I understand the need for kitsch. I don't necessarily subscribe to the knick-knack way of life, but I accept the decoupage wooden boxes and porcelain thimbles painted with names of recent vacation destinations of the people that do. Besides, it gives me something to look at when I'm over at your house and you've gone to the bathroom, leaving me a good 5 minutes of prime snooping time.
I am even more lenient when it comes to garden kitsch. You know ֠boot brushes shaped like porcupines, "Chipmunk Crossing" signs, interesting bird baths with water sprouting from various parts of a sea nymph's body ֠these are a-okay with me. I don't have a garden and probably wouldn't decorate it with weird doo-dads if I did, but I grew up with a cement sculpture of three kittens in a basket placed among our well manicured backyard shrubbery, so I understand the lifestyle. It seems perfectly natural to want to scatter sculptures all over your backyard.
Yesterday when I passed by the all-kitsch-all-the-time store on Belmont Boulevard, I stopped to look in the windows. I don't know the store's name and though they might have a sign out front, the mosaic vases, stained-glass wall hangings and metal animal sculptures always demand my attention first, and I forget to look for it every time I walk by. I live in the general area, take a lot of runs/walks, and so I have passed by this store at least twice a week for the past two years. They used to have a giant dog-shaped mailbox made out of scrap metal sitting out front, but they must have finally sold it because yesterday I saw a new scrap metal sculpture. Behold, the scrap metal homeless man:
...I don't get it. I understand the dog mailbox and kitten sculptures ֠dogs and kittens are cute and uplifting, who wouldn't want them frolicking in your backyard? But what type of person would willingly decorate their yard with a metal homage to homelessness and alcoholism? Granted, this is not just any old depiction of the homeless ֠this homeless man has a right arm that doubles as a flower vase.
Here are some reasons for putting a homeless statue in your front- or backyard:
You want to pay tribute to the latent effects John F. Kennedy's Community Mental Health Act and the subsequent deinstitutionalization of mentally ill Americans.
You like the way you feel right after you've given your loose change to someone less fortunate than you, and you'd like a way to have that feeling all the time.
You get a kick out of the way your husband averts his eyes and walks a little faster, like he doesn't notice the sculpture, even though it's sitting right in front of him, every time he goes out to his car.
Although you now live in Brentwood, you want this sculpture to serve as a daily reminder of the summer right after college when you followed Widespread Panic around on tour until you got lost in New York City and spent a night alone in Central Park and the next morning you made your way to a payphone to call your mother who wired you some money and helped you get back home only to nag you for entire summer about how you should stop wasting your time and get a real job, so you took the LSATs and went to law school, and now you listen to Widespread Panic in your Infinity on the way to work every morning.
You think it's "cute."
You already have a teen pregnancy birdbath.