Second Hand Men

I was at an antique store the other day browsing. As I walked in I saw a line of beautiful mahogany curio cabinets, chest of drawers and a roll top desk that would have taken anyone’s breath away. As I continued my stroll, I saw an 18th Century four poster canopy bed, hand carved and meticulously taken care of shining under a chandelier.

“Looking for a bed mister?” the old spunky sales women asked.

“Nope,” I said.“Just looking around.”

“You know that bed has quite a history behind it,” she replied.

“Oh really?” I said, “Fill me in.”

She was delighted that she had peaked my interest. “Rumor has it Roosevelt himself slept on it!”

“No kidding? How do you know that?” I asked.

“His initials are carved into the head board,” was the quick reply. Sure enough, plain as day you could easily pick out the T.R. hidden amongst the scrolled pattern once she pointed it out. “Also take a look at this. You see the slight cracks in the wooden support slats that held the mattress?”

“Yeah, I sure do,” I said.

“Well, that about cinches it don’t you think?”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Hell, sonny everyone knows he was a rough rider!”

I fought hard from breaking out into laughter, but lost the battle. “No, no that’s okay maybe if you just let me look around.”

“The bed goes for $25,000,” she whipped back, “but I’m willin’ to deal.”

“No ma’am that’s okay, just let me…excuse me what’s all that stuff under the MUST GO sign?”

“That’s junk nobody wants, can’t give that stuff away,” she sniffed.

“Mind if I take a look?”

“Go ahead, it’s all 75% off.”

As I stumbled through the broken rockers and silver plated candleholders, I saw something that caught my attention. “Whatcha want for the lamp?”

“It’s broke, don’t work. Fifty bucks and I’ll wrap it up myself.”

“Seems like a lot for a broken lamp.”

“Okay, okay $35, but you wrap it yourself.”

The lamp was pretty, probably a knock off, would need rewiring but what the heck, the leaded glass “Dragon fly” pattern was pretty. “Okay I’ll take it.”

As it was being wrung up, I noticed a curious but rusted old stamp underneath the base of the lamp: “Tiffany Studios.” The lamp was later appraised for $80,000.

I tell this story for a reason. Most assuredly Teddy Roosevelt didn’t sleep in that bed and a broken down lamp in a junk pile can shine again and be worth a fortune. Men are no different. To some degree, we are all second-hand men. We have pasts and futures and stories to tell. None of us comes to the antique store new. The question for the woman is, “Which of our stories are false and which ones are true?”

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®