A house is like a brain: each area has a specific function, some areas are hardly used at all, and it’s full of dirty stuff.
(Unfortunately, there’s no part of my brain that remembers the various parts of the brain so I have to rely on the part of the brain that expresses made-up words with utter conviction.)
The kitchen is like the cerepablum, the command centre of the brain that “feeds” the various nerve signals and sends them on their way, although how many times does the cerepablum have to tell the nerve signals not to leave their dirty dishes all over the brain!
The bedroom is like the part of the brain that controls the subconscious, an area known as the whoopithalmus. The dog is not allowed up on the whoopithalmus.
If your dining room is like my dining room, it is the part of the brain that is full of pleasant ideas and warm feelings but is ultimately impractical, known as the NDPeenium.
The basement is damp, smelly and full of weird gurgling sounds – actually that’s like a different part of the body…
Moving on, most houses are full of drawers. These are like memory banks, or as we say in science, Memory Banks. You go to these drawers to retrieve something useful, something important or, when engaging in hand-to-hand combat, something lethal.
As with knowledge, within individual drawers we retrieve certain materials more than others – the potato peeler, say, more often than the melon baller. (Note: do not underestimate the effectiveness of a good melon balling in hand-to-hand combat.)
Even then, there is a hierarchy within similar items. For example, in this drawer you have your everyday underwear worn in regular rotation; your fancy underwear for special occasions or burial; and your desperation underwear when absolutely everything else is in the wash.
The point is, most drawers, like knowledge, are fairly functional.
But every home, like every brain, has at least one drawer full of material you’re never likely to use.
If this drawer were part of the brain, it would store knowledge of who played bass on Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air” (Pete Townshend under the alias Bijou Drains). This is where you would know that a “quincunx” is a geometric pattern consisting of five points arranged in a cross and also a kickass Scrabble word if you could manage to pull it off.
This is the Useless Drawer.
My Useless Drawer is in the kitchen, snug between the cutlery drawer and Junk Drawer No. 1 (batteries , staplers, papers and expired hospital cards, not to be confused with Junk Drawer No. 2, which is full of junk food).
The sole practical item in the Useless Drawer is a set of steak knives, which we rarely use ever since we decided that life is too short for tough steaks.
The drawer is mostly full of never-used placemats because, quite frankly, placemats should never be used. Placemats are for people who are too lazy to clear the table to put out a real tablecloth. By this you might think we use a tablecloth. No. We’re too lazy even for the placemats.
So why do we have them? Because several belonged to the children, given as gifts by people who clearly hate children. Some were made by the children themselves and say, “Je t’aime, Maman!” and “Papa mon ami!” If you throw these away, Social Services will come and take you away at melon baller-point.
The drawer also contains loose piles of paper napkins. We don’t use paper napkins. We re-use cloth napkins that are environmentally sustainable and only a little bit disgusting.
I also found a box of matches in there, which is a really bad idea considering all the paper napkins.
Also: several oven mitts (varyingly charred), Dollar Store barbecue skewers and something that is either a doll’s apron or an adult’s loincloth (the ultimate desperation underwear).
Is there a point to this? Well, my brain’s thinkarius has been working and I figure if anyone’s planning to barbecue some tough kabobs for a bunch of kids with messy eating habits who might have fun handling the hot barbecue implements themselves, and maybe one of them wants to dress like Tarzan, I can set you up. I’ll even throw in the melon baller.