I was a Beaver once. Waaaaay back in the time of Trudeau as Prime Minister and the top television show being M.A.S.H. Back in those days, we proud Beavers wore as part of our Scouts Canada uniform a vest, which if memory serves was brown or brownish, and our troop allowed us to accessorize. So the bright idea popped up by someone in my family.
Let’s attach buttons to the Beaver vest.
Such a simple thing really, get some buttons, plop them onto the vest, and look cool.
And thus begat a fascination that lasts till this day.
Cool as it was at first, the Beaver vest very quickly went from a cute oddity to a heavy, cumbersome, and a not very safe problem. I was well known for the vest, which was nice, but as the buttons multiplied, stab wounds from the sharp ends continued, I soon retired it. My parents still safeguard it, all these years and years later.
But my buttons fixation did not stop with the vest. Why would it? My dad had picked up someplace a felt covered corkboard and decided to install it above my bedroom desk. This became the new headquarters for my button collection, which I started anew. Soon half the surface area was covered with everything from Geek ones to historical ones to television station ones. I was quite impressed with what I had accumulated, often with the help of various family members and friends. It was cool.
After a very long time the inevitable happened. With marriage and moving, the board had to stay behind, but the contents, those wonderful buttons, traveled to be with Googliebear and me.
At this point they sat in a bag in a box in the workshop in the basement. Forever and forever and forever. Only a few precious ones are plucked out once in awhile for Geeky excitement like FanExpo or the random Tuesday jog. For those who have met me, can you imagine me jogging?
Over the course of years, this problem vexed me. I wanted to, needed to, place a select portion up on display, but how to create a sturdy, workable, and pleasant looking new board. A plan was hatched and put into motion. Two years ago.
I found a nice place in the Scoop Cave, a blank slab of wall right between a bookcase and the dvd shelves. The measurement of the desired area told me I had to acquire a piece of cardboard 30 cm by 66 cm. This was quickly done. And nothing happened for well over a year. Some months back I finally went and got the felt, and interestingly enough the lady at the sewing store did not even bat an eye at all to my weird strange questions. And nothing happened for several months. At least the time intervals of inaction were lessening.
So the summer hits and my resolve quickened. One night I sorted and resorted the buttons and decided which would be blessed with being displayed and which would be relegated to storage. I also had quite a number of duplicates, and even some duplicates of duplicates, it all was quite an undertaking. Using Picard, Riker, Data and Geordi (see the picture just above and ye shall understand) as outer guides, I quickly amassed the final candidates. Once that part was completed, I measured and re-measured the cardboard, all because OCD must be capitalized. At this point, it was getting late, and Googliebear ordered me to bed.
The very next day had me reinforcing the cardboard. And promptly running out of packing tape. My plan was to make incisions into the board, all to slide string into, but I knew it was best to lay plenty of tape down, all to strengthen the cardboard. Yes, it all sounded very reasonable at the time.
Flashforward to Labour Day and Family Channel was planning a gazillion episode Phineas and Ferb Marathon. Sensing an opportunity, and before you could say “Whatchadoing?” I grabbed my fresh role of packing tape, flipped on my pvr, and settled into finally completing this fun project.
Very soon the taping was done. The string was carefully treaded into the slits, with one side taunt and the other slack. More tape was applied in very liberal doses. Some tape was even slapped onto the slack string, since this was the part being hooked to the wall.
Now the felt was put into position. Cut to be oversized, the edges were flipped onto the back and stapled, then taped. Then taped some more. Did I mention how much I love tape?
The board was now finished, but naked. Slowly, determinedly, methodically, I lovingly attached each button, all in a particular order, to the felt. Some pierce the fabric easily and clasp on the other end with relative ease. Others are designed to relentlessly drive me mad. As I get closer and closer to finally seeing this dream become a reality, I make one little alteration to the grand plan.
While at FanExpo, a gentleman whom I met years ago who started as a fan and became a friend, had decided to give me some Scoops Mental Propaganda buttons he had made. And they are awesomely cool. So originally, the final button, living as a coda right at the bottom, was going to be my longstanding “Blimey I’m A Limey” one. Have had this one since high school, and it was not easy, but the equilibrium of the board was changed from the genesis because of the welcome addition of the SMP buttons. So now Blimey resides in storage, replaced by something newer and shinier.
The board now done, I carefully transported it to the Scoop Cave. Measuring where the hooks will go on the board, and making sure I have the proper places marked on the wall, it was finally time to have hammer meet nails. And even through the button board would rest level with my mid-section, putting it one the wall proved difficult.
Grabbing a step ladder and cursing my lack of being seven feet in height, I mounted to the top step and with the dexterity of a ninja, managed to get the button board to rest comfortably, forevermore, on its final resting place.
Enshrined. Proud. Getting teary eyed.
After taking several moments to revel in my accomplishment, I brought Googliebear and Lexie the wonder puppy in to see my handiwork. Googliebear loved it and was quite happy. Lexie went to look for something to sniff.
What began as a Beaver vest with many pointy ends became a corkboard with a colourful flotilla of treasures. Now it has grown into its newest version, one which shall rule for a long, long time.
A felt covered piece of cardboard hosting a collection of buttons that say me.
…is currently reading Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.