Thursday, January 21, 2016

False hope

Yo, California,

Can we just pretend the last month never happened?

Can we go on thinking the creeks had disappeared to a trickle, that rivers sank, showing the old ribs of long-forgotten wharves, the hills turned rock gray, the land became hopeless?

Because this — this heavy rain and snow, this gift of such strangeness — is really not helping.

Soon the I-told-you-sos who finally realized that maybe they shouldn't water during a storm, will open the valves once again. The holdouts will start watering again, thinking somehow the drought is over.

It's not. The ground is muddy, the puddles are welcome, the rivers swell and churn, but the drought is still here.

Call Industrial Light and Magic. We need the illusion of dry.

We need billboards blocking lakes, depicting them as sere beds of despair. We need fake sun and blue skies of linen. We need the clacking feel of thirst in our throats.

We need to embrace the three-minute shower, the ones we were taking a month ago, as a permanent practice. We need to keep capturing shower water and tossing it on dying plants outside.

We need to let yellow mellow, and make it law.

Because this — this gift of strangeness — will become more strange, not less, as we become more plentiful and demand more plenty.

After 166 years of this, we can't keep pretending we live in Eden, and making it look that way through wanton water waste. It's not Eden. It's dry desert and chaparral. We've just been extremely fortunate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Up to our asses in glasses, that's us.

First-world problem, No. Umpteenish: Our kitchen cupboard is overgrown with glasses and cups and tumblers. Glass glasses and plastic glasses and ceramic glasses.

Wine glasses and water glasses and iced tea glasses. And cups just for Christmas.

In fact, Christmas is the reason the cupboard fills to the brim, flouting the laws of physics.

Christmas is when more glasses and cups show up — also, ironically, the only time so many glasses are really necessary.

And even then, not so many glasses. Not nearly so many. 

The rest of the year, the glasses expand to fill space. They creep to the edge of the shelves at night, while we're sleeping, and lean just so. They grow fat in their disuse, and jostle and grouse in their overcrowded condition, and make themselves ready to fall and shatter to the ground at the next opening of the cupboard door.

Some day, they conspire: Some day.
I can't ignore a certain — insularity — with these posts lately.
The newest glasses are Mason®™ jars with threads along the lip, like for lids. The acquisition of a gift exchange, they have overlarge unwieldy handles that elbow aside other glasses and don't play nice — what do you mean, "insularity?"
Gee, glasses today … the last one was literally about walking your dog around your neighborhood. And before that — coat hangers. Coat hangers? I mean, come on! Live much?
I live plenty. The blog's by me, about me. Write what you know, you know?
Ok, not insular. Parochial. Picayune.
And Pick. Uh. Yuuuuune!
I write about other stuff.
Yeah, guns ad nauseam. I see the blood dripping lower and lower with each post about it. I'm not sure people notice, though.
Maybe. I'm trying to make a point. Maybe it's too esoteric. I write about politics. And social issues that resonate with me.
And what?
That's it? Do you do anything about it?
Like …?
Act on your convictions? Give to a campaign, call your representatives, do something? Anything?
I wrote my congressman a couple of times, and my senator once. I receive talking points emails about the subject in return.
So, the answer is "no."
No, not really. I'm working things out, which is why I write them out. I'm never sure what to do.
Grown man like you. Think you'd have it figured out by now.
Yeah, you'd think.
Now it's glasses and coathangers and dog walks. Heavy.
Well, the wine glasses — of which we have many, the majority of the household loving wine — fit warmly in the hand but don't stack very well, so they're in a fragile state of constant teeter —
And the "drawn" part of "Shawn Drawn," getting simpler by the day. Or more simplistic.
I'm toying with a new style.
Or just trying to get the "drawn" part done as fast as you can. Like you've got somewhere else to go.
Well, maybe I do.
Got your mind on something else?
A thousand miles away.
Write about that, then. Sure beats wandering around your house, pontificating about dust, or coasters or messy rugs.
Nothing to write home about, really. Just other stuff to get done. Maybe. After.
Maybe you need a breather.
Yeah, I've been thinking about it. Thinking through my fingers, like this, has fed energy into other things I do. But lately the other things have crowded into this time and space, and require me to think through my fingers in other ways anyway.
Ya gotta rest.
And grown man or not, I really do puzzle over stuff I'm probably supposed to be firm about. Not that typing solves the puzzles, but it makes them more concrete.
Like glasses?
We keep these enormous plastic cups we got as gifts — of course! — which would stack quite nicely if they weren't so tall. So they must be arranged upside down and rightside up instead, carefully, or the kitchen becomes chaos.
Tough life.
Yeah, maybe I need a breather. Maybe once a week with these posts.
Try that, see how it goes.
Hmm. Nice talking to me.

