By Karen June Miller - 2007
I am naturally attracted to things, liking some things, but not drawn to everything. Much like the song, “My Favorite Things,” (from The Sound of Music) my list of favorites include a motley assortment of items. I love the tactile and sensory experiences that beautiful things afford us. Whether created by God or crafted by man, I am always drawn to the inspiration behind the invention.
I hold to the belief that we are created in the image of the Creator; therefore we are creative and destined to create. Many women have told me point blank that they are not creative, and yet I have seen these same women resolve problems with practical, yet creative solutions. Creativity is both artistic and/or practical. I love the term Walt Disney coined to describe the creative process: imagineering.
Anandamayi Arnold is a Berkley, California artist who creates surprise balls; beautiful paper sculptures wrapped around tiny trinkets. She uses German crepe paper to make flowers, beehives, animal heads, and so on. One of the biggest surprises is that her work needs to be destroyed in order to unwrap the trinket! This does not phase Anandamayi because Hindus teach that nothing is permanent, therefore one shouldn’t become too attached to things.
Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Job 1:21 quotes Job as saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” The old phrase, “You can’t take it with you,” is something we all must reckon with. A ride through Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is a realistic reminder of human departure and the vast treasures that don’t make the trip.
Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” sings:
I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
(You want thingamabobs?
I got twenty)
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more
Ariel is fantasizing that life above sea level will be the cure-all to her so-called seabed of suffering. Her friends think she has it great. However, Ariel longs for human “things,” so she forfeits everything. Seagrass for greener grass.
All right, so we still love things! We savor beauty and how it speaks to us on a personal level. Just look at creation and the vast variety of flora and fauna! It seems to me that, from the beginning, God made huge brush strokes to stave off boredom. And, certainly, treasures are harmless as long as we possess things and things don’t possess us.
The names for things are often fanciful. Words like bling-bling (with roots in hip-hop) and froufrou have evolved to counter their exotic ancestors: baubles, bangles, and beads. For women, words such as accoutrement or accessory, novelty, trinket, or curio, can easily trigger our next shopping spree! Then again, for some of us, it doesn’t take much…
As a teenager my Mother would urgently order me to go get “the thing.” I would ask her, “Where is it?” She would reply emphatically– her hands bouncing rapidly like flippers– “IN THE THING!” Off I would go to look for the “thing in the thing,” clueless... What’s even more maddening for a teenager– is that I often found it!
Our speech is peppered with wacky words that identify something whose name is either forgotten or not known. Most of us are familiar with nouns such as dohickey (doohickey), dojigger, gizmo (gismo), thingamabob, thingummy, thingamajig (thingmajig), and doodad; and the less common word, gubbins. How about whatchamacallit, stuff, sundries, whatsis, bric-a-brac, knickknack (nicknack), knicknackery, and whatnot. Even assortments have names such as hodgepodge, ragbag, mélange, mingle-mangle, mishmash, oddments, odds and ends, farrago, and the lofty omnium-gatherum. We love dumping our nouns into miscellany.
So, why not take this moment to look around at the treasures that define your world. Maybe there are some thingamabobs that you have stopped looking at because they have become too familiar. Maybe it’s time to rearrange some whatchamacallits or dust off a doohickey. How about blessing someone special with a cherished knickknack or allowing your trove to inspire a new use for a tired trinket. Today, our omnium-gatherum can become that much more special!