Paul Mann

Mind Lint

This is where I park my mind lint. Random threads spun off in the tumble dryer of the creative process. Ideas that may not be turned into whole cloth but deserving, nonetheless, of a better fate than the lint trap of life.

The Inherent Evil Of Inanimate Objects
Posted on December 7, 2012 by Paul

You’ve probably seen somewhere that the insurance industry says the home is the most dangerous place in the world. More people die from accidents in the home than anywhere else. More than traffic accidents, workplace accidents or sporting accidents. What they don’t tell you is they’re not accidents.

Your home is filled with things that can kill you without you doing anything to provoke them. You can tread on a floorboard that has been rotting silently for years, fall through and hit your face so hard it drives your jaw up through your brain. You can walk under a light fixture that has been working itself loose from the ceiling for months and the moment you pass underneath it breaks free and splits your skull open. A coiled spring in your couch will break loose just as you sit down, strike upwards through the seat covers and eviscerate you.

Cutlery is especially dangerous. You may be enjoying a simple meal all by yourself and put down your knife just for a moment and it will slide off your plate, roll off the table and spear you in the foot. You bend down to pull it out and smash your forehead on the edge of the table and bam! You’re dead. You’ve been ambushed by two inanimate objects working together. Crockery, for all its rosebud innocence, is every bit as lethal as a knife. We have all learned to fear the knife and yet we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by crockery. But look at the physics. What is any object but an aggregation of atoms? And we all know of the inherent instability of atoms. Atoms are forever whirling around in their own little micro-universe, bumping and colliding with each other, searching for that moment of critical mass when they can unleash their real power. Nuclear bombs are made by smashing atoms together and they can destroy entire cities. A mere dinner plate can take your head off.

I was about ten when I first became aware of the hidden properties of inanimate objects. I was in the bathroom washing my hands in the sink. As the sink emptied and I dried my hands on a towel the soap slipped out of the soap dish back into the sink. Not something that could occur naturally considering the soap dish had a rim on it to prevent just that occurrence. I learned why when I picked up the soap to put it back in the dish and it squirmed out of my hand, dived down into the sink and hit the side perfectly as it fell. It swooped down into the bottom of the sink, gathered speed for the upward curve of the opposite side, arced gracefully into the air, performed a perfect slow motion somersault and landed with a spectacular splash in the toilet. As elegant as a snowboarder in a half pipe.

Of course, the soap was toying with me. I now had to reach into the toilet with my newly washed hands and fumble after it in the bottom of the bowl while it tried to get away from me. When I got it out I had to see if I could make the same thing happen again. I was there an hour, trying over and over, adjusting the release speed, the angle, and all I did was leave gooey white prints on the walls and floor. It could have done it again. But it didn’t want to. I gave up, washed the walls and floor and returned what was left of the soap to the soap dish. I made sure to press it down very, very carefully so it would stick. Afterwards, as I stared mistrustfully at it, all white and impure, I knew it was mocking me.

I had other scrapes with inanimate objects as I grew up. The picture frame that fell off the wall as I passed, smashing to pieces on the floor, startling me. The cabinet door that opened silently above my head as I knelt down to take a pot out of the kitchen cupboard, poised to cleave my head in two when I stood up. The carpet edge that lifted imperceptibly, ready to catch my toe as I walked into the room and throwing me to the floor

It is important to recognize that there is no such thing as an inanimate object. Everything – the chair, the table, the nightstand, they’re not dormant. Every object in your home is brimming with sinister sentient energy waiting to burst loose. And no inanimate object is wholly innocent. They are all guilty of harboring a quotient of malice. Every one of them an inherently dynamic entity that can turn on you when you’re most vulnerable. When you drop your guard for an instant, when you’re asleep. Pass the palm of your hand over the table top. You can feel its electromagnetic field, a slight bump in the air.

Spontaneous human combustion? There’s no such thing. Have you ever noticed when someone burns to death at home while sitting in a chair there is never a mark on the chair? The victim is little more than ashes and a few fragments of bone and the chair is unharmed. Accidental death? Please. The chair did it. The atoms within the chair generated an electrical charge so powerful it incinerated the occupant of the chair before they knew what was happening. Before they could move or cry out for help. Because every chair has the potential to be an electric chair. Especially if it doesn’t like you. If, for instance, you’ve put on too much weight. Or you’ve pushed it around too much. Or you haven’t shown it enough respect. And sometimes the chair does it just because it can.

And have you noticed, these things only happen when there are no other witnesses around?

I don’t trust any of the things in my house. I know them too well. And they know me. Just the other day I was lowering a venetian blind in the bedroom when the cord got itself tangled on the window latch. As I reached up to untangle it the loose end of the cord somehow coiled itself around my neck and the window chose just that moment to slip downward with a crash, yanking the cord tightly around my neck, choking the life out of me. As I felt myself losing consciousness I gave one last desperate pull and wrenched the blind free of its mounts. That’s what saved me. I came to on the floor, ensnarled in the venetian blind, the cord now loose around my neck. It was just playing with me. Tormenting me. The way things like that have done all my life. They don’t want me yet. They’re having too much fun. I’ve told family and friends that one day they will come to the house and find me on the kitchen floor with a spoon in my eye, or headless on the stairs, or a pile of ash in my easy chair.

I’ve told them not to divide my possessions amongst themselves. I’ve left instructions in my will to burn everything. Whatever they do they mustn’t take anything home with them.