Sometimes my husband says the dumbest things. Just last night he said, “I think you have too many clothes.” Can you imagine? Clearly, clearly he is wrong, since I never have anything to wear, ever. If I had too many clothes, than obviously I would have too much to wear, rather than nothing suitable at all. Ever.
I attempted to explain this, by mentioning tool boxes, but it seemed to cause such panic and distress in the poor man, that I could not even complete my sentence. I intended to say that, “if all your toolboxes were empty, my clothes would fit into them with room to spare.”
The man was not receptive to this idea in the least and I was forced to backtrack. Actually I found myself providing comfort to no avail, trying desperately to explain that was only a metaphor, an imaginary emptying of those tool boxes, not a literal one. I wasn’t even suggesting such a thing! It was just a size issue, as in the amount of space my clothes take up is smaller than….but it was too late. The man was already putting on his shoes to go check on his tools.
Left alone to process and sort clothing, some of which can probably never be worn again or perhaps even if it were possible to wear it, one probably shouldn’t, I found myself remembering an old rusty plumber’s wrench, a massively huge thing like you might find at a murder scene, not unlike a heavy candlestick from an old game of Clue, that the butler used to bludgeon the maid with in the library. What was unique about this wrench however, was that it’s handle was completely sheered off, so not really a wrench at all, but rather a wrench head.
It was a fascinating thing indeed, because one wondered how in the heck did that even happen? What great force could have sheered that solid handle right in half, not neat and clean at all, but ragged and torn and sharp about the edges. The handle was not cut off, it was twisted by brute force. I doubt a man could have done that with strength alone, unless he was Superman. Perhaps the wrench got hot?
But never mind all that, the point is, that is not “a tool,” as in it no longer serves a purpose as a tool. What is one even supposed to do with a wrench that has no handle? After great discussion once, my husband finally relented and admitted it was actually a “conversation piece,” but I suspect I heard him mutter the words, “still a tool,” as I walked away.
Hmmm, so form versus function, as in excessive clothing, and things like pillows, are primarily about form while Very Important Things like tools are all about function, making them infinitely more valuable. Except for that wrench, of course. Or the tools that no longer work, the orphans, the handle-less bits and conversation pieces, the memories and sentimentality…
My husband soon returned, comforted by the visual affirmation of his tools, that very same wrench head now in his hands, which he rather smugly tossed into the air while declaring, “I always wear my clothes, all of them.”
But knowing things worth knowing, what more could I do but smile, that wrench head such an odd combination of form, function, and sentimentality.