Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And Now for Something Completely, uh, Disappointing

My mom and sister and I went to do something new today. Mom has, for years, been getting wooed by a numbingly expensive assisted living center twenty miles from here. They're always trying to get her to move there and join the ranks of the snooty and their chandeliers and their very costly but very pooped-on thick carpeting. She usually ignores them, but this time they had one of the dapper hosts from the Antiques Roadshow coming in, and each invitee was invited to bring an antique for him to appraise.

A hundred or so people averaging in age somewhere between normal body temperature for humans and a redwood forest traipsed in with their various pieces of treasured glassware, musical instruments, rocking horses, and 1940s Boston Red Sox programs. What we didn't know was that this public TV blowhard in his double-breasted navy blue blazer and smarmy gold pocket kerchief was going to blather on about the history of the  Roadshow for a full hour while a room filled with bladders the size of raisins grew more tense by the self-aggrandizing sentence.

He finally started picking up one thing at a time from the heavily laden table and going on impossibly long about each one. It had dawned on all of us after a full hour and only 4 antiques in, that Mr. Road Show surely would not get to every item there, and if he did, it would take so crushingly long that each and every one of us would lose the will to live, and some in the room would actually kack.

One by one, the elderly audience members began to throw in the towel. The first to go was a tiny woman on the far left side of the front row, standing up as much as she could with her heartbreakingly severe osteoporosis hump, and quietly retrieving her black violin case from the table. As she shuffled out of the room, others got more brazen and approached the table boldly to reclaim their antiques and back out of the whole deal with the Thurston Howell wanna-be with the blindingly white capped teeth.

Two hours since he had begun regaling us with his tales, Thurston told us the presentation was over, but he'd stay as long as it took for those wished to hang around to get their object appraised, and those who wanted to leave were free to go. Suddenly the keepers of the crypt who had been slumping in their seats in semi-consciousness sprang to mummy-life as though zapped by a Sears Diehard and rushed the table, grabbing their antiques and elbowing into place in front of the fake-smiling PBS wizard.

Mom, Sis, and I opted to get the hell out. I felt bad for my mom who had lovingly wrapped up her father's silver shaving brush and porcelain mug into an old pink bath towel and toted them there, not with an intention of ever selling them, but just to join in the reindeer games.

Roadshow guy did say one thing I'm still thinking about: The collectors of antiques have a different set of standards for plush stuffed animals. As he was appraising a very worn out but adorable 75-year-old stuffed toy bear, he told us that while most categories of antiques are more valuable at auction in pristine condition, with stuffed animals, the more "well-loved" they are, the more people want them. It's as though they want to see the visual evidence of love.

My sister and I walked out the door of the uppity assisted living place with our well-loved mom and drove down the street to Cracker Barrel for an early dinner of chicken pot pie.


  • At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Steve B said…

    I'm surpirsed it wasn't just some front to hit you with another sales pitch like the condo pitchmen who offer you a free TV if you'll sit through their two-hour spiel.


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