1,154 – The Pickle Carver
- Am I written or rote?
- The Pickled Piccolo
- Dairy-Based Section (DBS)
- Dewey Decimal System
- 99 Cent Stores
Notable Talking Points:
- Wandering in the Wilderness of my Mind
- Drawing vs Coloring
- The Butter Sculpture Community
Episode 1154 – The Pickle Carver
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, space…these are the voyages of a meandering enterprising…a man that found sleep…I didn’t find sleep enterprising and I didn’t realize I was embarking on a sleep enterprise. I mean, it was always…it was like…there’s another enterprise that it used to be when you couldn’t do everything through the app and you could do a setting like, please leave me alone, no upgrades, no upgrades, no upgrades. That’s my…what my bedtime used to be like, like renting a car in the aughts or even the tens. I don't know, I have done it lately, so I don't know what it’s like. But the last few times, I just did it on the app. So, I said…and then I just set it over…oh no, it’s all in the app. Oh, no thank…nope, it’s all in the app.
I guess it’s a opportunity for assertiveness. None of that has…I don't even know why I’m on that topic. This is…the starship Enterprise is something we’ll refer to way later in the show. But it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that’s here to keep you company while you fall asleep, to take your mind off of stuff, to be your friend in the deep, dark night because you deserve a good night’s sleep. This show is very different, it does take a few tries to get used to, but I’m so glad you’re here.
We’re gonna do some support for the show, then there will be a long, meandering intro to ease you into bedtime, and then we’ll start talking about a episode of Star Trek, TNG. It’ll be more like a bedtime story, though, if you don’t watch the show or you’re not familiar with it. I think that’s it. What else? I can’t remember. I think…I can’t remember even how I start my own podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. I think that’s…I just think I go to the next thing, right? I’m all by myself, so I don't know. I’m waiting for somebody. But yeah, it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. Thanks for making it possible, my patron peeps.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. It could be thoughts on your mind, thoughts you’re thinking about, so thinking thoughts…you say, okay, thoughts that I’m thinking about. It feels…are my…am I thinking or am I thought? I think a philosopher once said that, right? I mean, my characters are always right. Am I write…am I written or am I being wrote? Or…and I’d say, you’re about to have me be wrothed.
They say, am I written or wrote? I say, well, definitely not…I’d say…I don't know which one means being in the…I said, you’re in the…you’re a process-based…you’re a part of my imagination. Why are you putting me in a…is this what they call a philosopher’s conundrum? ‘Cause keep that outta bedtime, too. Here’s a thing at bedtime…I probably said it before; no conundrums. Another instrument — we’ve probably talked about it — no drums. I can’t think of many reasons you’d have a drum in your bed at bedtime or a conundrum, though I know there’s a character somewhere named Conundrum. I can’t…probably…is that in a Dragonlance novel? I don't know, but here’s the thing; keep all drums…percussion…anything related to percussion…I can’t…part of my brain’s like, what, you gonna ban triangles from bed?
I’d say, probably. I mean, here’s the thing; you could have…I don't know why you would need a triangle in bed. I’m sure that’s been said before. Not many times in history has someone said is…I don't know why you need a triangle in bed. You say, well, you’ve been lying on it for twenty minutes, so it’s warmed up. We might as well keep it in here now. If there’s non-sleeping activities, you could say, well, I like to ring a triangle, you know? I’d say, okay, but that’s not…this podcast is related to sleep, not that other stuff. I’m only…I don't know anything about that stuff. Obviously I’m…that’s great. If you feel like you’re…at what point do you ring the triangle? Probably better we don’t have this interview right now because it’s going on within my mind. But I said…yeah.
But here’s the thing; let’s keep conundrums and percussion…let’s just move on. Thoughts, whatever you’re thinking about, because I got stuck in those ones. I said, a triangle, really? I was thinking more of a piccolo, but that’s just because I thought that’d be funny. I realize that’s not a percussion-based instrument. Here’s something I think we could agree on; keep those sand blocks outta there, because that can’t be good for anybody. Oh, I guess if you wanted…please…no, no, no doing your nails in bed, either. That should be in the same place as percussion instruments with a sand block. Yeah, no, no Tibetan bowls, no egg shakers. Please, can we move…? So, thoughts that you’re thinking about…this is the…then I’m in a conundrum. Now it’s an instrument-based bedtime conundrum. I’m sure there’s exceptions to the rule.
I agree with you, but I don't have time to go through every exception right now because I’m trying to make a sleep podcast even though this is conducive to a sleep podcast, so I’m…I spent a little bit of time with you. I don't…I think we could generally agree that conundrums, drums, most per…almost everything related to percussion unless you found some reasonable exception…again, this…that…don’t put them in bed. Or, don’t store your percussion instruments in bed. I think we can all agree on that. What did I say someone said? Why do you have a triangle in this bed? Do you have a triangle in here? Those are all things that…it just shouldn’t come up. If it does, you should say, by the way, you may be surprised, but…but that would be, again, for other…I mean, if you get…okay, I can make an exception if you have a…what are those beds called?
A four-poster or a canopy bed. I still don’t think it’s the best idea, but I could see a triangle up there. So, you got me. Now can we move on? Thank you. So, thoughts, it could be feelings, anything coming up for you emotionally like feelings about all the…that stuff, feelings about your thoughts. I mean, I’m feeling pretty amused by my thoughts, but I say…if it was…’cause now it’s not bedtime. But if I suddenly said, hey, why don’t we come up with a list of exceptions to your percussion-based bedtime rules, I’d say, why don’t you just ask that chatbot? Could you just do that and not…? How about that? You know what would be great for bedtime? If you say, okay…there’s areas people say, please keep AI out of it. But I would say, this would be counterintuitive and…but you say, don’t keep AI out of the bedroom.
