Antique Paper! Benjamin Franklin!

Here’s what I picked up yesterday at the sales! In the order of least interesting to OMG, that’s a thing that exists?!

First off, we’ve got this little guy:

I don’t know why, but he just speaks to me. Maybe it’s because he’s doing the same exact pose as a Smurf figurine I used to own, or maybe it’s the fact that he has a Pac-Man symbol tattooed on his belly. Maybe it’s the carefree way he’s holding that candle; I’m don’t know. Either way, he’ll be bringing some dignity to our Christmas tree this year.

I found this little guy (along with the next item) at a community-wide church sale, amidst other antiques (“Daddy, can I get this book?” “Sorry, son—that’s not a book, that’s a VHS tape.), ugly sweaters, and a whole lot of other junk that I had to forcibly not purchase because it would’ve made my house look like grandma’s.  At one point while I was poking around (examining, if I recall, an enormous rubber octopus doll), this elderly woman said “excuse me,” indicating that I should get out of her way. I obliged, assuming she wanted to get past me, but as soon as I moved she took over my spot and started examining the octopus herself.

Now, I’m wondering…Is this an OK thing to do? Doesn’t “excuse me” usually mean “I need to get by you,” not “stop what you’re doing, because I want to do it instead”?

Next up, we have:

OK, this one might take some explaining. I know it might look like I brought home a wooden toilet paper dispenser (and in fact, that’s what my wife thought it was at first), but it’s actually a wooden writing paper dispenser! You see, you mount it on the wall, and then you have easy access to paper, right there, without having to fuss around looking for a Post-It note, which would be infinitely more convenient just sitting there on your desk! It’s brilliant!

The paper is old and crinkly, and I’m not entirely convinced it won’t crumble to dust the moment I touch it. My best guess is that the dispenser is meant to be mounted on the wall at Ye Olde Corner Shop, where a kindly old bearded man with a woolen cap and a few missing teeth tears a piece off to write you up a receipt. I tend to write a lot of notes for myself doing the day (“to-do: write yard sale post”), so I can’t wait to get this baby set up in my office. Partly due to the item’s inherent utilitarianism, but I’ll be honest—I’m just REALLY looking forward to that moment in the day when someone asks for a piece of paper, so I can jump out of my chair and importantly tear off a piece from my antique paper dispenser. It’ll never get old.

And finally, we have:

That, as you’ve no doubt guessed—is Benjamin Franklin. AS A BABY. Wearing a diaper, and everything! I don’t even know what to make of it. Unlike the gnome, this item didn’t just speak to me; it screamed at me. “YOUR LIFE WAS WITHOUT MEANING UNTIL YOU FOUND ME.”

Apparently it’s part of a full line of baby historical figures (seriously!) from the early ’90s called “Big Brainy Babies.” Other models include baby Harriet Tubman, baby Lucille Ball (because why not), and baby Amelia Earhart, before she achieved greater fame as a character in the Sam & Max series. (You think I’m joking?) I can’t believe someone both thought to create something like this, and then actually found the funding to do so.

Inside his tag is inscribed the following “brain teaser”:

BRAIN TEASER: What did Ben tie to his kite to attract lightning?
(Answer: A key.)

Now, I’m not one to be overly semantic, but I’m not sure that phrase means what they think it means. Kind of reminds me of this show I was watching the other day, wherein the Good Guys were getting eaten by a plant, and they kept referring to it as a “cannibal.” Because it was eating people, you see. You’re so close! You almost understand how words work!

Speaking of so close, I nearly ended up buying a garden gnome for our backyard vegetable garden, but it turned out that it was one of those dumb things that sings and dances when you press a button. Like Big Mouth Billy Bass, only this one just screamed unintelligibly and waggled its hips until you either turned it off or threw it in the fireplace. It may take me a loooong time to reach it, but I have my shame, dammit.

Total spent: $2.50. (Plus an extra dollar I paid a small child for a cupcake. Thankfully there was only one small child selling baked goods and/or lemonade this time, because I will make myself sick with cupcakes before I can say no to them.)

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