I first came upon the Angel during a holiday visit to my mother’s home. Fresh from morning ablutions, I became aware of a mysterious force, an aura, radiating from a shelf, which, like the entire bathroom, was cluttered with ointments, salves, potions, scents, herbal remedies, soaps, unguents, cleansing agents, combs, brushes, dozens of towels, and multiple other artifacts.
Carefully excavating the area whence emanated this energy, I discovered
[cue The Theme From Raiders of the Lost Ark & pause for effect ... 2, 3, 4]
Close inspection demonstrated the Angel to be constructed from high quality mock-terra cotta and modeled after perhaps a four year old boy, rosy of cheek and reverent of aspect. Nice enough perhaps, but nothing special.
Two qualities, however, render the Angel striking.
First, there arises from the top of the afore-described cherub’s head not the expected halo but a plastic device which dispenses lotion. Based on my research (the 600 years of my childhood spent in church services, much of it devoted to leafing through illustrated Bibles as an intellectually safe haven from sermons that alternated between terrifying and tedious), I am certain that functional pumps are not a typical feature of angels, seraphim, cherubim, archangels, or even preschool males. Yet, far from rendering the Angel grotesque, this feature actually makes him more accessible and touching.
Apparently Aberrant Angel Anatomy
Less obvious but far more intriguing is a second apparent anatomical aberration. Other than the expected wings and the sprouting (from the head) and spouting (viscous white fluid) dispenser, the anatomical elements of the Angel’s body are identifiable analogues of those belonging to a male child – above the waist. Below that level, however, are two orbs which initially appear to be angelic buttocks inexplicably rotated 180 degrees from their expected position and just as inexplicably (this is an angel after all) displayed for all to see.
Recognizing the theological crisis and commercial catastrophe that such an interpretation would ferment, I searched for another explanation and almost immediately realized that this portion of the angel resembled a rather voluptuous bosom belonging perhaps to a teenage, distinctly female angel. Still, I found it difficult to formulate a premise that would explain why a winged male torso was plopped atop a female angel’s breasts.
The Iconic Precedent – Land O’ Lakes Indian Princess Knees To Breasts Transformation
The resolution of this moral and spiritual conundrum, I’m proud to point out, was the direct result of Midwestern culture, specifically, the classic adolescent amusement of folding the Land O’ Lakes butter carton such that the Indian Princess’s knees become her breasts.
Inverting that process, I comprehended, and intellectual honesty compels me to conclude, albeit with some disappointment, that those opposing semi-globes just below the Angel’s waist are indeed juvenile angel legs and knees of ambiguous gender in prayer posture. Crisis averted.
The Angel is, nonetheless, an outstanding example of the rare Compound Pseudo-callipygian Pseudo-mammary Pre-adolescent Male Anterior Distal Femoral Phenomenon, Supernatural Category (CPCPMPMADFPSC for short) and a classic worthy in its own right of its enshrinement in my mother’s bathroom grotto.
Tomorrow: Another masterpiece from my mother’s collection — a religious icon infused with contemporary technology