I know this guy who really really hates wicker. You might say, he’s just not one for wicker. It simply doesn’t agree with him. The texture. The stench of it. All the holes. Wicker literally makes this guy sick, I’m not even joking with you (I wish I was, for his sake). Because we live in a wicker-world, ladies and gentlemen, let’s be honest for a darn second. Baskets, hampers, rocking chairs, waste-containers, patio furniture, the like – we’ve got wicker every which way you turn. Come to think of it, I’m looking at a plant right now in my living room, guess what it’s sitting in? Let’s just say there’s a little sticker on the underside that reads: “Made in the United States of Wicker.”
And I asked this guy once: “What is it about W, really?” Oh, you can’t even use the word wicker around this guy, cause he’ll break out in hives or whatever, so I abbreviate it to “W” whenever I discuss it with him and he knows what I mean. “Have you ever thought about where this hatred for W really came from?” I ask. And he just stared right back at me all serious. I could tell he was thinking about something real hard. He takes a deep breath and whispered: “I never told no one this.” I nodded in anticipation.
“My first mother,” he began, “People called her tushy-face, don’t ask me why. ” I didn’t. “She had a magical way of turning polaroid pictures into real pictures by cutting off that white bottom thing. People would say she was 2 parts genius, 1 part Mets fan, and 1 part tushy-face, don’t ask me why, but I just called her mom, or sometimes tushy-face, behind her back, cause it was pretty unavoidable: I’d be talking about her to someone, ‘Oh my mom said so and so,’ and they’d be like, ‘oh you mean tushy face?’ and even though I didn’t love the implication, I eventually would just nod to avoid confusion.” He looked up in the air, “Sorry mom,” he said.
I was hoping he’d get to point soon. “I’ll get there,” he bellowed. Things were heating up. “She was a real crafty lady, you know. That’s not to say she was up to tricks all the time, but that she had a real penchant for arts and crafts projects. Well one morning she started blabbing on and on about some new miracle medium. ‘Oh I just love W!’ she kept saying.” He meant wicker, of course. “‘It’s so easy to use, yet so elegant.’ Pretty soon the whole house was filled with W – W chairs, a W dining room table, W couches, W dishes, W floors. And one evening she knocked on my door holding some new W contraption and said, ‘Try this on.’ It was a pair of dungarees made out of W. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started crying. ‘I never see you anymore,’ ‘You love W more than me!’ but the kicker: ‘And you have a real tushy-face!’ And after I said this, she just, her face tightened up real hard, sort of like it was trying to squeeze out a large piece of poo. She grabbed the W dungarees, walked out of my room, and my life, it would turn out, cause she tripped over the W cat, fell down the W stairs and broke her neck.”
I was silent for a long while. Then asked, “Do you have a picture?” He nodded, then took out something battered from his wallet. I could tell it was a polaroid with the white part snipped off. His mom was posing with her son in front of a life-size wicker statuette of Ron Darling. I figured it was taken circa 1986. “Yeah, you know, I don’t get the tushy face thing at all?”