Letters of Life

Naugahyde And Other Funny Memories

The word came up, apropos of the furnishings in a fast-food chain purveying Japanese fine burger(s) and coffee.

“Naugahyde.” *

The last time I said that word aloud must have been ’round about 1985.

Like Proust’s involuntary remembrance of how the taste of a madeleine shot him back into a golden recollection of childhood, my hearing that formerly-trademarked word made me smile like I was remembering those sunlit days of silliness and unadulterated carefreeness that is the hallmark of youth.

It was at that time that I had read a review of Legend, a fantasy film directed by the great Ridley Scott . It was peopled with Muppets and swamps, snowflakes and petals, and an assortment of mythical creatures. The review, in Time magazine, panned the slightly overdone movie, and had this to say about one of the main cast, the lord of darkness:

He looked like a Naugahyde goat which had been flayed and lacquered and served sweet-sour in a Chinese restaurant on Middle Earth.

It was possibly the funniest, cleverest, and pithiest description of a fantasy character that I’d ever read in my young life. I did what any young writer who takes herself too seriously would do: I wrote it down and memorised it.

~ Getting Your Goat

Like any earnest young writer, I hoped one day to write something as brilliantly scathing and corny. The day never came.

Until now. It’s funny what the mind never forgets.

In other news, last evening was a roundtable of sharing our favourite memories at eighteen. Some remembered working part-time jobs in the hotel industry 36-hours at a stretch, folding napkins, serving sharksfin-soup at all-night wedding dinners, to boardroom meetings in the morning, and loving it.

There was a tale of two wild girls heading to Bali, living it up in Pinkerton pubs, drinking, being beach bunnies, I mean, you only live once.

Other fun moments included LAN gaming for hours with friends capped with gluttonous suppers in the heartlands. Roaming the school after hours, staying overnight even, until it was finally disallowed.

First girlfriends, freedom from controlling parents for an overseasstudent, life in the fast lane. All these described with golden smiles that recollected good times, the meaningless hours now weighted with the passing of years.

Me? One abiding 18th memory must be one where I sit, or lounge rather, by a quiet pool, a Walkman on the side-table next to a gloriously moist hamburger and iced tea, alone with a book or someone with good conversation, dreaming of what lies beyond the clouds above me, able to hide away words like Naugahyde.

* A must-read: Naugahyde and Seek

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