Blog Brainstorms

Do I Have to See the Light?

March 21, 2013

I was standing in the laundry room last week, folding clothes, when my gaze snagged on an artificial wreath hanging on the wall. Made up of pale lavender and green silk hydrangeas, it looked fuzzy. Fuzzy leaves, fuzzy vines, fuzzy stems. On closer inspection, I realized that the fuzziness was furze, that the wreath was coated in dust, and the only reason I could see this is because it was SO painfully bright outside. It wasn’t something I’d noticed before, because it wasn’t prominent in the gloom of winter. I know there are sprays available for cleaning artificial flowers; supposedly, they eat the dust. I’ve avoided buying them, because, truly, would you want to spread a dust-eating chemical around your home? I understand that cleanliness is right up there with Godliness (according to Sir Francis Bacon, and captains of ships), and I do try to keep things picked up, but letting loose radically uncontrollable dust eaters doesn’t seem prudent. This furziness continued to bug me, leading to an activity I try to avoid. I drove over to Target, to check out their new spring wreaths. I’m convinced that it was the bright light of Daylight Savings Time that made me do it.

I have no control, given the lure of a Big Box Store. What's up with that? Photo courtesy of Jackie Emrick.

I have no control, given the lure of a Big Box Store. What’s up with that? Photo courtesy of Jackie Emrick.

There is something unaccountably alluring about time spent in one of those Big Box Stores, and I will unabashedly admit that Target is my favorite. It may have to do with their windowless existence; there is a sense that, once I’m inside, no one out there need know what I’m up to, which generally turns out to be spending money. I’ve mulled over why this happens, and have come up with the solution. It has two fronts.

First, the store layout is uncannily set up to foster confusion. I would bet that, from a bird’s eye view, Target stores are a quagmire of interlocking mazes. If you’re heading over to men’s socks, and veer left to check out the new cellphone covers (because, who isn’t attracted to a bright, colorful cover for man’s best friend?), and then head right (avoiding small toys) in order to check out kitchen gadgets, I promise the Target shopper will become eternally, and disorientingly, lost.

Then there’s the problem of all that light. It’s enough to dull the senses, those things which, if functioning normally, would raise a warning alarm when the Target shopper adds a set of olive green nesting mixing bowls into their cheery, red shopping basket. All that light creates a film over the shopper’s mind, making them forget that the last time they underwent a Target excursion, remarkably similar turquoise green bowls were added to their home collection.

Increased light can rattle mammal’s brains, particularly after emerging from the depths of winter’s darkness. For example, the three Ukrainian dolphins, I’m certain you’ve heard about them, it was all over the Internet last week, who were said to have escaped from their military training pod, equipped with knives strapped to their heads. While the story turned out to be a hoax, for several days, I received emails from people who thought this would be great blog fodder (it is), and who posed the question of what would happen should a swimmer encounter a killer dolphin. As it so happens, both the Ukrainian and U.S. Military do train dolphins for combat.

The story has cast an entirely new spotlight on Flipper, my most favorite childhood hero.

Sometimes, light is shed on people long gone, those who are stuff of misanthropic legend, for whom, once dug up (literally, as in the recent discovery of King Richard III of England’s skeleton underneath a Leicestershire parking lot), new efforts are spent to untarnish their reputations.

That may not always be the best idea.

There are times when a bright light may bring too much into focus. Or illuminate things which ought to remain in the dark.

There are times when a bright light may bring too much into focus. Or illuminate things which ought to remain in the dark.

I know. The Richard III Society was founded in 1924 with the stated intention “to strip away the spin, the unfair innuendo, Tudor artistic shaping and the lazy acquiescence of later ages, and get at the truth.”  Richard, the last King of England to have been killed in battle while on the throne, has been considered the ultimate arch villain for the past 500 years. According to history (bolstered by the ultimate wordsmith, William Shakespeare), Richard committed quite a number of nasty deeds during his short life, with murder of relatives standing in the way of his accession to the throne topping the list as one of his favorite pastimes. Of course, Shakespeare had a greater interest in promoting Richard III’s murderers (the Tudor family, who succeeded on the throne after the Battle of Bosworth), since they were the ones who would come to watch Shakespeare’s play. It is always about where you can get people to spend their money, after all.

I’m not going to hash over old history, or take sides, because, first, I wasn’t there, and moreover, there are plenty of people who have taken up the battle standard to clear Richard’s name. It’s interesting reading from the sidelines.

I’ve been wondering what Richard III would have to say about all of this recent attention?

There is the possibility that he might not approve. After all,

One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

The most famous playwright in modern history vilified Richard in a play that has been reenacted thousands of times on stage, and been the subject of at least eight major films. As an anti-hero, the guy is memorable. Lose that, and he may as well remain stuffed naked into a hole under a parking lot in drizzly England. Being the bad guy, particularly if you only got to be King for a measly two years, might not be so awful, if people are still talking about you five hundred years later.

I do worry about the Ukrainian attack dolphins, though. From here on out, whenever I’m lazing on a beach, and spot a pod of those gray, finned spines, gracefully rolling through the waves, I’ll always wonder.

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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.




Award-winning Chick Lit author Emily Kemme writes about the quirks of human nature. Find musings, recipes, and satire on her blog, Feeding the Famished. Novels | Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage | In Search of Sushi Tora | Other works in progress

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  • Reply Lynette March 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Sooo, did you get a new wreath? Here is what I have done for year~~if you have a laundry room sink, spray it (gently) with tepid water and let dry outside on a nice day (going to be 60 on Wednesday). Have some nice wreaths and except for the ones with a lot of red, all works well and comes out shiny new and rehangable without all the furze. Let me know if you try and how it works out.

    • Reply Emily Kemme March 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I haven’t bought a new wreath, and have put this job on my to-do list for Wednesday! I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the great idea.

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