The interesting part about buying a package of scissors is you need a pair of scissors in order to open the package of scissors. If you bought the scissors to replace a pair that hasn’t been sharp since the seventies you’re forced to use the dull scissors one last time to open the superior scissor set. While this will reaffirm why you bought the new scissors, it’s kind of heartless when you think about it. It’s sort of like firing someone and then telling them they have to go pick up their replacement at the airport.
The crappy scissors at least have the satisfaction of knowing they released the trapped ones. “So you shiny, fancy, snippers, not so snippy in your pretty package now are you? If I hadn’t come along you’d still be trapped in there. Trapped I say!”
I worry about someone setting up their first home and buying their first package of scissors. What are they supposed to do? Or what if you already recycled the old pair? Then what? Of course, what I really should be worried about is the time I am spending thinking about any of this; particularly the feelings of a dull pair of scissors. It’s like that old Ikea commercial where the couple breaks their ceramic creamer and has to buy a new one. The camera pans in on the old cow shaped creamer lying on the curb with the trash in the rain while in the background you see the couple happily pouring cream into their tea cups with its replacement. A voice says, “Aw, do you feel sorry for the little creamer? That’s because you’re crazy. Creamers don’t have feelings. Come to Ikea and get a better one.”
I needed my new scissor set for doing something I loosely call art. I would never call myself an artist, though I suppose there is nothing so bold in that. It’s not as if I’m saying I am a great artist just that I enjoy dabbling in art. There are so many levels to art that I won’t begin to discern between them. Anyone who explores their creative urges and sees it through until they have birthed an idea into something they can hold in their hands has my respect.
Canada as a whole seems to have an abundance of creative people; singers, songwriters, musicians, quilters, painters, sculptors, potters, poets, jewelry makers and the list goes on. Our collective imagination is limitless. I think our climate plays a huge role. Our long winters are perhaps our most valuable mentor and muse. I believe everyone is creative; some people are just able to suppress it more than others. However, inside everyone is some kind of creative impulse straining to be unleashed. I say, release the hounds!
I know some people feel art is unnecessary, but pause for a moment to think what our world would look like without creative minds. Even if you would rather poke hot needles in your eye than spend an afternoon at an art museum, I challenge you to go through your day imagining your environment without art; a world where everything is completely utilitarian.
No music, no unnecessary patterns, no colour. No pretty logos on planes or City signs or vending machines. No designs on tissue boxes, blankets or shoes.
Next time you’re enjoying a meal in a fancy restaurant imagine the same experience without pictures on the walls, soft music in the background or unnecessary decor of any kind. What if there wasn’t even a jar of macaroni on a ledge? What if food was simply plopped on a plate without so much as a parsley sprig to make it look appealing? Would you still be so quick to whip that credit card out of your wallet? We had a chance to eat at the CN Tower last year and—sophisticated diners that we are—we actually took pictures of our desserts before consuming them. They were truly frame-worthy; almost too pretty to eat. But eat them we did and they were delicious, due in no small part to their artful presentation.
Whether it’s made of sugar or paint, glass or clay, words or wire, art makes our world a better place. It invokes the whole wheel of human emotions from bliss to despair; it makes us think. It tickles forgotten memories and inspires us to reach for the stars. It’s necessary. And in these waning days of winter with the onset of cabin fever, art is cheaper than therapy or a tropical vacation. Now where did I put those scissors...
Shannon McKinnon is a syndicated humour columnist from Northern BC. You can read past columns by visiting www.shannonmckinnon.com