21 September 2006

Man Powers


My lovely husband gave me a Lampe Berger for my birthday. Instead of wrapping it, he took it out of the box and placed it in the living room, like hide-and-go-seek. I found it disappointingly (for him) fast amid the three stylized figurines of dancing Japanese women on the mantle. Because the lamp too is made of a matte black ceramic, it goes with the women, but it makes them look like witches about a cauldron, so I'll eventually have to move it.

The instructions say you fill the lamp halfway with oil, but how do you know when it is, in fact, half full? Micah suggested we use a toothpick as a sort of measuring stick. Reasonable. And here begins our story. . . .

He retrieves the toothpicks, which are stored just behind a couple of spices in the cabinet. (This morning, I found the toothpick box on the rolling island across the kitchen from that cabinet, and the spices stood stoically on the counter just beneath the cabinet where they belong. Of course.)

I watch the man at work: he inserts a toothpick into the Lampe Berger and realizes it is not long enough for our purposes but not before he drops it into the lamp itself. Then he upturns the lamp and shakes it, but of course the toothpick will only hit the hole horizontally and will never come out using this method. Reminds me of how, when I was little, we would get foreign objects stuck in our violins: the only way to get such stuff out is through the F-holes, but earth physics don't help you do that.

When I mock the futility of his efforts, Micah puts the Lampe Berger back on the coffeetable and goes back to the kitchen. He returns with more toothpicks and blue packing tape, which he proceeds to combine into two chopstick-like implements composed of two toothpicks each, taped around the middle. And he weilds those two double-long sticks inside the lamp, trying to grab the lost toothpick.

While I am overcome on the couch, watching this spectacle, suggesting he should just leave the thing in there, Micah claims this is part of his Man Powers. That he cannot simply ignore the errant toothpick. That his blue-tape craftiness is a special element of his manhood. That he must do this, even if it makes me laugh and doesn't work.

Then, when it becomes obvious that even if he could pick up the toothpick this way, he could not actually extract it with these tools, he looks up at me brightly: "I need some gum."

Now, I don't care whose daughter I am. It doesn't matter that I have a nurtured repulsion toward throwing gum out of car windows. It doesn't matter that one of the first things I remember learning from my dad is that lighter fluid, though a dangerous explosive, is a fantastic tool at getting gum off of shoes.

Of course, I refuse to let him put chewing gum inside of my brand new Lampe Berger, instead suggesting again that we just leave it there. After much unscientific speculation as to whether or not that is safe, we do indeed leave it, Micah puts oil in the lamp, and a few minutes later our house smells like New Orleans. Really, like fruity cinnamon; the flavor name is "New Orleans," which suggests something more like drunkenness and bacteria to me, but whatever.

Moral of the story: I guess it's safe to leave toothpicks in aromatic oil lamps. Oh, and man powers are more funny than effective.

5 comments:

Micah said...

What can I say? I love lampe!

Brent and Kat said...

So CLASSIC - Send this in for publication!

mom said...

I'll never look at my lampe the same way!

BK said...

So should I buy you guys some tweezers as a baby present?

Jen Strange said...

Hmm, I guess it never occured to Micah to go get a pair of those. . . .