You’d say, Scoots, holy cow, you’re making…and I say, no, no, no, what we do is a hand-off. You say, hey, let me turn my thoughts over to this AI chatbot while I try to go…and then the AI chatbot could engage. That’s kinda what I do. I mean, what I was imagining. You say, okay, could you just go over these lists with this piece of AI about, whatever, piccolos? Why don’t you ask the chatbot if anyone’s ever pickled a piccolo or a…whatever it is, ‘cause I’m trying to go to sleep. So, it could be thoughts, could be feelings, emotions from the past, the present, the future that are just there, could be physical sensations, changes in time or temperature, routine. Whatever’s going on, whatever’s keeping you awake, I’m here to try to help with that. The things you need to know is one, you deserve a good night’s sleep.
If you…I mean, you probably…if you were gonna stop listening, you may have already stopped listening before. You say, my goodness, I’ve never heard…I’ve never…I never thought I’d hear a triangle associated with such things. I’d say, that was all…that’s all your own inference. Whoa, boy. I was just talking about…okay, you got me. But anyway, sorry. But so, but you still deserve a good night’s sleep even if you’re like, holy…oh my gosh, picosh, or oshkosh b’gosh. Maybe some of you are like, by the way, I didn’t listen to anything you said until you…you wouldn’t believe this, Scoots, but I’m a pickle-carver similar to…whoa, whoa, similar to whittling? Yeah, I’m a pickle-carver. Is this made up in my…? There’s a part…okay, hold on.
I don't mean to get so meta here, but there’s a personality in my imagination whose hobby it is to carve pickles that I’m just meeting for the first time. You carve pickles? Yes. You’ve been…you weren’t listening to anything I was saying until you said pickling a piccolo. Okay, and I can give you about eight more seconds. But can you tell me more? I haven’t pickled a piccolo, but I’ve carved a piccolo out of a pickle. Wow, that’s really cool. I mean, I’m not even kidding. If you actually could do that, I mean, I guess you’d…what do you wear, gloves while you…or you play it and then you could eat it. I guess that could be a thing; edible pickle instruments. I think I had a pickle piccolo before. Didn’t they used to give those away in children’s meals or breakfast cereal? This was carved from a actual piccolo. What would you call…?
Would you call that a cukewind instead of a woodwind? You maybe need to brainstorm that. You’re right, a dillwind. How about that? Is it a dillwind? Okay, so I’ll…that’s how…so, you deserve a good night’s sleep, if you’re still listening, or if you’re the pickle-carver within me. That’s another auto…another chapter in my autobiography; Chapter 182B, The Pickle-Carver Within Me, or The Tale of the Pickle Carver. I guess I have to do a episode about that. So, surprise, if you were listening, that this won’t be about Star Trek: The Next Generation, ‘cause it doesn’t get…I don't know. So, okay, so…oh, thoughts, feeling…oh, no, you deserve a good night’s sleep whether you listen to this podcast or not. If you definitely check out soon, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou has other sleepy podcasts on there.
But let’s be honest, where are you gonna hear this kind of barely…this material that would be…is riveting for seconds and then you realize…you say, this is nonsensical riveting, riveting in a nonsensical way, but not riveting. But you say, I won't remember this tomorrow. This is really what a lot of listeners say. They say to themselves, I wish I would remember this tomorrow, but I won't. Put it on a pillow. You know you’re a hardcore Sleep With Me listener when you say, I’d like to remember the…that someone play…pickled a pick…whatever he said, but I don't think I will. But so, you deserve a good night’s sleep because you deserve a bedtime that you don’t have to dread, that you can feel neutral about or look forward to, and to get the rest you need and you deserve so your life is more manageable.
Then eventually if you get the rest you need, whether it’s from this podcast or something at sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou or something else you find out there, when you’re getting the rest you need, your life…you could be in a position where you could be flourishing. Whether your life’s more manageable or you’re flourishing, that means your world’s a better place to be in, and that’s important. It’s also important because all this stuff that I’m talking about that doesn’t barely make any sense, that’s the kinda stuff that goes through my brain all day long. But particularly at bedtime, instead of being about pickles and pickle-carvers with big smiles on their faces that seem pretty friendly, it takes on a different tone and it’s a tone like the deep, dark night.
I’m not gonna point out any more, but you could probably relate to how it feels when it’s not…it’s more of like…it’s not like a pickle-poker, like someone poking me with a pickle to make a point. Not Peter Piper, but maybe…I don't know. But I say, please don’t poke me with a pickle, Paul and Peter and Penelope and Phoebe, even though that doesn’t have as good alliteration. Please don’t poke me with any pickles, please…properly. You pick…don’t point your pickle at me. Things you never hear anywhere else. But at bedtime it gets more intense, and I know how it feels in the deep, dark night. While I might not know exactly what you’re going through, I could probably relate to it or someone else can. So, that’s why I make the show. What I’ll do is I’ll send my voice across the deep, dark night.
I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, and superfluous tangents, which you’ve kind of already witnessed. I just…the show goes off the rails and then I forget what I was even talking about, then I repeat myself, then I try to figure out what…how’d I get so lost? Then I say, oh, I’m not really lost; I’m just wandering in the wilderness of my mind. So, why don’t you come along with me? We’ll see what else we see. So, those are superfluous tangents and pointless meanders. Creaky, dulcet tones is just…my voice isn’t traditionally soothing, but it’s here to keep you company.
Then…what else do I…oh, a couple other things you need to know that…this podcast just isn’t for everybody, but for the people that listen on a regular basis, it takes two or three tries to get used to because one, if you’ve tried finding other stuff to put you to sleep, you’ve probably been through a lot of stuff that hasn’t worked or has not been effective or worked for a few times and never worked again. So, just give the show a few tries. See how it goes. That’s what…I’m not kidding when I say probably a million people have told me that; I didn’t like you at first or I didn’t get it, and then I listened two or three times and now I’m paying for the podcast ‘cause I love it so much. Where does that happen in real life? You say, well, I didn’t really like you very much. It happens in rom-coms. Like, oh, every Hugh Grant movie.
