Flaskaland
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
 

And sometimes I did busy work with my hands to keep me busy. I used to make miniature god's eyes as far back as 1965, out of toothpicks and regular thread. With lots of colors, and a big diamond shape (Diamond was the name of some matches, too, remember).

And that small knotting was difficult to do for me, I had to use tweezers to tie such small knots to hold the different color threads together, and tension throughout had to be perfectly applied or the thing would collapse in your hand.

The items were perfect in size, I could slip one very carefully into the cellophane wrapper that surrounded my Pall Mall's. Then if someone asked me for a cigarette, as they always did, they would see something beautiful as I offered them one. I gave away many many little toothpick god's eyes to friends and people I happened to encounter here and there. I thought I might still have a photograph of somebody wearing one, which he'd punched through the threads of his sweater to hold in place, but I don't.

I always used a lot of brilliant primary colors, red, and yellow, and blue and green, but sometimes I would feel obliged to separate one color from the next with a boundary of black thread, as the mood hit me. As if there had to be some kind of stop or a pause before the next thing began.

I preferred Pall Malls (pronounced "Pell Mell" in America) even though the short Camel pack of the time framed the god's eye better. And I liked the message on the Pall Mall package, "Ad astra per aspera" which I translated as "Through difficulties, to the stars" (as I had studied a more Germanic Latin), a motto which seemed lofty and inspiring.

(I just remembered a funny conversation I had with the manager of a blues club once about cigarettes. He sat down at a table and replayed his part in the tobacco commercial he'd played in, the one that paid his way through college. And we both laughed ourselves silly over the ungrammatical success of, "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should".)
 




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