Friday, January 15, 2016

People in my neighborhood

Dear You,

Much has changed since last I wrote, so much that I've almost forgotten them all. Not everything entirely, but big parts of everything.

It occurred to me, walking the dog this morning, I ought to write it down and let you see. And let me remember.

Change can get so you forgot something has changed at all. You forget why you were so upset about the change, or how it changed the way you felt, until all you can remember is the changed thing, and not how it was before.

Our son, home for the holidays, let out a surprising "Whoa!" when we passed by the elementary school around the corner, where they paved the paradise of a big soccer field and put up a big parking lot.

Maybe the parking lot is important. As parking lots go, it's nice. It's engineered; someone knew a thing or two about making it, and ringed it round with trees and creeping carpety landscape and woody mulch.

I doubt the parking lot was needed. More likely the school district had use-it-or-lose-it money. "Whadda we do?" Someone in the district probably asked. "I don't know," said someone else. "A parking lot?"

So the soccer field, the long yellow-green space, where  the tiniest children played in the recreational soccer leagues around here, is gone. Then I forgot all that, until our son said, "Whoa!"

It's one of so many changes like that, all the time, every day. Big, cataclysmic, life-altering things, and little relentless imperceptible grains of time moving imperceptible grains of sand.

I'm writing about the little things.

Our street — it's a funny thing — doesn't change all that much. It's a dog-leg cul-de-sac, mostly duplex rentals on one side, single family homes the other, some of them rented, probably more owned. The rentals at, I guess, the elbow and paw of the dog leg, change residents every six months or a year for reasons I can't make out.

It's been a while since new children moved into the neighborhood, and those that do are young teenagers whose lives are lived elsewhere, somewhere. Here is a place they proclaim as base, but life is lived out there. They don't hang out in front of homes or the street here much.

Neighbors are probably glad we had the house painted over the summer. Not that it was bad, but now it's nice — except where I scraped the new trim with the fender of my car trying to back into the garage. I keep thinking about looking for spare paint the painters might have left, and fixing that.

The lawn is another story, a battered rendition of tundra, left dead through the drought, trying to grow through the cold rain.

Out with my dog this morning, I am jarred, as I always am, by the unreal swath of green a neighbor put in front of his house on one of the main streets. Literally unreal, fake grass laid smooth as an eggshell over the sloping mass of dirt where his lawn used to be. The greenness doesn't throw me so much as the unblemished, edge-to-edge smoothness of it. No trees out front, either, just that curve of smoothness. The man who lives there has achieved homeowner nirvana, or stasis, the pinnacle of leisure, having nothing but free time, I suppose.

Two women who I suppose are his daughters drive their sports cars to his house and carry their dogs in the crook of their arms for visits, then carry them out to the car, where they stand on their owners' laps and look out the driver's side window as they drive away.

More and different dogs have appeared in the neighborhoodlately. The man who used to walk our dog's doppelganger has a new dog now, but is just as annoying, always walking with traffic, always on the side we're walking, against traffic, always setting my dog to barking fits, always forcing us to move to the other side of the road to let him pass and my dog to stop parking. He always waves and smiles. Annoying man.

Another woman walks two little dogs and one great big dog together. The big dog once tore loose of the woman's hold and ran across the main street on a very busy morning to check out my dog. Traffic halted, the woman shouted and I seethed. I could probably have said something more charitable to the woman when she stopped traffic to retrieve her big sniffing dog, but I had not the presence of mind.

Even the residents who irrigate their lawns defiantly in the drought have shut off during the rains, which is nice. Rain is easing the shared angst.

Someone is finally, finally doing something about the house at the other end of the street, the house it seemed someone should have been living in long ago. I didn't know the family who lived there; we don't know just about anybody on our street, except our immediate neighbors. They had adapted the front of the house to accommodate a child who used a wheelchair. Then they were gone. Someone kept the lawn cut while the house was empty, then kept it trim even when it had crisped and browned in the drought.

Someone was messing with the house in little ways, though, and slabs of plywood were nailed across part of the door and one window. Maybe someone was squatting in it, hard to tell. Other than that, the house looked ready to be lived in.

Some Tasmanian Devil of a house flipper has come in and changed out all the windows and put a big demolition bin in the driveway, filling up with the innards of the old house, and within a month, I expect, a new house will emerge. It will be a fine house. But it was a fine house before.