Okay, other than characters played by Hugh Grant, it doesn’t happen a lot where they say, I don't…I have strong feelings not good about you, but now I listen on a regular basis. A couple reasons that it turns out to be true is that one, this is a podcast you don’t really listen to. You just kinda barely listen like something out of focus or clouds…you’re kinda like, well, I’m not sure what that looks like, but it kinda looks like this. This is a podcast that’s kinda meant to be a little bit more than background noise. You kind of engage with it, but you’re not paying attention. It kinda makes sense, but it doesn’t totally make sense. But if you need company or you can’t fall asleep or you need a break during the day, you know that I’m here the whole time keeping you company. So, you could listen, but you don’t need to listen.
So, it’s a podcast you just kinda barely listen to. It’s also a podcast…I’ve been making…as far as I know is the first sleep podcast, and I started the show in 2013. But this is a sleep podcast that doesn’t put you to sleep. I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep, to take your mind off of stuff and to be your friend in the deep, dark night, to be your companion, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-bud, your bore-bore, your neigh-bore, your bore-friend, your bore-bud, your bore-bestie. I’m your friend you call and you say, just talk to me, but I’m not gonna listen to you. Just use a generally soothing voice. So, that’s…yeah, it’s…those are two things that take some getting used to, right? You say, wait, this podcast already started but it’s been going for twenty minutes but hasn’t gone anywhere.
When do you do the count…when do the Tibetan bells start? I’d say, were you here for the rule? If any…if there’s gonna be any music, it would be the silent sound of a piccolo…a pickled piccolo player playing a pickle…a pickled pickle. Also, that’s primarily a pickle but also plausibly a piccolo, presently. Somebody out there said, preposterous, and they just bailed off the show, I bet. But so, yeah, it’s a podcast you don’t really listen to, doesn’t really put you to sleep. Also, structurally, that’s another thing that can cause some people a little aggravation. So, let me just explain to you the structure of the show. Show starts off with a greeting; Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, then I try to set up a episode of TNG, but really, we’re gonna talk about pickle…I don't know what we’ll talk about.
But that is so you feel seen and welcome. You say, I could check the show out. I’m not sure about it, but I’ll check it out. Then there’s support for the show so the podcast can be free twice a week. Then there’s support for listeners and communities around the show, and then there’s the intro. Now, the intro is not really meant to put you to sleep. It could put you to sleep, but what the intro is really meant to do is ease you into bedtime. So, some people are in bed falling asleep, some people are getting comfortable, but a lot of listeners…it’s part of their bedtime routine. So, maybe they’re getting prepped for bed. Maybe they’re doing some other chill activity or winding down in some way. That’s just been what’s shown to work, is to ease you into bedtime. So, that’s what the intro does.
Then again after the intro is support for the show. Again, I…that’s what lets us put the show out for free twice a week. Then there will be our story. It was scheduled to be a TNG story, but don't worry. We’ll come up with a story about, whatever, a pickle-carver. It’s cool. I mean, talk about a cool…I mean, for me it’s cool ‘cause I don't have those…it’s interesting that some sort of sub-personality inside me has a hobby that I would never have. I’d say, there’s no way…I don't have that attention to detail to carve pickles as a hobby. It seems pretty…I mean, I’d…so, we’ll find out more about the pickle-carver. I have no idea where that’ll go. So, that’s the story, then at the end is some thank-yous and goodnights. Now, you could change around how you listen, but if you listen that way at first and you say, well, I don't like the sponsors and stuff, then you could support the show and get ad-free shows.
Or you say, well, I don't mind that, but I like to set a sleep timer. Oh, you know what? I found the story-only episodes work for me. Or you know what? I just like listening to the show, or I listen all night long, or maybe I start the show at twenty minutes in. You’ll find your way. I’m so glad you’re here, really, because we’re together in this. It might not feel that way and it might only be in a strange digital way we’re doing it, but the most important part of the show is you knowing…we know it sucks in the deep, dark night and it can feel lonely, and there is someone else listening right now. So, even though…you know what I mean. That’s what’s important, because we’ve all been there and it’s not easy. So, I’m so glad you’re here. I really hope the podcast can help you out. I really appreciate you coming by. I yearn and I strive, I really hope I can help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple ways we’re able to do it for you for free twice a week.
Oh boy, everybody, this is a tale, one of these tales that’s never been told. It’s called The Pickle-Carver. It’s a tale…actually has never been told ‘til tonight, so you’re in for a treat. You may say…you may raise your hand and say, I don't know, can you consider a pickle a treat? I would say, okay, one, I agree with your skepticism, so let me just say that right upfront. I’m not trying to diffuse your skepticism or objection to a pickle being a treat, but I would say let’s just run through a couple things. Well, one, I guess a question for you to answer would be, do treats have to be sweet? I guess that would help create your answer, but I would say one other quick observation is that at least in Disneyland and Disney World, probably, and probably Universal and other theme parks, you can buy a pickle by itself.
You can get a pick…an individual pickle or you can be served a pickle as part of your meal. But there’s stands, at least in Disneyland, where you could buy a pickle. I would say, huh, well…and what’s…what else is for sale there? Other treats. Then you could say, well, they also sell fruit salad or whatever. I’d say, okay, well, is that a treat? So, then I’d say, okay, at least we’re in the wheelhouse of…if you say it’s not a treat, then you’d say, probably you couldn’t say fruit salad’s a treat, either. So anyway, just a thingamajig that…I don't…oh, so this is a tale never told; The Pickle-Carver. It has nothing to do with that stuff. But let’s see, so once upon a time there was a person and their name was Gilla or Gilla. We’ll say Gilla…Gilla…no, I think it’s a Gilla; G-I-L-L-A. Gilla lived in the big city and every day Gilla would go outside to play.
