Apr 14th 2017 Comic Relief
Where do ideas come from? The answer can be surprising, such as from the corner of my long-deceased grandmother’s living room. In that corner hung a curio cabinet, one of those small delicate affairs, once-common relics of Victorian furnishing. Among the knick knacks on Mama Johnson’s shelf was a four-inch tall replica of the Mannequin Pis, cast from metal and satisfyingly hefty for its size. Truly a quality objet d’art! Mannequin Pis, of course, is a famous statue from a fountain in Brussels, Belgium. I’ve never seen the original, but Arlo’s reproduction is about full size. My grandmother’s much smaller version was an incongruous souvenir of World War II, brought home by one of her returning sons, either my father or my uncle. I don’t know which. It inevitably piqued my childish curiosity, and I would fondle it (OK, what word would you use!?) and wonder what the heck it was. However, I never asked about it. Perhaps I took a clue from the fact my grandmother always turned the little fellow toward wall.