I have learned from my wife that everything we own should have a name. Naming things allows you to have a relationship with them. They come alive, have personalities, even histories and futures. And so, in our long time together, we have owned Herbie, my first all-terrain cycle; Spot, a leopard-print wheelchair cushion; Little Towel, our favorite hand towel; Bodacious, a bright yellow van with Harley wings painted on the side; The Professor, my commode on wheels that I often commune with; Lenny (now Mini-Lenny) and Riggs, my left and right legs, which at times have seemed more like inanimate objects than living appendages; and now, Stupid Thing, who selfishly commands way too much attention.
In his first incarnation, Stupid Thing was an old T-shirt, ragged, nameless, a castaway in a bucket. But one day I realized that my newly amputated leg (Mini-Lenny), sagging and lagging in my wheelchair, made balanced wheeling difficult and dressing while in my chair almost impossible. So I reached into the rag bucket, pulled out Stupid Thing’s nameless ancestor, rolled him into a cylinder and positioned him transversely between my wheelchair sling and the underside of my thigh, near my knee. This boosted Mini-Lenny up just enough to put him on a level, more or less, with Riggs.
But Stupid-Thing-To-Be kept coming unraveled. So I rummaged through the drawer-that-contains-everything-under-the-sun, pulled out an old roll of paper tape, and wrapped the stupid cylinder, forcing it into a rigid form. But not rigid enough. My youngest grandson, 1-year-old Peighton, decided it would make an interesting plaything. It took him two days to reduce it to its true essence, a rag.
I returned to the rag bucket and fished out an old hand towel and wrapped that in paper tape. It may very well have been Little Towel’s abandoned brother, but in the hands of my intent-upon-demolition grandson, it was just another Stupid Thing. Poor poor Stupid Thing. This time it