This was within a few block area of the apartment building where Gilla lived. She could go play as she wished. She would usually go play with other children in the neighborhood, or if not, just walk around. They had a balcony on their apartment which was about halfway up a apartment building. Usually her grandmother would sit out there and not keep an eye on her…but it was a different time, right, where…I don't know. It was a time where someone would discover pickle-carving, maybe. So, then what happened was…or, other things Gilla did; let’s get to that. So, this was actually…I don't know if it was the eighties, the nineties, or the seventies, or the aughts, or the tens, but they had…they even had…each…not every neighborhood, but there was city pools in this big city.
I guess this was…there was a pretty decent budget for these pools because they were used by residents of the city. So, the pool had changing rooms, a snack bar, tables, lifeguards, swimming lessons, everything you’d want in a city pool. Not this particular pool, but even musical interludes. One thing Gilla always wondered was why, when there was a summer storm, did we always have to get out of the pool? Gilla asked one time and grandmother said, so you don’t…because it’s raining. Don’t want you to catch a cold while you’re in the pool. Gilla said, I don't…we don’t always have to get out of the pool when it’s raining. I thought it was related to the thunder or the lightning. The grandmother said, here, drink some water ‘cause you do want to stay wet on the inside. Gilla said, okay, okay.
But then the time came where Gilla got a little bit older and Gilla’s still playing in neighborhoods and stuff like that. But there came this time where there was these summer storms and the pool was closed every day, and it was really raining and windy and thunder and lightning kinda stuff for multiple days, right? Then the power went out and…nothing…these were all things everybody was prepared for, at least at Gilla’s building, but most of the neighborhood was prepared for this ‘cause this was a common occurrence. But the thing was that because it was raining, Gilla spent a lot of time at home, and Gilla was a only child. So, it was a bit boring, especially after the sun set. But even during the day, it was storming, so it was pretty dark in the apartment.
The apartment wasn’t that big, no power, and usually…sometimes during the weekdays, ‘cause Gilla was off from school, just grandmother was there. So, it was a bit dull. Gilla would read and actually the adults in her life…was like, okay, well, let’s schedule out your day if you’re gonna be so bored during this stormy season. Don’t forget to drink ice water. But yeah, you could do reading, you could do some indoor exercise or rompus…play with other kids in the building. There was a couple scheduled activities but because it was indoors, they said now go…please, let’s go back to your own apartments now. But usually all that would peter out, so there’d be a lull.
What Gilla’s family was trying to do is make sure there was a cure for that lull, that the lull didn’t hit right when they got home from work, because they were tired from…they just didn’t want…they said, okay, let’s be proactive about this so there’s not a inflated level of tension when we get home from work or expectations that we could be present for you but not…also be present for the fact that we just got home from work and we’re trying to decompress, too. So, they said, okay. So, they had ideas, but they said, why don’t you come up with a hobby? Gilla said, well, tell me…and they said, well, draw…coloring books is a past…that could be a hobby, but drawing; that could be a…and Gilla said, really? There’s a difference between coloring books and drawing?
They said, Gilla, you’re getting…they said, some sort of other activity that may be slightly like school but different than school ‘cause you enjoy it, but you’re also…you’re a little bit…it’s a little bit challenging. Gilla said, so, I’m looking for something that’s outside of my comfort zone that’s a hobby that takes some skill but is pleasurable and probably process-based like you always teach me, parents? They said, great idea, so why don’t you…we could go to the library, you could look up…we could go through the different…the parents said, we don’t know the Dewey Decimal System off the top of our head, though we should because we were both previously employed by libraries. So, it’s slightly humbling that we don’t know this off the top of our head, ‘cause we don’t know if it was the 900s or the 200s or the 700s.
But we could go walk through the art section, look through some art books. Doesn’t have to be art; there’s a hobby section. So, Gilla said, shouldn’t we just start at the hobby section? They said, as you wish, Gilla. Then they said, grandmother will take you tomorrow. On the way there, to the library, they looked…they…another one of grandmother’s hobbies, I guess you could call…I don't know if you could call it a hobby. Gilla went through this, was they did have 90…I don't know what they called 99-cent stores at this particular period in time and they may not have been known as that, but maybe those were five and…I don't think it was…it was post-five-and-dime. I’m not sure if…no, it was still 99-cent…I’ve been in a 99-cent store in the nineties, at least. So, it could have been the nineties.
I don't know, I can’t say for sure I’ve been in a 99-cent store in the eighties, but…just in case you’re trying to say…you’re raising strong objections. I don't know why you would, right? But so, where were we? I’m lost. Oh, so Gilla and…oh, so the grandmother liked to go through the 99-cent store and not do window shopping but kind of viewing, and then say, okay, let’s pick something out that you want, Gilla, and then we’ll do something to earn it on the way to the library or the way back, and then you can spend it. This was one of the positive growth opportunities that grandmother offered. Another one of her things was she would pay Gilla $1.07 ‘cause that’s how much stuff at the 99-cent store cost with sales tax. At this particular time in this particular city in this particular story, that’s the cost.
So, whatever that is. I don't know, it’s around…over 7%, but…or maybe 8…I don't know what it was. Those are all the taxes that would be applied to your purchase at a 99-cent store, just in case you were wondering where I got that number from. In this particular trip, Gilla tried on a bunch of sunglasses and said, I really have my heart set on sunglasses, and did a lot of that. But also, they went through all the other aisles, but Gilla was like, I’m gonna go…can I go back to…? Grandma said, no, let’s walk through the store, then you can look at the sunglasses again, then we’ll go to the library and we’ll look through some books. Now, for some reason…so, then Gilla…they walked through the store again, but Gilla…and then they looked at the sunglasses again, then they walked…the store. Oh, did I say the growth opportunity?
