Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monkeying around

From out of the blue (pun intended), I received a wonderful email this week!

An Internet friend from USA, Lori Custer, contacted me to say:

"Hope this finds you well! I went and checked out your websites, did a bit of reading up about you, and decided that you needed a little Therin [the Andorian], to go with your 'Lori Custer Monkey' collection. You now have three; that makes it a collection!


"All I need from you, is your mailing address, I`ve lost it, and I will get the little critter in the mail to you.

"There are a couple 'additions', but they will help him, not hinder, in his adventures. The 'tail' is equipped with the same 'feelers' they have on their heads, giving them a great advantage when being preyed upon from behind!

"The best to you this holiday season, Lori.

PS. I have enclosed a couple of snapshots, at his insistence... he is a bit of a ham..."

You're telling me, Lori!

What an amazing surprise! I lost contact with Lori not long after our eBay transactions were settled, but I found her again two Christmases ago when providing links to her sock monkey eBay projects. And then, this week, the email notification that something was on its way!


The miniature skateboard-riding Lori Custer sock monkey (above) was bought in an eBay USA auction in 1999, and is actually made from baby-sized "red heel" socks. The purchase started out as a joke when I was demonstrating to some colleagues (at the Scan office, where I was the editor) just how eBay auctions worked, and we all fell in love with this particular one. I decided he'd be perfect as a Christmas ornament for my tree that year. Note how he is hanging next to two M&Ms: "the candy of the Millennium".

Winning that eBay auction was fun, but the day the perfectly wrapped box arrived at Scan was a highlight of a great communal Internet adventure.

A few months later, when the creator, Lori, realised she'd overcharged me on postage, she sent me out a second miniature sock monkey for free: an editor sock monkey, blue pencil tucked over one ear, wearing spectacles, and working away at a tiny computer (below):

Editor sock monkey

I have no idea what size sock monkey little simian Therin is, but it'll be fun (and frustrating) waiting to find out!

1 comment:

Therin of Andor said...

It's funny how the whole sock monkey thing started. I was demonstrating to a work colleague, a cataloguer, how eBay worked way back in 1999. She had been trying to ascertain which websites could be catalogued for adding to school library catalogues.

I asked her, "What should we search for? Someone will be auctioning it off, no matter what we type."

She said, "A white Elvis suit."

Sure enough, there were many listings for photos of Elvis in a white suit, replica Elvis suits, toy Elvis figures... and a full-size sock monkey dressed in a white Elvis suit. When we looked up listings for sock monkeys, there were hundreds of them, including miniatures, and even "Elmer the Sock Elephant, the Sock Monkeys' Friend."

We were paralysed with laughter. We looked up "how to make..." pages and found Depression-era patterns that used a pair of "red heel" socks to make a monkey. One red stripe becomes the mouth, the other becomes a strip on his bottom.

I suddenly remembered, as a young child, my grandfather calling us "red bottom monkeys" when we were mischievous. And this... a new fascination is born.