|The Staff of a Thousand Questions
Okay, so this might not actually raise a thousand questions, but it's one of
the strangest things I own, and that's saying a lot considering that most
things I own have either six legs or pumpkins for heads.
I found this hunk of wood washed ashore at a bay in eastern Maryland
when I was only twelve years old, protruding from the sand amidst
massive pieces of natural driftwood. At first glance, that's all it appeared
to be, but there is nothing natural about this mysterious monster.
At some point in this driftwood's lifespan, it became the unwitting subject
of some delusional madman's attempt to play God. Not content to leave
well enough alone, he or she - perhaps even it - decided to "improve" this
piece of driftwood far beyond what nature intended.
We can see where our mystery person filled in a hole on the other side of
the joint with some kind of resin, painting over it in an attempt to hide this
crime against science. It then becomes obvious that the entire stick is
both sanded and painted, as evidenced by the the lighter brown wherever
it is cracked.
What makes the stick immediately remarkable is its articulation. The
single, small branch can rotate freely in a carefully-crafted joint, like the
arm of an action figure. It's not merely screwed in; it neither loosens nor
tightens as it is rotated.
Finally, one end has been rather obviously sawed off and sanded with a
tiny hole drilled in the center, possibly for purposes we dare not fathom.
Whether a magical weapon of destruction, a half-finished golem or part of
a tacky lamp, none of us shall ever know how or why this piece of
driftwood was given an arm and wound up on a beach.