I think I forgot that part. So, the grandmother would pay her $1.07 — oh yeah, I got distracted by the sales tax — for doing a kind act, finding someone who you could do something kind to. You’d get paid a buck o’seven. Well, actually in credit, because she didn’t actually transfer the…she wouldn’t give the money to Gilla. But at this point it was good for a pair of sunglasses, so Gilla was on the lookout for anything, but she didn’t actually see…they didn’t really encounter anybody that had a real…could have used some sort of assistance or kindness or whatever. Gilla even tried to slow down at the doors of the library to wait to see if she could open the door or close the door for anybody, but no.
So, then she went into the library and they…for some reason, grandmother started off with Tudor — I don't know if that’s correct — architecture, and they spent a lot of time looking at those books. Then they went to…I don't know if it was electricity, but the next book Gilla looked through had to do with television antennas. I don't know if it was a repair…’cause…oh, they picked up different books. So, then those were the first two books she went through. Gilla said, okay, well, two things I’m not interested in. Then there was a third book about recreational vehicles, RVs. Not mobile…well, mobile…I don't know; a mobile home is different than a RV, right? Not a picture-book, but a book with a lot of pictures. Gilla said, oh boy, I like this. Look at these people or look at these locations. This is amazing.
I think I would like this to be my hobby, grandmother, and I would like to check this book out. It’s not a reference book but I’m gonna reference it for my hobby. Grandmother said, okay, well, you could talk…that’s not the kind of hobby we…the kind of hobby I was thinking and maybe your parents were thinking is something you could get for $1.07 or a accumulation of those. She said, remember we walked through the balloons, the ribbons, the art supplies, the glues, the wooden pieces, the little glass things, cleaning supplies? Maybe start your own business and then you can get an RV. But she said, I don't know if a RV’s a hobby. Then Gilla, holy…she went to the index of the book and she looked up ‘hobby’ and was hobbyists…recreational vehicle hobbyists. They had a whole chapter.
So, she said, okay, well, I see here…so, whatever, Gilla…they checked that…that was one of the books they decided to check out. The next section they went to was I think…I don't know what exactly the section of the library was. This is all nonfiction, by the way. I mean, talk about a great rainy day activity, but it was about…it was a book about hair curlers. Gilla said, yeah, that’s probably not for me. I don't know if it was a…I would love to have my hands on that book now as a sleep pod…History of Hair Curlers. So, that one didn’t work. Then there was one about costuming and it was…this one also sounded very interesting. It was a history of costume…costuming within off-Broadway…like, something like that. So, kind of like a memoir/history type book.
Gilla did enjoy looking at the different things of plaid…just different…it was interesting and something about the…something about it appealed to her, but not the costuming or the off-Broadway play. Then they looked through a book about radios, but it wasn’t…it was about transistor radios. Again, that was kinda similar to the other, whatever, TV antennas. Gilla said, I like listening to the radio and music, but not for me. But then they got to something that really did get Gilla’s attention, which was sand sculptures. This, again, was a pictorial of sand sculptures and sand sculpture design. Gilla was…mind was blown by this. She was showing grandmother. Grandmother was kinda sleeping most of the time. This was…’cause she knew this library’s a good place to…especially with someone that’s fairly responsible like Gilla.
She said, Gilla, I love this book. Look at this, look at this; they built this thing. It’s a crab but it’s made of sand. It’s not…these aren’t just sand castles; they’re sand sculptures. I’d like to do this as a hobby. Gilla said, okay, well, this could be more of a past…this could be something we do ‘cause we could go out to Brighton…we could go to different places, but we…that would be an outing. It’s not something you could do at…especially in the…you can’t…she said, you know, we…there could be a future one, but during the stormy season we’re not gonna be doing a lot of sand-sculpting. But I think there’s…I think you’re onto something. She said, look at that over there; there’s somebody being trained at the reference desk. Gilla watched that, too. So observational.
I mean, I guess if you’re gonna spend eight or nine hours in the library…I don't know if they were there that long, ‘cause they did…or maybe they left and went back. They did go to a diner and have lunch, so I guess they left and came back? Not an important part of this story. But so, where was…? Oh, so she said, maybe you’re onto something. Oh, and then she said, watch, there’s someone being trained. So, then they were…Gilla was watching the training going on and observing…and also imagining if the training was a sand sculpture. Really, it was…talk about an imagination. But she was watching the face of the trainee who still seemed unsure, and the person training…and then seemed nervous.
Gilla said to her grandmother, that person seems nervous and they’re trying to get their confidence and implement the training they’re being trained. Grandmother said, well, what are they being trained on? Gilla said, helping people find books, assisting patrons. Grandmother said, huh, they could use a confidence boost, huh? Gilla said, yes, and I could use my question answered, but I don't have to have it answered, but now I’m thinking this could be…and grandmother said, go ahead. So, Gilla went up to the person and said, hey, hi. I’m…I need some help. They said, okay, what can I help you with? Gilla said, I found this book — which I’m gonna check out — about sand sculptures. But, you know, with the storms and stuff, I can’t go sculpting sand.
I’m looking for something similar to sculpting sand but not the same that I could do at home during the stormy season. The two librarians looked at one another and the trainer said, you know, go ahead. She said, okay, well, we’re gonna use a little brainstorming technique. This is the trainee to Gilla…and said, okay, well, so you need a…something like sand-sculpting but that you could do at home. Where do you live? Gilla said, 44…and she said, no, no, like what kind of dwelling? She said, a smaller apartment. She said, okay, me too, so I understand that. So, no…she goes, nothing with big equipment or specialized…so, probably not pottery, probably not…she goes, do you have any Play-Doh or sculpting clay?
