Meet "Shelly" (Short for Shelf-So-Ugly). We met at a local thrift store awhile back. I may have walked right past her a few times. She was a real wallflower with her mousy brown garb, hanging out in a back corner behind the prettier girls. A $20 trick. I tried to imagine her before life had taken her down the gritty road of abuse. She still had a nice figure but the years had taken their toll...wobbly legs, a pockmarked complexion, creaky joints. After a quick glance I averted my eyes and went on my way. But for some reason I just couldn't get her out of my mind. Maybe it's because we're both middle-aged and I recognized that invisible feeling I sometimes have myself. Whatever the reason I felt drawn to her and so a few days later I went back and brought her home.
I knew Shelly could never reveal her storied past so I created one for her. I imagined her in a Madison Avenue ad agency, Sterling Cooper perhaps, cocktail glasses and gin bottles on her shelves, a handsome Don Draper casually leaning against her. After a few years someone younger caught Don's eye and she wound up in the office of a back street private eye who smoked and drank too much. He carelessly left water rings and cigarette burns on her. He liked to prop his feet up and leave grimy smudges. Business was slow and the lousy pay forced him to eventually close up shop. Shelly was tossed out into the alley, left to the mercy of the elements and roaming dogs. That's where a poor grad student found her one day and took her home for awhile. He ripped off one of her shelves and left ink stains behind but she couldn't complain too much. She was warm and dry and felt needed for awhile. However, the day finally came when his thesis was finished and her grad student moved on without her. At least he had the decency not to leave her on the curb. He gave her a ride in his Volvo wagon and left her at the drop-off door of the thrift store. She never saw him again.
With the magic of a good scrubbing, some wood filler, primer and paint I'd like to introduce the new and improved Shelly:
Doesn't she look gorgeous? Yes, she's still in a corner, but I can assure you she gets plenty of attention these days. Now if only Don Draper would stop by...