The county planning department has posted a sign in front of the Seventh-Day Adventist School on the main throughway. A cell phone company wants to install a "stealth monotree" on the school property. Stealth monotree. It'll be a cell tower, disguised as a tree. Stealth is an overreach, if they're talking about the disguise, because cell towers so disguised look like trees in the throes of the most horrible arboreal disease. They are very tall sticks with very few branches, and unwieldy bulbous galls which are really the doodads that relay the cell signals.

Schools and municipal parks like cell towers because the cell phone companies pay rent. The Adventist property is like a nature preserve into which a school is nestled. A pheasant or two lives on the property somewhere. I have never found a good way to describe their call. They are rusty hinges on a screen door, or tiny ah-oooga horns on tiny Model-Ts, or those metal noisemakers that you spin on a handle.

They remind me the neighborhood is not overbuilt, yet. I hope the stealth monotree gets lost deep in the nature preserve.

Not that developers aren't trying to overbuild. They're cramming more than a dozen homes, 10 feet apart from another, in a place where a fitness club used to be. The houses tower right next to an apartment complex — woe be to residents on both sides of that fence in the planned gated community.

What is it about gated communities? What faux sense of security and privilege does one get by living in a neighborhood with its own fortress to the outside? This one is called Something Something Oaks, "oaks" being a popular neighborhood name.

A gated community four miles away, I remember, was named "Twelve Oaks," "twelve" also being an attractive adjective for such places. It seemed like the developers felled all but 12 oaks to make the name true.

The little permanent farmer's produce stand is still not built, and no sign it ever will after it burned down last spring. The farmer kept selling, from folding tables tucked under trees farther in the property. Maybe he'll keep doing that. That corner of the main throughway seems so empty now.

The many, many cones of dirt from the Something Something Oaks development are starting to settle and flatten in the vast empty corner across the throughway from the empty produce stand property. A nice old house used to sit right in the middle, with forested property all around. Or so it seems. It's been so long that I've forgotten. It's a forlorn farm of dirt now, the gate smashed into the earth by the trucks that hauled all that dirt, and no one even seems interested in wandering in and looking around.

Now you're up to date. I'll let you know if anything changes.

All the best,


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It's somewhere under here

My world, and welcome to it.
Albert Einstein,  the proto-Yoda, probably never said,  "If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
We know he never said it, because the quote has been made into many Internet memes, picturing Einstein at his own messy desk. Einstein is a magnet for quotes that sound like something he might have said. The same for Mark Twain. And Soupy Sales. 

We accept the Larger Truth, though — he could have said it! And it ain't wrong!
Never mind: I have achieved fusion — or maybe fission. My cluttered desk shows a mind at once cluttered and empty.

This is my desk, raw and untouched, on one day, January 5, 2016, representative of most days. Nothing has been altered. I play it as it lays.

The various epochs on the left side of my desk.
The work done here ossifies the farther left and right my elbows push them.

Work on something, move it to the left or right. Work on a new something, push it left and right, pushing farther left and right the thing I was working on before.

The Cambrian period is over there, about four feet to my left, atop the two-drawer file cabinet whose purpose more and more serves to hold the ancient work now settled deep into the detritus, maybe never to be seen again.

A Cambrian deposit extends to my right, too, uplifted on the scanner that no longer works correctly, but which I still have plugged in.

The Pleistocene epoch, then, is nearer, just wide of my elbows. The scissors I last used, don't know
what for, but haven't put away, probably won't for quite a while yet. Well, now that fact bothers me, so I'll put it back in the hanging tray. There.

To my right, a tray of artist's pencils our son's girlfriend gave me last year for Christmas. I should put them away too. Receipts. Receipts and receipts and receipts. They exist throughout the sediment on my desk. I could file them, but they'd just grow back.
Detritus to the right of me.
The desk is in a room in our house, a room dedicated as my office, which is a great big chunk of greedy use for a space. It was one of the reasons we got this house, space enough for my office.

It is messy sanctuary inside and out: Inhabitants of the rest of the house don't have to suffer from my mess. They can close the door. I don't have to suffer for my mess from the inhabitants of the house — unless a bill due has somehow made it onto my desk, buried somewhere in the Triassic period.

It's not ideal, and nothing ever is, of course. The room was going to be digital on this side, where I'm typing, and traditional and hand drawn on the other side of the room, but nothing ever worked out that way.

To look upon this room is to laugh. Empty shelves behind me, sadly unused, while the desktop overflows beside me.