Gilla said, I’m not…I don't know about that. She said, okay, okay, not sculpting with clay or doughs; something you could do at home. She said, you know what I just thought of is…she goes, what about whittling? Gilla said, what’s whittling? She said, well, let me show you a few books on whittling. Gilla said, okay, thank you. Then they went and got a book on whittling, right? Gilla brought that book back and she started going through these pictures of stuff that had been whittled from wood. She said, holy cow, look at this stuff, grandmother. Look at this; this is amazing. She goes, this is like sand-sculpting but with pieces of wood. Gilla’s grandmother said, okay, this could be your hobby, you’re saying? Gilla said, yes, I want this to be my hobby.
Grandmother said, well, that’s a pretty sharp knife that I’m seeing in all of those, and no off…you’d have to take a knife safety course. She goes, there’s…that’s a lot of wood. We could find the wood while we go through…on our walks and stuff. But she goes, just in case we can’t find a safety course, is there anything like whittling but without a sharp knife? Like, that sharp that you’d need…she goes…and Gilla sighed and really felt down. She said, holy cow. But then the librarian trainee, which probably is like, Librarian Assistant 1, LA1, maybe LA2 hopefully for their sake ‘cause then you are on a higher pay scale. I can only speak from experience. But so, they saw and they said, hey, did you…what did you think of that book on whittling? Should we look at some other options? You want to go back?
You want to check that out, too, with your sand-sculpting book and the RV book? Gilla said, yeah, I do. Then they went walking. Now, the other librarian was watching, too. So was…grandmother was aware of it but not watching. The librarian, she said, I was thinking when you were so excited about that whittling…I don't know why it reminded me of this, but she goes, you know, I grew up in Central New York, home of the Great New York State Fair, and that was…and Gilla said, tell me more. She said, well, I don't want to get you too excited about it because…she goes, it’s amazing though. There’s all sorts of things and there’s a whole dairy-based section and a milk bar where you could get chocolate milk.
I think nowadays you could get strawberry and plain milk, and it’s just twenty-five cents or fifty cents or something like that, and…but she goes, they have a butter sculpture. Gilla goes, really? I don't know if this was before or after the movie…by the way, Nicholl’s award-winning screenplay before it was a film…the screenplay I read quite a few times became a film; Butter, about butter-sculpting. But I don't know if…this was probably before it was a film and award-winning screenplay, but it was…she did say…so, the…and she said, butter…and she goes, we don’t have any books about butter-sculpting, though. Then Gilla said, well, tell me all about it. Then they looked for books about the New York State Fair.
They did find one in the reference section that did have pictures of butter-sculpting, and they…the trainee used their credit to make a couple photocopies of butter sculptures, ‘cause I guess then they did more reference work on…oh no, they went into the microfiche or whatever. That’s what it was. So, anyway, then…and, okay, so this is where it gets really important, right? Then Gilla had a general idea of what a butter sculpture looked like and then checked out all those books. So, she got a book on…she got free photocopies or microfiche copies or both of some butter-sculpting and butter sculptures, but not a lot of details; a book about whittling, a book about sand sculptures, and then a book about…what was the other book? Oh, RVs, recreational vehicles.
Then they started walking back and the grandmother said, you know, I noticed that you did two kind acts today, maybe even more because you were trying to be a good listener, but you…she goes, so even though one is probably only 0.5 kind acts ‘cause you benefited from it, she goes, I think it was…the door was unlocked by your first kind act of being…trying to be…ask a question outside of your comfort zone and get help. So, she goes, why don’t you get two…why don’t you spend two dollars plus the tax in a local…she goes, yeah, you could get two sets of sunglasses. Gilla said, yeah, I’d like to walk through the store again, though. Grandmother said, okay, okay. They walked through the store and then Gilla said, I want to walk through it again.
Gilla spent a lot of time in the picnic supply section and the cooking section, and finally she said…she picked out a kinda thing that you’d use to serve cake or…cake, I think, some sort of cake-cutter or server, and then a box of plastic knives for a picnic; I think fifty for 99 cents. She goes, this is what I want. The grandmother said, okay, okay. They went home and then Gilla said…whatever, the day went on. Gilla looked through the books, all of them, paging through them, looking at…’cause she said, well, it looks like they’re using something for this butter sculpture. She said, they do have sharp knives. But she said…whatever. So, then the next day, Gilla became obsessed with trying to cut stuff. First it was butter, but then that quickly…they said, okay Gilla, this is…butter’s not cost-effective for you practicing carving on.
Can we find something else? Then Gilla tried making Play-Doh and modeling clay, two of the things that were…Play-Doh that she could make. But she said, this is not the same…it’s not a mix of…the things I like is the sand-sculpting. So, then Gilla tried to collect dirt in the neighborhood; that…obviously that didn’t work. This was over the time when the dark and stormy season was there. She said, okay, no, that doesn’t work. Then she eventually stumbled into fruits and vegetables, initially fruits ‘cause that was…and she said, a apple’s almost there, and then I can eat it afterwards if I wash my hands and my tools. But she said, it’s not quite the same. It’s not quite there.
Then she tried other things, but again, she was trying to be conscientious of…also of what she could do, ‘cause normally the maximum she could earn is like, a dollar a day from her grandmother, and that was the only person…and then she discovered zucchini. One day, instead of going to the 99-cent store, she said, I want to go to the bodega that has fruit out front. She was go…kind of constantly just buying one thing or testing it out, ‘cause she just took responsibility for her own actions. She said, I’ll pay for my own sculpting materials. That’s when she kinda discovered zucchini, which was close and it really let her…oh, ‘cause it was on sale, but it couldn’t be too on sale, obviously, ‘cause if it gets too soft…and that led her to cucumbers.
