Octopus Magnet

I got this octopus magnet at a street fair in New York City.  It had to be in the early ’90s when I was very actively collecting a lot of stuff.  I think it had something to do with again having the story behind the item, I am still not sure; part of what I am working on is to understand what really drives our various desires — in this case why I bought an octopus magnet at all.

When you fist come upon something new, you’re like “WOW!”  and then often, not always, but often — find it everywhere.  IN this case they were magnets made fro some white stuff, sort of plastic-y but maybe something else, and if I recall they were made in Guatemala or someplace else in Central America.  So they were reasonable — I think a dollar a piece and maybe six for five or some deal like that, I recall I also got one with some rice and a sculpted chicken leg on a plate as well an some others, too.  The fact that they were handmade and sculpted gave them a certain uniqueness; so many magnets by then were the flat ones that were molded or just photos so they didn’t have much origiality to them; these did.


But then these Guatemalan magnets started to flood the markets, they were not only at seemingly every street fair, but sometimes three or four times in same street fair; as has become the norm now.  But it was a bit of a surprise for some reason to me at first that you would go to a street fair and about every four blocks the vendors would start to repeat — and not just another guy selling magnets or T-shirts; but the exact same magnets and T-shirts. And zeppole and so on and so on.  I guess the average length most people walk at a street fair is four or five blocks.  Which is a quarter-mile; so I guess that is about right.


The magnets themselves were not very magnetic; they barely stayed on the refrigerator and couldn’t hold a single piece of paper without falling down so from a purely practical point of view they were useless.  But they did at least have some artistic merit, being touched at least by a human to form and  paint them (even if it was only so much as to spray-paint it and dab on the eyes.)


But it was an octopus, and not a chicken leg so I had a little more affinity for it; I do find them fascinating creatures.  But do I really need a crappy Guatemalan octopus magnet to keep me fascinated or maintain my fascination?  No.




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