The closest I've ever gotten to the home-improvement TV shows, which I hate, hate, hate ("Step One, crack open that cask of $500,000 cash you've got lying around. Step Two …"), is reading about the studios of illustrators I admire.

I don't do it anymore because it's depressing. Large, high-ceilinged rooms with wooden floors and tall windows with northern exposure. A counterspace extending the length of one wall, all papers neatly stacked, the computer with two giant screens blinking happily, emitting great paid work. A fleet of flat-file cabinets stacked in the middle, topped with butcher block, to form an island in the middle of the large room, where the illustrator and assistants can cut and paste (really, not virtually) and matte, and sign their latest book, none of the cutting and pasting and matting and signing getting very messy, because the assistants clean up.

And a view of the Rockies or the Eiffel Tower or seastacks from the illustrator's desk.

I hate those illustrators.

I have a flatfile. It's full. It's been full for years. It has no use except as an archive for someone else to discover, and probably to throw out the contents of. The problem for actual physical tactile artwork is I never know what to do with it when I'm done. Even the quick sketches on warm bond paper, sketches I'm just going to scan and manipulate here, on the computer, are hard to throw away. They are things, created, and throwing them away would feel like sin.

So they shift, tectonic plates of paper creeping farther away from me, imperceptibly, while I pull out a new piece of scrap paper and begin sketching, here on these small triangles of clear desk space in front of my computer keyboard.

As is my habit, I scan them on the other working scanner above my computer screen, then add the paper to the continental scrap that scrapes slowly over my desk, obscuring everything, even important things I have forgotten are under there.

I need help.

Hey! My Pink Pearl®™ eraser! I'd been looking for that.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Follow the blood money

Suppose everyone is right.

Suppose President Obama is correct, that far too many guns in the United States are far too easy to get, and some of the people use them to commit crimes, or harm others, to kill themselves and/or kill large numbers of people, or fight turf wars in city neighborhoods.

Suppose the National Rifle Association is correct too, that owning a gun is a right, guaranteed to citizens under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Let's assume that right is inviolable, that the amendment is crystal clear on this.

Suppose, as gun rights advocates say, that no laws will ever keep guns away from people who want to do harm. Suppose instead that existing laws can accomplish this, but our cities and states and federal governments — our representatives, in our name — don't enforce them.

Suppose President Obama's tears were real this week, when he announced executive action to close loopholes in how guns may be sold through legal channels without background checks, direct more resources to mental health and apply new technology to gun safety.
I think they were real, by the way. Obama is genuinely angry and tired of so many horrific gun deaths that have happened while in office — the deaths especially of first graders — little six-year-olds, nary a care, killed en masse. You should shed a tear too. But I'm not so dumb not to recognize an opportunity to spend political capital.
Suppose … well, suppose we are right where we are now, each in our corner of the multi-cornered moral universe.

So if everyone is right, each divided in righteousness —

What do we make of the fact that 32,000 people in America are killed each year by guns, and 80,000 are injured? Not just the horrible and gripping mass deaths that hold the nation's attention too many times each year, but the daily horrors, a shooting death here and a shooting death there, writ small, that take place each day across our country?

More than 100,000 people, killed and injured by guns.

We blink, and move on.

Take a look anyway:

In 2012,
  • About 12,000 Americans were killed by homicide, and some 58,000 injured;
  • Some 20,000 people died in suicide by gun, and 4,000 were injured in the attempt;
  • About 1,000 died accidentally by gun, and 15,000 were injured;
  • About 1,000 died in police-related shootings, another 1,000 were injured.
More than 100,000 people, killed and injured by guns.

I could compare that rate to gun deaths and injuries in other Western industrialized countries, but you and I know the U.S. figures far outstrip all of theirs by sadly ridiculous measure.

Mother Jones Magazine (you say libtard mouthpiece, I say street-credible crusader) this year crunched the data and pegged the total annual cost of gun violence in the United States at $229 billion. That includes $8.6 billion in direct costs — medical treatment for the injured, funeral costs, etc. — and $49 billion in the victims' lost wages and productivity.

The direct costs from one murder comes to $441,000, Mother Jones reported — in the cost of police investigation, ambulance transport, hospital care for other victims, mental health counseling, court costs and imprisonment. Taxpayers cover 87 percent of those costs, mostly for imprisonment.

Spread those costs of gun violence across the country, and it comes to $700 per person.

Even if those figures are off by a magnitude, they are still staggering — rampaging-disease staggering.