Now, the problem with the cucumber was the inconsistency between the cucumber skin and then the interior. But those were two things she spent a lot of time working with, but not a lot of sculpting. Like, some shaping; she could make shapes and stuff like that. It wasn’t until someone came to visit, like one of her uncles, and he said, come on, me and my mom and you are gonna go out, and I want to join you on your journeys and stuff. He said, you know what you don’t want to have on a rainy day? What’s one of the worst things you could have on a rainy day? Gilla said, ice cream, but I’ll take it. He said, okay, touche. Maybe you could get…he goes, pickles from a barrel. Just three family members eating pickles in the rain, but we’ll eat them under the awning so we don’t get actual rain on our pickles.
So, they were there eating their pickles in the rain under an awning, and as soon as the first crunch hit Gilla’s mouth, she said, what…she goes…and then right then, a cab was driving through a puddle and she used her body to block all the pickles, all three pickles, from…so that all the water from the cab hitting the puddle hit her back. She said, was that good for $1.07…? Grandmother goes, there’s actually no tax on pickles. I know what you’re thinking, and you could get two pickles for a dollar right now. So, she went and bought two more pickles…finished her current pickle, and this is how she discovered the first part. The pickle was to become her, whatever you call it, canvas. She would go back to the library and she learned to use a microfiche machine.
She started learning all she could about sand-sculpting and butter-carving and…butter-sculpting, they call it, even though I guess…and actually, she did learn that there was a delineation between the two, in her opinion, ‘cause she said, I guess you’re sculpting marble. But she goes, it’s not based on…this is using a tool to carve things away. You are creating a sculpture, so it’s a process of creating a sculpture from butter. She would always say, in my humble opinion, but the fact remains that it’s not…whatever. She was like, I’m carving. Now, eventually school came and her school happened to have shop class, and she had learned also this lesson over the dark and stormy season that she could ask for help, right?
So, she asked the shop teacher; she said, is there a class that I could take that’s on knife safety and sharp item safety? They said, yeah, well, we do have a class. Yeah, we have saws…yeah. Yeah, oh yeah, we use, whatever those are called, the super-sharp knives. Yeah, we could…I could come up with some sort of after-school seminar and get some other kids involved, ‘cause I’ve been starting to think about starting a whittling club. Would you want to take part? Gilla said, I would take part in the training and I would also support your whittling or teaching of whittling, and I would probably take the class, but I would be using a pickle. The teacher thought she was joking but that she was…sort of a dry humor. The teacher said, amazing. I’ll get it done.
So, then they had a sharp-edged item safety class, then other kids signed up for it, and then they started whittling…a whittling club. On the first day of whittling club, Gilla showed up with a…pickles. They sat down and she…and the teacher said, Gilla, that’s…I think you’ve taken your joke far enough. We’re gonna start carving and we’re gonna go through our first whittling lesson. Gilla said, I’ll be whittling pickles. The teacher said, really? Gilla said, yeah, really, and I’m gonna not use the sharpest items currently. I’m gonna use…she had kinda developed her own tools out of plastic bought from the 99-cent store or picnic flatware, paring stuff, anything…99-cent store basic equipment. But she said, I’m also gonna try to learn some of the finer things. The teacher said, okay, sounds fair.
It’s a club, so…and I guess you’re whittling a pickle. Gilla agreed because she knew this teacher was an authority figure and volunteering their time, and she would get paid a dollar from her grandmother later for it. But she, in her head, said, I’m carving pickles but sculpting pickles…no, I’m carving pickles. She goes, I guess you’re car…there’s wood-carvers and there’s whittlers. She said, you could say I’m a pickle…you could call me the pickle-whittler, but that just sounds weird. But she knew in her heart she was a pickle-carver, and I never thought, honestly, until this point in the podcast that I’m telling the tale…this is why it’s a untold tale; I said, oh boy, this sounds…it’s not meant to have any level of innuendo to it, but something about saying a pickle-whittler…I don't know.
But it’s not; it’s…this whole story is…I guess somehow I got in a story bog there. But so, anyway, so Gilla followed the class project…progression, and this teacher was still kinda learning whittling, too. So, it was a lot of sticks with beards, and the closest thing they got was in the fall…was like, a Santa Claus on a stick. It was a little bit different for Gilla because it was learning to do that on a pickle, but also at the time, a pickle was the kinda thing…and then Gilla learned the power of…this was the next progression, was actually…this is another story within Gilla’s life, but there was a time…I think this was the Santa Claus one; she said, well, we don’t celebrate Christmas and I…and then someone that she had a crush on said something to her, so she left her pickle at her workstation and just went home, ‘cause it was summer…or winter break, anyway.
It was her first case of broken-heartedness, which when she got back, what no one knew…’cause the teacher was like, I can’t wait to get outta here, either. This is my free time, you know…that her pickle was still on her workstation and she was usually the first one there ‘cause, I don't know, she liked to…she learned a lot about…so, the pickle had dried out. Now…and it changed shape yet again. So, this became an obsession of hers because she would put the pickles back in the jar or…she just never thought about leaving a sculpture out to dry because she lived in an apartment, right? There wasn’t a lot of places to leave pickles out to dry. So, she would either say, this sculpture is edible or not and just move on.
This was in the early days of composting, so she was bringing it to a compost center just so…anybody’s like, she’s wasting pickles? No, no. I think there was even…I don't know if pigs eat pickles, but I think maybe there was something where she was giving the pickles to somebody who could eat pickles and not have to worry about the fact they were handled by someone. I think it was a neighborhood pig or something, but that might have been in my imagination. But, so anyway, this is the kinda thing…it wasn’t like it followed…this became her hobby and she got better and better at it. For a while, people would be…no one else got…’cause it was…here’s the thing; especially if you learn on wood, switching over to a pickle, it’s just not doable for most people.
