An Extra Hand
  • Maggie Franklin
  • April 21, 2010

This weekend was our local Antique Farm Equipment Show. Which is sort of a strange event if you aren't from an area dedicated to agriculture. But around these parts, ag is a big deal, so it doesn't seem strange at all that every April the BF and I spend a day wandering around the show, drinking beer, getting sunburned, watching retired old men proudly drive their various out-dated tractors around, enjoying Dutch oven peach cobbler, and watching the hit-and-miss machines hit and miss ... and scouring the concurrent swap meet for treasure.

 

A good part of me is convinced that I'd have really liked to have lived in the late 1800s; I have my own sourdough bread starter and I can bake it in a Dutch oven with coals from the fire. I think I'd have done well living like “Little House on the Prairie.” Except, of course, for the part where'd I'd really miss doing nails.

 

But that's just a little personal prelude to announcing my newest treasure in the salon.

 

Like I said, the Antique Farm Equipment Show boasts a swap meet. Mostly I think it's a bunch of people who clean out their barns and decide that their junk is too precious to just throw away. But you know how fun a good yard sale can be, and you never know what you'll find.

 

Two years ago I made a $6 purchase that has proven to have been quite the investment! I found a fabulous cobalt blue bottle that — with a bit of modification — has been the perfect vehicle for my acetone. This year I found a great red vase for only $2! And a hand.

 

Yup. It's a hand. I don't know what it's original purpose was. Maybe it used to belong to a mannequin. Maybe it was for jewelry display. Maybe it was just a hand for the sake of being a hand. But it seems like someone painted it along the way and somehow it found it's way to a table full of miscellaneous crap in a swap meet at an antique farm show.

 

Of course I had to have it! It's gonna look so awesome sitting on my shelf once I get it painted up all funky and put some crazy awesome nails on it.

 

That's what I was thinking when I asked the guy how much he wanted for it. I was prepared to hand over no more than $5. It couldn't possibly be worth more than that to anyone other than a nail artist.

 

I was wrong. This guy asked for $10. I shook my head and told him I didn't want it "ten dollars bad." Which is when he tried to convince me he was offering me a bargain, as he'd started the day asking $20 for it. To which I pointed out that obviously no one wanted it that bad if he was now down to $10.

 

He wasn't going for my logic so I pointed out that I didn't need an extra hand that badly, as I held out my own hands and pointed out that I already had two perfectly good ones of my own.

 

The BF and I made another round of the event and decided I was sunburned enough and it was time to get home. But I still really wanted that hand. I just could not believe that guy was going to hold out on his price for a disembodied hand. No one wants a disembodied hand. No one who's spending their day at an antique farm equipment show anyway. Except me. But then, I'm often the exception to a lot of rules.

 

I put my $5 bill in my pocket — I don't want to get him down to my price and then show off that I could have paid $10 after all — straightened my shoulders and marched back to the booth with the hand. I asked if he still wanted $10 for the hand. So he asked me what I wanted to give him for the hand. I held up my hand, all five digits outstretched. He sighed. Deeply. Like this was a hard decision for him. Like I was trying to swindle him out of his grandfather's land or something. He scrunched up his face and said, "Eight."

 

I sighed. Deeply. Like it was a hard decision. Like he was trying to swindle me out my grandfather's land. I scrunched up my face. I looked at the BF and said, "What do you think?"

 

The BF looked at the man with the hand, he looked at me, he scrunched up his face like he just couldn't understand why he was watching two grown people haggle over the price of a disembodied plaster hand. He said, "I think you should take it." With that incredulous tone in his voice like he wanted to say, "I know you want that stupid hand. You know you want that stupid hand. The guy knows you want that stupid hand. And we all know you can't just go to the store and buy a disembodied plaster hand for eight bucks. So shut up and pay the man for your hand."

 

And, of course, the BF was right. But I still made him give me the extra $3. The hand is gonna look so cool once I get it all painted up funky and put some awesome nails on it.

 

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