Once upon a post-grad Christmastime I cheerfully arrived home to my apartment and announced to my roommate that I was buying a deer. To which she, bless her little heart, merely responded “Where will it go?” (Details, details!). I guess she’d known me long enough that such a proclamation was unlikely to evoke more than a wary eye-roll. I had found the deer, a life-sized, solid wood, turn of the century, hand carved Belgian deer, no less, at my place of work. This is less outrageous than it sounds; I was working at the time at ABC Home, the venerable furniture emporium and dealer in all things outrageously beautiful and depressingly priced. For the sake of my sanity and in hopes of my continued abstinence from shoplifting, I pray that this was my last job in which I want to cry no fewer than 8 times a day while surrounding myself with beautiful things I can’t afford. French ceramic bowl? A mere $285! Titanium shot glass? Simply sacrifice your weekly paycheck; it’s $1600 for a set of two! Squandered paychecks and retail hustling aside, though, the job was an unparalleled source of inspiration and continues to be an invaluable mental sourcebook (as well as a comedic sourcebook; #shitcustomerslookingforamarbleBuddhasay would make a hell of a Twitter feed).
It was Christmastime in this furniture fantasyland when I first laid eyes on my beloved cervidae. Our eyes met one morning in early December, mine eagerly scanning the entryway for potential big spenders, his wooden ones staring, as they are wont to do, deadly at the glitter-covered floor (if you’ve ever been to ABC around Christmas you know exactly what I mean. If you’ve ever worked at ABC from the months of October to February, you especially know what I mean and probably still have some evidence of this in your scalp. Magical). From the moment we locked eyes/from across the room, I was enchanted. Perhaps it was his regal stance, perhaps the gentle curve of his antlers or the intricate carving along his rump. Perhaps the proud way he held his head high despite the array of feather-adorned ornaments hanging from it. In any case, I knew I had to have him.
Once I got around convincing the visual team to part with the star of their holiday tableaux, I faced the frustrating obstacle of transporting my beloved new pet home. While I’d like to think Prancer is magical enough to fly with the best of his sleigh-pulling siblings, alas this proved but a pipe dream and I faced more pedantic options: UPS or a Yellow Taxi. Since there was no way I was going to part with the sculpted creature while he tumbled unattended in the back of a delivery van, I was left to trusty New York transport. Several (dozen?) yards of bubble wrap, a very vocally skeptical cab driver, and much instructing of a slightly exasperated boyfriend later, Prancer was home.
While countless friends and houseguests scoff at the oversized and under-practical addition to my tiny apartment (especially given the frequency with which I am wont to complain about said apartment’s tininess), I maintain that Prancer is the best purchase I have ever made. Some things just speak to you (or rather, suggest to you with subtle eye signals achievable in wood). Through his steadfast wooden friendship, Prancer taught me that sometimes when you see something you love, you just have to go for it, concerns about door width and transportabilty be damned. Oh, and his antlers make the perfect drying rack, so hows that for practical, haters?