Saturday, May 5, 2012


The Goodman Theater in downtown Chicago is currently mounting a production of Eugene O’ Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh”.  I’ll let others write about why this is one absolutely remarkable play.  I’d definitely go see it if it weren’t for the fact that it’s over four hours long.  Once you’re in your fifties, certain body parts don’t react well to sitting for such an extended amount of time.  Wagner operas are also out of the question for the same reason.  Anyway, the main character (played by the incomparable Nathan Lane in the current Goodman production) is your classic salesman.  A great talker, full of charm and bluster and who will entertain you for as long as you let him or until he’s ready to make his pitch.  In the play he’s a hardware salesman.  The meaning of Iceman in the title is something else entirely.  Read or see the play and the metaphor will become evident.  So my mind was wandering one day (as the minds of retired people often do), and I was wondering how the play would change if O’Neill had named it “The Yarnman Cometh”.  If Hickey, the hardware salesman, had been a yarn salesman instead.  Well, let me tell you something.  It wouldn’t work.  You think of the classic negative stereotype of a salesman and you might automatically envision a used car guy (or girl).  Now this vision might be justified and it might not.  I’m sure that somewhere in America there are some very nice used car salespeople.  But people who sell yarn definitely don’t fit the stereotype.  I will attempt to explain why.

Make no mistake, yarn salespeople, or as they are more commonly known, yarn reps, still have to sell a product.  Like any other salesperson, sometimes they have to be aggressive. Occasionally, the qualities of certain yarns might even be gently exaggerated.  Being a most accomplished fly on the wall, I have seen some reps in action.  There are all sorts of different types.  Some are better at it than others.  But the nice thing about being a yarn rep is the actual product they are selling.  I like to think that all yarn has merit.  Even the cheapest (price-wise and quality-wise) of yarns has a purpose.  Because of this, because of the fact that yarn practically sells itself, the bravado of a yarn rep is very mild when compared to the demeanor of other types of salespeople.  Thank God for that.  One day, I was momentarily picturing myself as a yarn rep.  But the picture faded away very, very quickly.  Even though yarn reps are generally low key, I myself couldn’t handle that type of a job or any job that involves sales.  The reason goes all the way back to a childhood event.  In retrospect, I suppose, it is quite humorous.  Back then it was anything but.

I was raised a Catholic and one year there was an unremembered cause for which I and my Catholic school classmates were forced to sell Christmas cards.  Here comes the funny part.  The block I lived on was predominantly Jewish.  I was nine years old.  At that age, how was I supposed to know that Jewish people had no need for Christmas cards?  I don’t think I fully understood the nuances that distinguish the Hebrew faith from the Christian faith till I was in high school.  So picture this innocent young Catholic lad going to the homes of all his neighborhood Jewish friends and asking their Jewish mothers if they would be interested in purchasing some Christmas cards.  Disaster!  I still cringe when I remember the strange looks on their faces as they politely informed me that no, they would not be interested.  That traumatic childhood event cemented one thing in my mind.  I would never, ever sell anything again.  I have stayed true to this oath.  Working in Cathy’s store doesn’t count.   That’s more of a keeper of the cash register type position.  I believe I’ll leave the selling of yarn to the nice reps that visit Cathy’s store.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -         

Cathy will be in Denver for a few days in mid-May so the day I’ve dreamed of will soon be here.  While Cathy is gone, I will be manning the fort otherwise known as Montoya Fiber Studio.  All by my lonesome.  From May 11 through May 15 (except for Saturday, May 12, when our good friend, Ann will be in charge).  Now I can finally implement some of my more radical business ideas.  For example, spend a thousand dollars and I will sing you my world famous Vicuña Song plus wash your car.  Or spend two thousand dollars and I will buy you a pair of tickets for “The Iceman Cometh”.  What a bargain!  So please feel free to stop in and say hello and buy all the yarn you like.  Just don’t ask for any complicated knitting help.  If anything, maybe someone can come in and help me.  I’m currently having a dickens of a time trying to graft together two separate parts of a scarf with something called a Kitchener stitch.

Also, there’s still time to submit your crossword puzzle.  What crossword puzzle you might ask?  Check out my blog entry of April 15.  All the details are there.  The names of the winning contestants will be drawn out of a hat on May 17.          

1 comment:

  1. Not to worry, the Kitchener makes even accomplished knitters blanch.
    Too bad my budget this month doesn't allow for thousands of dollars of yarn...