I have spent a lot of time in the hospital lately visiting with a close friend. In the hospital room was the commode that you see in the photo. I don’t often come across commodes, but every time I do, I flash back to my days working as a conscientious objector in a Goodwill Store during the early 1970’s.
My main job at the Goodwill was as a “pricer.” I priced the furniture and electrical items. I worked with the “senior” pricer, a wise-cracking, one armed, “good-ole-boy” from a small Indiana town. His name was Dennson. He was quite a character, with a fowl mouth, full of sexual innuendos with the women, and the kind of person I generally wouldn’t care to be around, but he was very interesting, and took me under his wing, and I enjoyed his company.
As I mentioned, Dennson had lost his right arm just above the elbow, and I was always fascinated watching how he could use the stump, along with his other hand and hand to do things like tying a string. I was shocked however at one of his other tricks.
Because of the loss of his arm, when he wore a coat, he would tuck the sleeve of his empty coat arm into the coat pocket. He sometimes would steal things from the Goodwill Store, like an electric shaver, by putting it in his coat pocket and then stuffing the empty sleeve into the pocket to hide it. He was a rascal.
Now, back to the commode.
Periodically, people would donate commodes to the Goodwill, and they would be spruced up and then end up on the pricing floor for us to label and price. These were the old fashion commodes, made of oak. On the price tag, we would have to write what the item was and then below it, the price.
Every time one came on the floor and Dennson had to fill out a pricing ticket, instead of writing “Commode” in the blank for the name, he wrote, “Executive Chair.”
I loved him for that, it summed up my feeling about corporate executives exactly, and the term will alway remain in my memory whenever I see a commode.`
My paintings can be seen at: davidmarchant.ca
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