“And this is what ye have shipped for, men! To chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out.”
I recently wrote about my long-term hunt for a green man incense burner.
In writing this, I Got To Thinking about certain other white whales I’ve pursued over the years.
Urban Dictionary defines a white whale as “something you obsess over to the point that it nearly or completely destroys you.”
Now, I wasn’t exactly obsesses with any of these things. They’re just things I was “on the lookout for” for much longer than was perhaps reasonable. I caught some of these white whales. But some are still out there, waiting to be found.
For some years now I’ve been looking for a green man incense burner.
I saw one for sale once in that shop that sells everything in Liverpool’s Albert Dock. You know the one.
It was a beaut. It had a long root-lined tray to collect the ashes. The green man himself was a large tree stump with a face. You put the incense stick in his mouth, so it looked like he was smoking.
I didn’t buy that beaut. I saw something similar in a new age shop that existed for a short while in Belper. I didn’t buy that one either. And since then a green man incense burner has been my “white whale”. The monomaniacal hunt’s been on.
I buy a lot of things second hand.
One of the best things about buying second hand objects is that, sometimes, you find something unexpected on the inside.
I’m not talking about rat kings, dead crows, or strange glowing homunculi. I’m talking about things that have been slipped inside other things and forgotten.