The carpet is a repository for our excess weight. It is to the carpet that we give over our hair, our water, our nail clippings, and all those other intangibles that get shorn throughout the day. We have all fantasized at one time or another about being ants in the carpet, about skulking through the pieces of what used to be ours. This is an ordinary symptom of our loss. Stranger is the man in the book of world records who can't let go, the one with the hornlike nails that curl at their ends like shoestring fries.
The bustle of the home exerts enormous pressure on garments. Wrinkles and odd creases are the garment's attempt to speak this pressure out. A shattered dish will result in rumpled trousers and unpaid bills will cause fraying at the edges of a favorite coat. When the child begins to masturbate, distinct ridges form in the father's collar. The iron was introduced to curtail the espionage of neighbors. Beside an open window, the operator of the iron unburdens the garment through the direct application of extreme heat. 16th century records of domestic life are filled with accounts of sensitive, big-eared children claiming to have heard the agonized, ecstatic moaning of the blouse in the process of being smoothed over.
The oven exudes a peculiar gravity. We are drawn to it as moths to light. It brings to mind the ambient comfort of the womb but also the less-sanctified relief of the crematorium. Hence the unsettling proximity of the phrases "bun in the oven" and "head in the oven". "Baking" is the stage on which these poles are negotiated. Peer into the oven and watch as the inert batter is mobilized and erected by heat. The dinging of the timer represents a choice: you can take the cake out and have dessert, or leave it in and wait to see what happens.
The dog is that surface against which we attempt to articulate our shape. Young children will tease their appendages in between the jaws of the dog. Later they will play cruel games like tying a scrap of steak to its tail and watching it run in circles or holding it underwater during a game of "New England witch hunt". Adults will command the dog to "sit", "shake", and "roll over", only to be met with halfhearted compliance and that strange, inscrutable gaze. The human body as it kicks the dog approximates the shape of a "K". We spoon the dog and form a "C" around the curve of its back. The dog at the foot of the bed, perpendicular to our bodies, reads "L". And yet despite these moments of delineation, language seems to slip off the dog like hands around a greased balloon. It is in this sense that all stories are dog stories.
The images above were taken from applications filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They have been altered slightly from their original forms.