – my sister simply said “It’s just in your being”.
“My beans?” I said, jokingly, an old family tradition of purposely mishearing someone’s comments. “I got cute beans?”
She smiled, shaking her head.
And finally it made sense to me. I’m like my cat. And now I no longer need to question the authority or accuracy of my sister’s statements. Because some of us are just innately created to be wacky, weird, wonderful creatures that make others pick on you, laugh at you, and shake their head in wonder. So why fight it? Why question it? I got cute beans.