Friday, December 26, 2014

Keepsake Album Day 5: A Puddle of Alien Snot

Today I drew a cartoon about a gift exchange that took place in our family many years ago. Let me tell you about it:

In approximately the year 2001 we each drew names of someone in the family. It was our job to create some sort of handmade gift for that person as a part of the Christmas festivities. At that time I was about seven or eight-years-old. My older brother, Patrick, was probably ten or eleven and Paul Hugh, the youngest at that time, was maybe three or four-years-old. Isaac came into our family many years later. He is not in this story. 

Everyone in my family is quite crafty. We all have artistic ability and decent fine-motor skills that come in handy for the making of crafts. In fact today Patrick is currently in the business of professional carpentry and my mother was a talented doll-maker for many years. Back to the story!
Even at this tender age Patrick and I were able to make some cool things by hand. I must have drawn my dad's name and I forget if Patrick had my mom or Paul Hugh. We all made some cool object for the person whose name we had drawn. I am sure my parents gifts were really cool like a painted soldier figurine from my dad or an elaborate paper-doll from my mother. I probably made a cool beaded ring or necklace. 

The only one whose crafting abilities had not yet matured was the four-year-old Paul Hugh. He was no artisan at age four. Of course in a couple of years he would develop as an artist and begin to create such fine works as a series of highly detailed battle scenes depicting hundred of tiny soldiers battling a monster he dubbed the "Jointosaurus". The Jointasaurus was a dinosaur-like being who had a remarkable amount of joints which allowed him to bend his massive limbs in several different directions at once. ANYWAY. This level of prowess was yet to come. Four-year-old Paul Hugh was not the person you wanted making you a Christmas gift. I love the boy dearly, but honestly anyone would have rather received one of my parents miniature works of art rather than whatever that runny-nosed little fellow could have dreamed up with a couple of pipe cleaners. 

This, at least, was my sincere sentiment as I learned that Paul Hugh had drawn my name. The eight year-old me was disappointed. What was he going to make? What even could he make?! 

The answer was something out of plasticine. PH spent about five minutes creating a small sculpture out of a yellowish green wad of plasticine. It looked something like a melting tree. It was very um…abstract. I looked up from my beaded creation every now and then to check on the status of my "gift". My heart sank as I watched PH shape the weird lump of clay. 

PH persuaded an adult to bake the creation in the oven for a time. He must have thought it was something like Fimo or Sculpey which hardens after baking. He was wrong. Plasticine is not meant to go ing the oven. In fact is never meant to harden, which is why animators use it for claymation. But four-year-old PH did not know that. 

We all exchanged our gift at the end of our family craft session. Everyone was delighted with the beautiful handiwork of their fellow Tills. Except me. Paul Hugh's little plasticine sculpture had turned into a puddle of yellowish green. It looked like a pool of alien snot on a pie tin. That was my gift. 

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