I do not believe in Good and Evil but I do believe in my favourite teaspoon. It has been with me for 25 years now, a faithful utensil and steadfast ally.
Earlier today it got covered in a strange, nasty, sticky substance.
I cleaned it you-could-say-lovingly until it was back to its usual, smooth, spoony self.
We have been through a lot together, it and I.
My teaspoon does not perform the menial tasks expected of my other spoons. It does not sit around all day in an open sugar bowl. It does not stir hot beverages. It does not scoop avocados out of their skin (a technique I use when the avocado is not ripe enough to peel the skin clean off).
It would be a gross exaggeration to say that I venerate my teaspoon but it is the only object in my possession that I have anthropomorphic feelings for/towards.
It is a respected pensioner that gets a free ride. It is a veteran exempted from duty (and duly thanked for its service). It is pardoned, acquitted, forgiven. It is released from its incarceration in form and function.
There are four hallmarks on the back of the handle. The first is a flower. I believe, not really, that this is a sign it was manufactured in 1939 by the American manufacturer Reed & Barton. Reed and Barton have been in business since 1824 and produced “a considerable quantity of weapons for Union army soldiers and officers” during the American civil war.
By extension my teaspoon contributed to the American Dream, meaning the pursuit of happiness, meaning the unravelling of reality.
My teaspoon has a deep, capacious bowl that would be a source of fear to a child about to receive a spoonful of Castor oil, but delight to a heroin user preparing their next fix.
It has fin-like protuberances extending from its silvery shoulders which accentuate its slivery stem. It is a shapely little thing that reminds me of a stick figure egg-head whose limbs have been cruelly hacked off (in the course of the never-ending war for freedom).
There are three further hallmarks but I cannot distinguish them. One could be an M or two intertwined gothic A’s. The third is almost certainly a B. I cursorily look online to see what the marks mean but it turns out that “there are so many silver hallmarks […] that to know all of them would be impossible.”
Hallmark Cards, Incorporated, on the other hand, is a private, family-owned American company that was founded in 1910. It has made a fortune from peddling words, a currency far more lucrative than any precious metal. Hallmark manufactures greetings cards to cover “all occasions”; anniversaries, back to school, baptisms, bar (and bat) mitzvahs, birthdays, confirmations, congratulations, encouragement, first communions, friendship, convalescence, graduation, just because, new babies, quinceañeras, retirement, sympathy, thanks, and weddings.
(None of the surviving 26 birthday and Christmas cards from my mother were made by Hallmark.)
I offer the following message for Hallmark free of charge:
The pronouncement of love is a death sentence to love.
Hallmark also has a TV channel. It presumably peddles words, in the form of sentiments, in the shape of misconceptions, in the never-ending hope of happiness.
TV and films are the artificial life support that keeps me going. I recently encountered the following magnificent piece of dialogue in Halt and Catch Fire (not a Hallmark production):
Katie: Yeah, the best thing about a PhD in Library Science is I get to call myself a “bibliothecographer”.
Joe: So you were a photography archivist at Chicago Art Institute?
Gordon: Th-That sounds cool.
Katie: Eh, hypothermic, actually. I survived exactly one winter. I’m a California girl. But not in the David Lee Roth kind of way.
Joe: Can you, uh, can you give us an example of your methodology? For instance, how do you organize your CDs?
Katie: Well, my, um, my brother is really into metal, and I helped him manage his collection. I put all of the death metal CDs on one shelf, from the simple bands like Obituary and Cannibal Corpse on the left, to melodic and technical death in the middle, eh, followed by death/black and grind/death and death crossovers, and then I put the industrial death, folk death, and barely-death at the end. And then, the next shelf was for black metal, through the whole Norwegian scene, like Mayhem and Burzum, through the un-black and then the not-really-black-but-sorta-fits, like Cradle of Filth. And.. Oh, do, um, do you want me to keep going? The-There’s Raunchy Power
Joe: No, that’s perfect.
Gordon: Raunchy Power?
Joe: Most people just alphabetize.
Gordon: You sure this was your brother’s collection?
Joe: Okay, one final thing. How would you list a website about “barks”?
Katie: Depends if you mean dog noise, tree layer, root beer – that’s Barq’s with a “q” – or boat.
Gordon: Wait. B–Bark is a boat?
Katie: Mm-hmm. Uh, technically, it’s a sailing ship with three or more masts.
Gordon: Huh. We don’t even know the answer to our own trick question.
Ermita and I get cosily psychoanalytical as we sit in my two Ikea-manufactured armchairs that lean towards each other at a discreet angle intended to invite openness and fellowship but also to encourage self-reflection by way of staring out the misty-eyed windows.
“I don’t feel anything when people die.”
I know what she means. I fist bump her.
There is only life. The fiefdom of life, the fee-fi-fo-fum of life, the scar-shaped hallmarks of life.
My teaspoon and I are coming up on our silver anniversary.