My brother lectured me the other night. His stance is that now that I have the first novel out in the marketplace, that I ought to dial back my rhetoric and exercise discretion in the selection of topics that I write about on PORAC PONDERS. His is probably good advice. Will I follow it? How can I when stories like this pop-up? Middlesbrough-firm-selling-model-railway.
In the sixties, we used to end up in New York City, at Thanksgiving, to celebrate the holiday with my father’s side of the family. His brother, my Uncle Paul, was an inventor. He had a small machine shop in his basement. He also had an elaborate model train layout. If memory serves, there were three separate train tableaus. There was a switching yard, a countryside route that crossed bridges and dove into tunnels and an urban scene with crossing arms and city streets. The buildings, cars, trees and light poles were all to scale. What couldn’t be purchased, in the model store, he built from scratch.
The newest innovation appears to be the introduction of nude and semi-nude figures than can be posed in a variety of activities. There were a couple of articles on the Internet where model train journeys included a view of a nude beach. When I think of train tracks and large bodies of water, Secaucus, New Jersey comes to mind. The only nudes liable to be found there are members of the Mafia, formerly in good standing and now out of favor.
Fifty years later model trains are still with us and with advances in computers and software more elaborate than ever. Rod Stewart of “Faces” fame is an enthusiast. I can see that the planning and building of a model train layout could entail a group activity. An atmosphere thick with sawdust, glue, and fiberglass doesn’t seem to fit in with a typical nudist event. I have not seen any reference to a gathering of nudists to watch model trains. I suppose if Rod Stewart still hangs with the beautiful people and held such an event I would go. Don’t ask me to describe the train layout afterward.
Cue the social commentary. Does the introduction of nude figures into model railroading represent a decline in the culture? Is everything about sex these days? Do they have transsexual figures? What percentage of figures are representative LGBT values? Is it homophobic to have a model train set and not have gay figures? I can see some million dollar grants on the horizon.
Is there another explanation? Yes, the only one that makes sense; because He could. The year is 1975, Gary Dahl retrieves rocks from a beach in Mexico, he puts a rock in a box labeled “Pet Rock” complete with air holes and sells them at $4.00 a pop. Before too long he sold 1.4 million of them. Why; because they were cool. Now, if you made the 1,400,001th purchase, you were the jerk with a $4.00 rock in your pocket.
So now we have a company making naughty figures; this is like an adult game of where’s Waldo?
We all have a Constitutional Right to display bad taste. With that right comes the obligation to take responsibility for that bad taste. Opinions expressed here may be fiercely held. Then again I’ve been known to slide some zingers by purely for my entertainment. To thy own self be true, the rest of you give it your best guess. You can laugh with me or decide you have something better to do, like empty the cat’s litterbox. That is the chance I take, every time I sit down to write something. I’d be a little afraid to find somebody that agreed with me all the time; even I don’t do that!