Monday, July 10, 2006

Ball Chain Clown Head

I wouldn't say that I collect ball chain, but I wouldn't say that I don't. It is more like money. I like to have money in the bank and the second best thing is to have things that money buys in ready reserve. In a sort of elastic view of currency, having a $10 pile of ball chain stock is practically the same as having ten dollar bills.

The entire jar of ball chain was purchased an inch or ten at a time from garage sales. If I see a little 5" piece, I will offer a nickel for it. You can't ask, "How much for the ball chain?" as people have seemingly lost an understanding of amounts of money under a quarter. Before they can say twenty-five cents, dig out that nickel and get ready for some serious negotiating. They will look at the extraordinarily modest length of ball chain and realize that a nickel looks pretty damn good. Sure, I save money by never paying retail for ball chain but, more than that, I save time, energy and trips to Home Depot. Saving trips to Home Depot is a pretty good policy for healthy living. For each Home Depot trip I avoid I suspect I add a day to my life, not to mention dollars to the bank, gas to my tank and time to my day. And if that isn't enough, Home Depot doesn't even sell ball chain on the spool anymore. Not surprisingly, Amazon does at 30 cents a foot.

Of course, the economics of buying ball chain at garage sales make no sense but, besides priceless treasures, I buy lots of staples at garage sales-from binder clips to pegboard hooks to Pendaflex folders to circuit breakers to Astrobright paper to sandpaper to half-full cans of WD-40. In other words, all the stuff that makes you wonder how you pissed away so much money and don't have anything to show for it.

Save on the stuff that doesn't matter and spend your money on heirlooms. When was the last time you bought something that you knew you would have for your entire life and pass down to future generations?

How do you drill a hole in a cupcake topper without disturbing the clown's plucky hat? Pilot hole. Use a tiny drill bit first, then expand the hole with larger drill bits in several steps.

Remember the game closet in The Royal Tenenbaums? With the Monopoly house on the light pull chain? If the Beastie Boys are our band, Wes Anderson is the moviemaker for our hopelessly sentimental generation. I am continually amazed by his astonishing understanding of what it is like to be a geeky kid. He makes movies that reflect how we thought life was going to be. The big projects, the car projects, the Make projects, are great. But boy is it satisfying to knock out something like this in fifteen minutes.