Yet now, as ever, when the issue of guns arises, as President Obama raised it this week, we go immediately to our corners. We run to the nearest mic and camera, to the nearest TV set, and proceed to feed from our troughs of validation. Maybe we do so more earnestly than ever, given it's an election year, we're talking about guns, and President Obama's enemies are well practiced in whatever-he-says-we're-against-no-matter-what.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, once on record for supporting "reasonable limitations" on guns, said into the nearest mic that President Obama was trying to dismantle the Second Amendment.

No pausing to consider complexities, to offer nuance. Just jumping to the simple extreme: Obama wants to quash the Second Amendment.

Rubio is among legislators who earn high ratings from the NRA — which is an odd thing in itself, a badge of political capital from a lobbying group, for a representative of the people — which advocates the absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment, to the point of orchestrating the suppression of research into gun violence, and fomenting fear of job and funding loss among researchers who might try. 

Following the shootings in San Bernardino, as follows most such high-profile shootings, gun sales go up, reportedly because buyers fear the loss of the Second Amendment, or the world's going to hell and we need to go down shooting. The politics of fear is not built on nuance.

The NRA steadily advocates that more arms will equal peace, and that armed guards in schools will be safer.

Yet no one to say, from our opposite corners in our righteousness, that together
  • perhaps we should work on this problem
  • maybe we should see it as an epidemic of disease in our communities
  • maybe the Second Amendment doesn't entirely mean what we practice, that the well-regulated militia part throws gun rights into a new light, for a new consideration, and the proliferation of guns is not the intent
  • 32,000 deaths each year by guns, at a cost of $229 billion (almost as much as paid in Medicaid) is egregious and outrageous, a bloodstain on our country?
We blink instead, and move on.

Why? I think we don't hurt enough. You. Me. We don't hurt, God — or luck — bless us.

We go about our days without noticing much more burden than we've taken on over time — mortgages, groceries, college loans, home loans, car loans, gas, taxes. We take them on, beasts of burden, and don't register the costly pain of gun deaths around us.

Unless gun violence affects us directly; but even then we are so efficiently spread across the country that our small voice of outrage and heartbreak and reform loses to the voice of status quo.

It's the same for the care of our Veterans. More and more, we know fewer and fewer people who serve our country in our defense. Someone else goes to battle; someone else pays for the wounded, somewhere. It's the same for public education: My kids are out of school, not my problem.

What could we do with the money we all pay toward gun violence?  Suppose the old saw is true — that guns don't kill people, people do. But guns enable holders of grudges to settle the score once and for all, of those enraged to mushroom their anger with violent finality, of the angry to extend their anger, of the confused to end their demons. Otherwise, they're grudges that need counseling and hugs and forgiveness, rages that need time and space to dissipate, angers to ease, and confusion to be treated.

Those billions spent in gun violence: Could they go instead to help the people for whom guns become the instant and horrific answer?

Gun violence as a public health issue is gaining traction, and it makes sense to me.

What if we made gun violence a pocketbook issue? What if we could show what this country could do with the money spent on gun violence?

I just thought of Theodore Judah, the engineer who dreamed of a railroad to cross the country. He first went to the financial titans of San Francisco seeking investment, framing the railroad as good for the country, for the welfare of all. The titans yawned.

Next he approached merchants in Sacramento, chiefly Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker. This time, though, Judah made it plain: Gentlemen, you will make unimaginable profits from your meager investment. They bit, and the rest is history.

What if we could show how much we could save with the reduction in gun violence? Follow our blood money?

Otherwise, what are we to make of more than 100,000 people killed or injured by guns in this country each year?

Is it our cost of living?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First-world hangups

Coat hangers, am I right?

At least once in your life, you wanted to be an inventor, to improve the world and/or become rich and/or famous. Maybe you had to invent something for a school assignment.
[Flashback: Once in school I had to invent a toy, but I had no clue and no time but plenty of tears and tantrums. My dad took over. He cut a short length of broomstick, drilled a hole through its length, stuck it onto the end of a scrap-metal rod, and bent the end of the rod into a kind of hook so the little length of broom handle would stay in place but also spin freely. Then he made a handle out of broomstick for the other end of the rod. Finally, he fished out a one of the back wheels of a long-unused tricycle (no telling why he still had it): A toy.

[You rolled the tire on the ground, and kept the tire spinning with the hook end of the rod, the little piece of broomstick spinning as it touched the tire tread.

