|Without reading the story below, this really doesn’t mean much, right?|
Today, I just won admiration and respect from my friend, Jane. For I sold coals to Newcastle.
“You gotta be shitting me,” she said when I plunked my objet d’art in front of her. My friend owns a cafe in town, a town which gets lots of seasonal visitors and tourists. She allows her friends to display high-end art work/bric-a-brac/chashkas for sale. Without charging a fee.
“I want to sell this,” I said.
Jane’s eyebrow shot up to her hairline. Politely, she said, “Why would anyone buy it?”
“It” was a giant piece of heavy wood professionally kiln-dried mounted on two metal stilts on a metal platform. When I lived in Manhattan, I thought it was a wonderful piece of work. Still did, but, for some reason, it didn’t stand out in my cottage as it did in my Sutton Place apartment.
“What do you mean?”
She pointed out the window. “Look out there. You’re in the country. Why would anyone want to BUY something you can pick up from the road for free?”
She had a point. Undeterred, I placed the wood sculpture on a pedestal against the wall. With pride, I pointed at it.
“What do you think?”
Jane shook her head, rolling her eyes. “No one will ever buy that.”
The breakfast club, a group of retired local men who meet twice a week, noticed it firsthand. “You gotta be shitting me,” each one exclaimed when they beheld the vision of wood mounted on two metal stilts. Overnight, it became as famous as the cafe chicken.
That was another object of mine - a colorful milk pitcher. It was for sale, but someone borrowed it for the cafe and since then became the mascot. The most repeated phrase was, “Pour through the beak and not through the crest.”
Over time, instead of asking for milk, the breakfast club patrons yelled, “Where’s the chicken?”
The wood statue, though, lacked sufficient allure to get a nickname. Instead, with disdain, the breakfast club jabbed thumbs towards it and stated, “Who would buy something like that?”
It became something of a joke. Which got funnier when my neighbor dropped by and saw me seated at the cafe. He whirled around and pointed at the wood statue and asked, “Is that yours?”
With something akin to shock, I responded, “How did you know?”
Just today a guy entered the cafe and stood in front of the wood piece. He approached me, seated like a fixture at a nearby table, laptop in front and asked, “Is it for sale?”
“Yes, it is,” I said with confidence, catching Jane’s eye at the counter.
“How much is it?”
The guy picked it up and stated, “Wow, that’s heavy!” and placed it on the table in front of me, right by the laptop. While he rummaged in his pocket for money, I gave him the history of the piece. “Everyone mocked me for having this beautiful statue. And should you tire of seeing one side,” I turned it around, “you can then see the other!”
He pulled out thirty-one dollars. “That’s all I have,” he said.
“Enjoy it as much as I did!” Before he left, clutching the heavy wood statue to his chest, I asked, “Incidentally, where are you from?”
“The next village over,” he responded which didn’t clarify to me why he would enjoy paying for a piece of wood he easily could have picked up from the road ten miles away.
Right after he walked out the door, Jane exploded in laughter. “I can’t believe he bought that!” Then, she imitated my salesmanship, “If you don’t like one side, then turn it to the other!”
I burst out into laughter as well.
While wiping her eyes from welling tears of laughter, she stated in awe, “You can sell anything.”
I believe I turned a corner today.
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