So, even the kids in her class, they would try to carve pickles but they…was just…they be…they were too…they didn’t have the touch, the pickle touch, like Gilla did. No one…at that point…these are people…kids hanging out after school, whittling. It’s not like…they became their own…they became friends. This wasn’t Gilla’s only thing, but again, this was just this ongoing thing that this community dealt with at this time period, the dark and stormy season. Gilla still had a lot of dark and stormy seasons left, but…the drying of the pickle created this new thing. Now, it wasn’t Gilla’s only form of expression and in fact, it led to something new. But what happened was all the kids would talk about how the gift…after the holidays, she had her dried pickle.
All the other kids talked about gifting their Santa Claus piece of wood to a family member and who painted it or who did that, and Gilla was just staring at her Santa Claus. Then one kid said not only did they paint it, but they stuck it in a pot and put branches on it and they sold it. Now, it was at a…some part of their belief system’s community thing, community sale or white elephant sale, or something. But she said, wait a second, you sold that stick that had a beard and a hat carved in it and a face? Said, well, I painted it, then I put the stick like it was a tree, and then I put pine branches on it that I found on the ground. Totally found them on the ground; didn’t tear them off any city park trees. I put some pine cones around it, painted the pine cones green, and yeah, I called it the Santa Tree. She said, interesting.
Her heart did beat…she said, this person’s got it together. But she also was like, wait a second, I wonder if you could make money at this. Because also, even though this wasn’t her hobby, she had a fire for…her dream was to have an RV and travel by RV, and also to go to the Great New York State Fair. So, she started a hobby. At first, not totally…she had to do a lot of testing on how to properly dry a pickle, which I have no idea about, so don’t ask me about it. I think eventually she stumbled — when it wasn’t the dark and stormy season — on a solar oven, ‘cause I think that was another thing they did as part of one of the shop classes she started taking, which is just some sort of metal thing you leave out in the sun…heats it up, and she could do that on her balcony.
She would test out drying the pickles and stuff and then she…a very supportive family, very supportive community with the library members. She started to find neighborhood…the neighborhood art sale, which was quarterly, and she started selling her pickle art there. Then people said, what about the pickles not dried? She said, well, they have to be in a jar with liquid. They said, okay. So, then she started making…so, this became very popular. Her best-selling item, for a time, though it would go in and out, was…she figured out a way with different liquids…not just pickle juice, but…at first she sold stuff with pickle juice, but people were like, hm.
But then she started figuring out different density of liquids and putting lead weights inside the pickle and she would sell these pickle fish that would be able to float in the liquid, because, whatever, the liquid and the weights…I don't know, dispersion or whatever the heck you call it. She would call them pliquariums or something. Pliquarium, I think they were called. This is the city, so…then she started being able to sell these to shops, distinct shops that sold hip stuff. She became known around this part of town…village-type part of town as a pickle artist, though she said I’m the pickle-carver. She would always have…they’d say, oh, this is Gilla. She started to get older and older or grow up, and…so, she started making money. She was always saving this money, and then everybody said, well, are you gonna go to art school?
She said, no, I’m gonna get a RV; I’m gonna go to the Great New York State Fair. They said, but what about art school? She said, well, I think…maybe one day, but right now I want to meet some butter…I want to figure out…keeping increasing my skill. She was able to go to the New York State Fair before she had a RV. She saved up the money so that they could take the train to Syracuse and stay there. Everybody decided okay, well, why don’t you just pay 10% of the trip and we’ll pay 90%? Then she said, well, next year I want to set up my own thing and sell my pickle art at the Great New York State Fair, ‘cause she met the butter sculpture winners and she started to get…correspond with members of the butter-sculpting community and learn…and there was even…this was before…so, she got zines and I think there was a list serve, like rec.buttersculpture or something.
But then the first year she did the thing…so, she managed to purchased a RV, and then…this was another slight downturn, was that her first year at the Great New York State Fair, she rented a outdoor booth. It was a particular dark and stormy season, and people just walked by because they didn’t understand…I don't know, it was just a different crowd. It was busy. Then she noticed towards the end of the Great New York State Fair that she didn’t have any motion or any music or anything, ‘cause she started to notice the places she tended towards; there were either a lot of people in line or there was something flashy and moving, or the person was doing something. She said, oh, interesting, interesting, interesting.
She also…that year, the butter sculpture was…the history of the great musicians from the Central New York area, and there was one person who played the clarinet and she said, holy cow. I don't know, at some point, not at the New York State Fair, she said…as she was planning for the next one, she said, I gotta come up with something. So, she started to wonder, could I make instruments that could play or someone else could play at the Great New York State Fair? She said, well, maybe I should focus on my pickle-carving. So, then she tried to figure out…and again, she lived in the big city still, so she could go to places and meet people that played woodwind instruments, meet instrument-makers, and she started to slowly make her own playable instruments; the piccolo…the pickle-piccolo being the most famous one that she would grow great acclaim for.
Because then what she would do is invite musicians that were probably already at the Great New York State Fair initially, ‘cause then she became…she would tour fairs everywhere. You still may find her, Gilla, the pickle-carver. They would play pickle-based instruments at her booth, and then obviously it would create a crowd. It got to the point where she was being able to pay the musicians. She would always joke, I can pay you in pickles. She didn’t even realize ‘til right when she started just touring that she could sell her own pickles. She was like, wait a second…and she met someone and they became…then they had a romantic and a working relationship. Living in a RV, touring around is not for everybody, but for the right person.
So, they would sell the pickles and pickle-related treats and the pickle art, and Gilla would make the art or talk…explain the art during the New York State Fair and stuff, but be…they would do the thing where Gilla…for at least a few hours a day, would be…if there wasn’t music, there’d be sculpting. They created sculptures, non-pickle sculptures, to kinda make motion, like a pickle-dryer, which was foot-pumped but it had a big wheel on the outside of the booth that was flashy, and bellows going up and down. So, it just created more motion. But yeah, that’s the tale of the pickle-carver, maybe a tale you’ve never heard before, but now you have. You might be the sleepier for it. Goodnight, everybody.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)