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Another Twelve Inches And We're Out
May 24, 2009

Hello you all,

What a lovely sunny Sunday we are having. here is my Sunday story. It has kept me out of the sun so I hope you all appreciate it. And, more importantly, I hope you all have a wonderful bank holiday!

Love and peanuts

El Rey x


The shop opened at 9am on the dot and Samson Keen walked straight in the unlocked door to become the first customer of the day and the twenty seven thousand and forty third customer of all time. He knew what he wanted to buy and he had the money to buy it. All he was after was a twelve-inch ruler. Preferably wooden as wood was more rigid. I his past experience Samson had tried plastic rulers and although they were lighter and tended to stay accurate for longer they simply didn’t have the rigidity of their wooded counterparts. Today, and everyday, for that matter, Samson needed rigidity.

He headed straight for the stationary department. It was up a flight of stairs towards the back of the first floor. It was the beginning of school term so Samson reckoned it would be well stocked, unless there had been a parental rush, in which case it might be cleared out. Either way he was pretty certain that wooden rulers would be in stock. Most people went for the transparent plastic variety nowadays. Most people bought metric. Samson was old school.

He liked the look of wooden rulers. Especially when they were brand new. The golden brown colour with the black ink notches and numbers, the nicely angled shape sides with the flat strip along the centre. He liked the way the varnish was usually uneven. He liked the rigidity. You could bend a plastic ruler too easily and when they snapped they shattered. If you tried to bend a wooden ruler they would splinter. The edges of wooden rulers wore out and after only a few weeks it was hard to actually use one to draw a straight line. The varnish and ink invariably rubbed off too. They became random instruments. They had character. Wooden rulers… well used wooden rulers encouraged guesswork! Old wooden rulers could add a level of uncertainty to things that plastic rulers were incapable of.

Samson liked to think of himself as a rebel. Samson was a non-conformist. He had learned the hard way that towing the line and getting things totally correct did not automatically bring reward. He knew that there was no such thing as a straight line and because of that he strove to avoid trying to draw one. So what if the ruler was brand new. There were things you could do to degenerate them. You could trail them against walls. Hit things with them. Use them as a straight edge when cutting things with a sharp blade. Leave them outside in the rain. You didn’t get the same effect with plastic.

Samson had drawn countless lines with ruined wooden rulers and he much preferred them to those he had drawn with plastic rulers. They were far more interesting. They were marginally harder to draw. They actually had personality.

Wooden rulers smelled good too. Plastic smelled of nothing. Wooden rulers actually absorbed aromas and flavours. They were porous beneath the varnish. The edge of an old wooden ruler could be a veritable cornucopia of various smells flavours and textures. Samson liked to think that this was transferred to the paper when he drew lines. That the lines themselves had a individuality given to them by the ruler.

He reached the stationary department and headed to the isle where pens, pencils and rulers were normally displayed. There were only plastic rulers. Loads of them. Multi-coloured and in varying lengths. All of them were metric. Fucking plastic and metric. Samson’s heart sank. Only that morning he had snapped his favourite wooden ruler in two. He had chewed on the splintered ends and savoured the taste of wood, chocolate, ink and carbon. He had walked to the beach and ceremoniously buried the halves in the sand just below the high tide mark. He had moved on. He was expecting a new start. A regeneration. A brand new wooden ruler. He was devastated.

Samson asked a member of staff if they had any wooden rulers in the back of the shop. The member of staff was obliging and went to find out for him. He returned with bad news. The store no longer stocked wooden rulers as they now supported re-forestation and wooden rulers were, in part, responsible for the depletion of the Amazonian Rain forest.

Fuck the rain forest thought Samson. Fuck everything. He left the shop bitter and disappointed. He realised he had reached a crucial turning point and life would never be the same.

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