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A Real Iron

Charcoal iron
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“Mr. Holler, Mr. Holler, what did you get for Christmas?”

I had already seen new coats, shoes, watches, a kindle, and a nook. The gleeful look on my student’s faces impatiently begged for someone to ask them the same question. I proudly but softly responded, “I got an antique iron.” And I gave special emphasis to the word “an-tique” drawing out that first syllable.

Now I impatiently watched, curious about how they would respond.

“O…kay, that’s interesting.”

The iron wasn’t the only thing I got for Christmas, but it was the one foremost on my mind this morning. My wife told me that when they tested it at the store, it tripped the breakers and shut the computers down. Our “new” iron died–as they (purposely) do–and it was time for another new one. But this time I got an old one, a Fostoria (I can’t find a date, but it’s old) made in Boonville, MO.

There are no bells or whistles, no shooting spray or stream buttons, no water–period, no automatic recoil, no lights. The temperature dial reads “off”-“rayon”-“cotton”-“wool”-“linen,” and under each is a number that I failed to read this morning.

That’s right, I couldn’t wait to try this puppy out. Now, perhaps because I am use to the “new” irons, or because of some gender specific defect–I lean toward the former excuse–I cranked that thing up to high!

(I should probably mention at this point that this iron also does not stand upright; there is no flat back end for it to stand on. Rather, it has to sit flat on its pad.)

I was a little cautious recalling the electrical surge it caused at the antique store, and the faint odor I began catching confirmed my caution. And then I saw smoke!

I looked at the wall socket–it was good. I looked at my pants–good. I looked at the iron–not good. Smoke was billowing out from under it. It was incinerating the ironing board pad–without a flame!

Not even my ironing board was immune to this beast. I guess I am going to need to build a solid steal ironing board like the tables we had in high school metal shop because this iron is indestructible.

You know the question is coming, but I will ask anyways: “Why do they not make irons like this anymore?” But where are the profits in a non-consummable product? Certainly the profits are not in the ledger, but they do exist–in a landfill.

I’m still trying to determine the lesson of this story?.

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