Tuesday, August 24, 2010

from "The Great American Museum of the American Nickel" by Donna Sellinger

"Well, sure it might not look like much, but you have to realize that at the time Spratt's Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes represented the acme of human ingenuity. Here was a man from Cincinnati-Cincinnati of all places! I think it's a miracle, frankly," said Florence. The girl she stood lecturing was the third-prettiest girl I'd seen come in that day. And second-prettiest if you disqualify the girl whom I had to ask to spit out her gum while exploring the museum. And if you think those things aren't quantifiable, if you think those things have no absolute value, well, one thing is you're wrong.

"But a lot of terrific things have happened in Cincinnati besides the advent of dog food," the second-or-third-prettiest-girl-of-the-day said.

"Name one," said Florence, and she did not like where this was going.

"Well, I'm sure you get this kind of answer all the time, and so I guess it might sound trite, but Cincinnati's port on the Ohio River played a major role in getting supplies to the Union Army during the Civil War. Also George McClellan came from Cincinn-"

"George McClellan was an ineffectual bungler," Florence said, and rested a foot against the wall. "Everyone whose television gets PBS knows that. Dog food pre-dates the Civil War. Well, almost pre-dates it. Didn't you consider that? It may be a relatively new development in the world of dog nutrition, but compared to the history of our country-well, frankly, if you want American history, look no further is what I say. The world is full of gifts. Gifts that should be appreciated. That's what I'm trying to tell you."

Donna Sellinger will be performing her work at WORMS on September 15.

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