Before I started, I had a few moments of hesitation. Maybe the lamps where okay the way they were. With new shades, they could be pretty cool in a retro way. I asked my daughter what she thought. “They make me think of a cigarette smoke-filled, grandmother’s house.” That sealed the deal. Out came the sand paper.
Once they were thoroughly scuffed up, there was no going back. I was committed. I was fully confident that these were going to look spectacular, just like they did on Pinterest. House guests would be dazzled. This could be a new side business to writing novels. Book royalties only arrive twice a year, but people need lamps all the time.
I flopped out a length of plastic in the basement, set the lamps down, and began to spray the gray paint that was destined to look urban and edgy. The middle section of the lamp was ceramic (or so I thought) and the paint refused to stick to it, in fact, rejected it. Then the paint slid down the sides of the brass bits, too. Maybe it needed several coats. I waited for the first coat to dry, then I sprayed more, but the brass lamp intensified its rejection.
You know when you bake a cake and something goes wrong and no matter what you do, the cake is a disaster? That was exactly the feeling that took hold. This was a disaster and there was no fixing it. The lamp was ruined.
My daughter dropped over at this moment and said “What’s wrong?” I told her the sad story. But then I had an epiphany: “Let’s smash the ceramic part of it. At least that will feel satisfying.”
I used the blunt end of a rusty axe and brought it down hard on the “ceramic” part of the lamp and heard a loud ping. Another whack with the axe. Another ping. The whole freaking lamp was brass; what had looked like ceramic was only a ceramic glaze over brass. I was going to be denied any satisfaction.
We took them both to the recycling center, where all things metal go to die. Thank you, Pinterest.