author: George Smith illustrator: Lee Rapp
IF YOU’RE A REGULAR READER OF MY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THESE PAGES, you know very well that deep thinking is not my forte. You’ll have to look elsewhere for an in-depth analysis of the Mueller Report or a learned doomsday treatise on the strange new world of Artificial Intelligence we’re all facing. Nor will you find any insightful self-help advice here. No wise words on how to live a more fulfilling life either. How could I presume to tell others how to run their lives when I can barely keep my own on the rails? But if you keep coming back, it means you enjoy splashing around in the shallow end of the pond with me. There’s nothing wrong with that. A little banality is chicken soup for the soul. And today, I’ll sink to even greater depths of shallowness (oxymoron intended). This story is about glitter – those tiny specks of plastic that look like shiny, multicoloured bits of synthetic dandruff.
Glitter has been around for centuries and it’s been made from a variety of substances including stone, glass – even insects. Modern plastic glitter is an environmental blight that serves no purpose other than to make something sparkle – be it your formal evening dress, nail polish or a fishing lure.
To be honest, I rarely think about glitter. It’s not high on my list of things to fret about. That changed the other day, when (thoughtful husband that I am) I bought Joy a nice little bunch of flowers at the supermarket. Yes, supermarket not florist. I’m not that thoughtful. But my loving gesture was long overdue. I’d been getting the message loud and clear over the previous week as we sat down to dinner each evening with the plaintive strains of that old Streisand/ Diamond duet playing in the background.
Anyway, Joy was out at her Zumba class when I got home so I removed the colourful little token of my affection from its fancy wrapping, cut away the elastic band joining the stems, found a suitable container, put a few inches of room temperature water in the bottom, rearranged the flowers as artfully as my limited sense of aesthetics permitted and placed them in a conspicuous location where she would see them immediately upon her return.
Of course, she loved them and that earned me a few additional brownie points to cash in at some appropriate future time – sort of our in-house version of Air Miles.
The ooohs and aaahs had scarcely died down, when Joy exclaimed, “What’s that?”.
“What’s what?” I asked.
Then she showed me. I don’t know how I missed it because it was suddenly so obvious. Glitter on our dark hardwood floor, glitter in the sink, glitter on top of the cabinet where the flowers were domiciled, glitter embedded in our socks. Glitter every damned where.
Clean up time. Vacuum, sweep, dry mop, wet mop. Sure, a lot came up, but it was like those randy little boy and girl glitter pieces had gone forth and multiplied leaving countless progeny in every nook and cranny of our kitchen and dinette. There was no getting rid of the stuff.
Of course, it was all over our counter tops too – where our food prep takes place. God only knows how much glitter I’ve eaten over the past few days. A casual stroll through my digestive tract must be like a promenade beneath the canopy of a starlit night sky.
Obviously, somewhere along the line, some genius had decided that a coating of glitter on a bouquet of flowers enhanced their beauty. But where does anyone get the idea that man-made junk can improve on the work of the Almighty. Or if you don’t believe in an Almighty, try Mother Nature – or even David Suzuki. Glitter on flowers is like tying a yellow ribbon around a rainbow or Photoshopping a beautiful sunset.
Mother Nature (I’ll choose her to appease more secular readers) doesn’t need our help. Some things just do not require humankind’s assistance. Even the work of mere mortals is often better just left alone. Would you defile a Cordon Bleu chef ’s creation with a mound of salt or a huge dollop of ketchup? A beautiful thing doesn’t need to be messed up by our lame attempts to make it even more beautiful. If something ain’t broke, please don’t try to fix it.
Most anthem singers at sports events are guilty of the same sort of thing. Kudos to the guy at TD Garden in Boston who sings O Canada, and the Star- Spangled Banner beautifully and without embellishment. Sadly, though, most stadium warblers seem to think the moment is all about them – that they’re bigger than the anthems they mutilate.
Apologies for the digression but those unmelodious musical manglers and their glitter bombing counterparts are two sides of the same coin. A pox on all of them. And to quote a 2017 CNN report on glitter, “Use it once and you’ll be vacuuming it out of the carpet and picking it from under your nails until the day you die.”
So, thank you so much, garden centre glitter litterer. I hereby sentence you to a lifetime of community service vacuuming my carpets. I’ll do my nails myself.