[Not once did I hear the conversations that should have/probably did take place, pivoting on:
  • Why is your dad inventing your toy? Isn't this supposed to be your assignment?
  • Why should we call that an invention, when it's really more of an update (a clever one, mind) of the old hoop-and-stick that boys played in the Good Old Days?
[Ah, parents: Will we ever learn?

[Ah, children: Likewise.

[I still have it, in the garage with the scant remains of sporting goods; it's really quite something.

[Flashback over.]
You probably outgrew this notion, this flair for inventing. A few of you didn't. A few of you grew up to invent really useful, fascinating, earth-changing things, like artificial hearts and variable-speed wipers. Others of you invented things we didn't need but couldn't live without, like twitter®™. Either way, you are not reading this, busy as you are inventing more things, and becoming richer and more famous.

Don't despair. I have a brilliant opportunity for someone among the rest of you, to become rich and famous and, in so doing, disregard this blog forever.

After this post, that is.

You ready? Here it is: Coat hangers.

I am officially done thinking of a way to eradicate them. They are infernal devices of frustration. Tools — dare I say? — of the devil.

Though I have found this burning need to make them better, I can't fill it. Now it's yours to carry the torch.

It won't be easy, take it from me. Coat hangers haunt and taunt me every time I use them. Every mother-loving moment.

They are a big part of the reason my clothes heap on the floor until laundry day. Not a defensible reason, but still.

Why do I hate them? They:
  • Hook onto everything you don't want them to. Every single time.
  • Come off the hanger rod in twos or threes when you only want one. Always.
  • Jam into other hangers when you try to put them away, so they make themselves ready to come off in twos or threes the next time.
  • Knock at least one hanger off the rod and between the dresser and the far corner of the closet, unexplored since the Ford Administration. Vast deposits of coat hanger wire back there, I'm sure.
  • Wrinkle pants, no matter how neat you I try to drape them.
  • Especially the plastic hangers with the little struts that strengthen the hangers but make the pants-draping part too narrow.
  • Plus, the plastic ones with the strengthening struts still break — just when you could really use it.
  • Break under use, especially the wire hangers with the cardboard tube base. Why do they exist? They are those hangers you get from the dry cleaners, I suspect, and they're not designed for long-term use, but who doesn't try to keep using them? You'd think we go to the dry cleaners twice a week, like people on TV, for all the dry-cleaner hangers we have.
  • Remind you you're getting old, especially the coat hangers with their tattered paper lining, advertising some dry cleaner from long ago and far away. We don't tear off the paper — too much work, the paper just bunching at one end of the drapy part when you I try — but let it tatter and yellow on the wire frame.
  • Drop your shirt to the floor of your closet anyway, even after you have taken pains to secure it to the hanger. Hanger makers have colluded to make their devices about an inch-and-a-half too narrow to suspend your average shirt. Hanger makers are having a good laugh right now. They always do.
  • Make your life harder, especially the ones designed to hang just pants, upside down by the cuff. They're supposed to clamp the cuff and the pants hang straight, no bending. But the clamps don't clamp, and the steps needed to arrange the pants and install them in these devices — bother, I just heap them on the floor.
  • Confuse and confound — my half of the closet includes a token number of sturdy wooden hangers, sculptural in their beauty, with a hook that swivels in its base so it can hang clothes facing left or right. I reserve them for fancy slacks and clothes that I don't have, so they remain empty. Sour grapes, anyway: The hooks don't swivel very well; you I still have to turn the hook yourmyself with your my free hand.
  • Threaten relationships: My wife and I are left-handed, but she hangs clothes with her right hand, so that the clothes face left. Who in her right mind does that? Clothes hung by left handers must face right! Relationship saved by my washing and hanging my own clothes.
You feel my pain, I know you do. My only hope now is that I've stated my case with passion sufficient to spur you to creating a bold new world, one in which clothes may be draped in a sensible, harmonious fashion, off the floor.

Necessity is the mother of invention, of course, and this necessity is a mother!

When you solve this urgent need, save a few. I must admit two good uses for these terrible contraptions:
  • They hang T-shirts really well! T-shirts are 85 percent of my wardrobe, and you I don't have to worry about wrinkling them. For some reason, they hang rather well on these devices, and that saves a lot of dresser drawer space for sweaters I never wear.
  • They make great puppets for art class, which I did in fourth grade, by folding my puppet in half when no one else did, and winning a Snickers™® bar.
Aside from that, hangers can go hang.

Good luck to you, Mr./Ms. Inventor. The world awaits amid piles of dress slacks and skirts (how do you hang skirts? Never mind).