Rocks, Toys, Yetis and Magic
January 30, 2009 § 1 Comment
I’ve often said that I wish the world had more genuine surprise. I wish there was more unknown, unexpected, more agog, aghast, and WOW. What about Yetis? For some reason this mythical creature has taken up residence in my soul as sort of a mascot for what I want for the world. The simple explanation for the non-existence of the Yeti (or bigfoot, or Nessie or fashionable plus sized tops) is that we haven’t found it yet. We’d have seen it by now. We have the technology, the elbow grease, the knowhow, the staff. We can search every inch of that lake in Scotland with some sort of robot water camera thing. We believe, as a species, that we’ve found everything there is, and if we haven’t, we’ve CONCEIVED of it, and the Yeti? I’m sorry, says the normal world, it’s just too crazy to conceive of. We don’t want to except that somewhere on Mount Everest or Nepal or whichever version of the story you believe, there’s a snowy white manbeast, walking on two feet, roaring and gnashing six inch incisors. Andthis is precisely why I want there to be a Yeti. I want to wake up one day and instead of hearing about the Dow Jones Industrial Average or Environmental Crisis or the House and the Senate fistfighting on the Mall, I want the top story to be the live capture (and why are we CAPTURING the Yeti, why not just invite him, or offer him the chance to be studied and admired?) of a Yeti. I want to wake up and see the Loch Ness Monster. In the meantime, I just visit blogs like I Love The Yeti — and hope.
But there are others out there like me, who want to fill the world with hidden surprises, to make every day a little more magic and unknown, to take Tina from HR out of her routine while she’s walking over to Max &Ermas for cheesecubes. The first I heard of this was Chatty Rocks. This art project involved printing sentences, questions, quotes on rocks and placing them randomly throughout San Francisco. Like this little fella right here:
I fell in love with these rocks. There’s a slew of them on the blog, with funny or inspirational messages on the back. I would absolutely squeal if I found one of these. Not only because it would be a pleasant surprise on a day that I probably had weighed myself or discovered a banking error, but because it would renew my faith in the idea tha not all of us are on this wet rock to ‘grind out a product’ or amass a limitless fortune. Some of us just want to live comfortably, live happily, and inject a little bit of fun into the mundanity of every day life. There are no Easter Egg hunts after age six. But now we can hunt for chatty rocks.
And if that wasn’t enough, someone else decided to start The Toy Society. A group of artisans creating handmade toys, packaging them up and leaving them around town with a note saying “take me home, I’m yours!” . Imagine being a child, or a world weary adult walking hand in hand with a child, wondering why good things happen to BAD people sometimes and how to explain that to a five year old, and then you come upon this:
Well there you go Sally. There ARE workshop elves. There IS a free lunch. Sometimes you DO get a present for no reason. There IS such a thing as ‘just for fun’.
The best thing about these groups, this art, these ideas is that they’re not “done”. Sure, we can pout and say we wish we were first, or we wish we’d thought of it, but so far these are only in California and Australia…and let’s face it, those people are already living in a warm paradise right about now, so why not whip up a little stuffed lemur, put it in a shiny box and put it where some lonesome, weird kid with big glasses can find it? She’s probably looking for a little magic already.