This is a reposting, intended with respect for Kinkade's memory even though his persona was ripe for satire.
You've probably seen the magazine ads. There’s a village with all the houses facing a winding canal instead of a street — sort of a miniature Venice, without the pigeons.
It is dusk. Old-fashioned gas streetlamps line the canal and golden lights glow in the windows of the stone houses.
The ad is for plates or framed prints or coffee mugs with these romantic images, available for five installments. The picture was created by Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light.(TM)
I’ve never met anyone with a trademarked name, and I’ve certainly never met anyone with a descriptive title as a surname. It harkens back to an earlier day, doesn’t it? Sir Lancelot, Defender of Damsels or Slayer of Dragons.
Maybe it’s just as well that we all don’t have titles like that. It might reveal more about what others think of us than we’re prepared to know. I might be Lydieth, Bringer of Peace, to my face, but then again, I might be Lydieth, Cause of Nausea, behind my back. Your boss might be Carrier of Ulcers or Ignorer of Deadlines. Your spouse might be Burner of Burgers or Loser of Keys. It’s a little reductive.
Recently I heard in a news story that Kinkade has extended the reach of his painted beam of light to the planned community business. There’s now a Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light, housing development, where you can live in one of those stone cottages along the winding canal with the gas streetlamps. Is it always dusk there?
How old do you suppose a person might be before a title like Painter of Light is conferred? There might be several titles over the course of a lifetime, making it tough to keep up with old friends.
Hey, did you hear about Jane, Carrier of Extra Pounds? Didn’t she used to be Jane, Wearer of Size 2? What happened to her?
You didn’t know? She married John, Fryer of Lard, and they had four kids. She hangs out on weekends with her friend Marge, Wearer of Tarps, and they bake brownies all day. But her sister Renee, Stapler of Stomach — now, she kept her figure and married that lawyer Bruce, Chaser of Ambulances. They bought a house in that Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light, village that went up. Lost their dog in that canal when it rained in the spring, and can’t use the front yard at all — you wouldn’t believe the things that wash up on the doorstep. And when the tide’s low, the smell isn’t so romantic, trust me. But otherwise, they love it there.
What do you suppose were the titles Kinkade nixed? Merchandiser Without Restraint? Robber of Readers of Parade Magazine? Competitor for the Franklin Mint?
I shall remain, Lydieth, Keeper of Cash, and avoid the temptation to begin an installment plan for one of those commemorative plates. But if someone wanted to start calling me Lydieth, Bringer of True Wisdom, I wouldn’t object.