I find it in the Display With No Name, in our local convenience store. The Display With No Name is a cornucopia of weird shit your kids beg you for. It’s the display where they will suddenly swear on their grandmother’s lives that they have “always wanted” (for example) a flour-filled balloon with a face on it – even though you’re pretty sure The Display With No Name is the first time they’ve ever even seen such a thing.
And today, I am that kid, because I see this, and I instantly want it:
Being a grown-up means having the sense to ignore the voice in your head that’s insisting you should put the bicycle horn in your basket. Today, I am not a grown-up. I am a small child trapped in a grown-up’s body. The bicycle horn goes in my basket. The normally chatty young lad on the till (a cheery bloke who can normally maintain a bright stream of light conversation while scanning the bar-code on your san-pro) is struck dumb when he sees what I am buying. The entire transaction takes place in an atmosphere of respectful silence. I don’t care. Being a grown-up means never having to justify impulse-buying a bicycle horn.
Back at home, I abandon the rest of the shopping in the kitchen. The guinea-pigs will keep an eye on it while I look at my Giant Bicycle Horn.
I’ll admit it: it was the phrase “Giant Bicycle Horn” that initially hooked me. It’s the odd specificity of “Giant” that really makes it for me – as if seeing the actual life-sized object isn’t quite enough for you to accurately gauge its true size. But the more I look, the more I find to love.
For my money, “Beat It Buddy” is possibly even funnier than “Giant Horn”. But I appreciate it’s a personal thing.
And while we’re at it – what’s the deal with the mouse?
Possibly it’s related to the angry monster cat:
What’s going on here? Is the cat trying to make the mouse run away? And if so, why? Why does a cat need a horn to scare a mouse? Mice are scared of cats all by themselves. Most cats I know spend hours of their lives trying to not let mice know they’re sneaking up on them. There’s even a phrase for it – “Playing Cat and Mouse with each other”. Honking a giant bicycle horn is pretty much the opposite of your average cat-mouse interaction.
Also, the mysterious shouty words scattered randomly across all the remaining blank spaces! Idiot! Get the Clown! Red! This baby’s got your back! Klaxon! Honk! There is literally nothing about this box that I don’t love. It’s an enigmatic design classic. I put in on a table so I can admire it.
And then, my son gets home from school.
“What’s this, mummy?” he demands, homing in on the New Thing in that unerring way small people have.
“It’s…a bicycle horn.”
“But why is it here?”
Because it has a monster cat and a terrified mouse and a lot of shouty words and it uses the words “Horn” and “Beat it” and I have the sense of humour of a fourteen-year-old schoolboy.
“Um – I just thought it looked interesting. What are you doing?”
Son gives me the very patient look he uses when people he loves act like idiots.
“I’m getting it out.”
“No, let’s not do that -”
“Cool! That’s really loud!”
HONK. HONK. HONK.
“This is really good, mum.”
HONK. HONK. HONK. HONK. HONK.
“I’m going to use this as my new weapon.”
“Let’s put it away, shall we?”
“But we’ve only just got it -”
I have been suckered by The Display With No Name and I have only myself to blame.