live fur coats
**Warning. This story requires an almost heroic imagination. Proceed at your own peril.**
Like so many brilliant, and terrible, but mostly wonderful ideas it started with a celebrity. In this case a pop star who liked the look of a coonskin hat but worried about offending the folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Get on the wrong side of that group and your days in the entertainment industry are numbered.
He began to wear a live raccoon on his head.
This did not go unnoticed by fashion magazines everywhere and before you could shake a stick the fur industry, which had been on the outs with the public due to the rather poor optics of wearing the skin of a dead animal, jumped at the opportunity to reinvent themselves.
Live fur coats.
It was quite a commitment for the owner of a mink coat, care and feeding typically costs hundreds of dollars a month, but it caught on. In fact, it became all the rage. You couldn’t throw a stick without hitting someone attired in some form of the aforementioned.
Busy day for that stick. I’m sure it appreciated getting in on a little action for a change.
The animals were not surgically grafted together, that would have been as bad as killing them, instead they were free to roam around their enclosures with wires attached to their tails until they were needed, at which time they were pulled together using technology similar to a drawstring on a hoodie. Except in this case it functioned with the efficiency of a tape measure being brought back into its housing. One touch of a button and viola, you have a snuggly, albeit writhing, coat.
(It’s important that you take a moment to imagine the mechanics behind this. I wish I could provide a diagram.)
(By the way, who the fuck decided that viola would start with a V? I spent twenty minutes waiting for autocorrect to jump in and help out with wala?… whala?… whalla?!, all to no avail. Even Google was rendered helpless until I typed in “things that a magician would say”. Then viola!)
There were, of course, unintended consequences of this new fad. On the positive side a new job description was born. Theaters and upscale restaurants needed coat room attendants that were equal parts animal handler and veterinarian. A more respectable way to earn a living with much better compensation that the typical coat-check girl was getting. The sale of air fresheners also went through the roof. Ear plugs didn’t fare too poorly either.
On the downside, a full-length silver fox coat required a person of great physical strength to wear as it weighed upwards of 775 lbs. Should the owner of the coat cross paths with a rabbit it was not unusual for their outerwear to take off in hot pursuit and drag the hapless wearer into the woods kicking and screaming.
(A hearty congratulation if you were able wrap your head around that and actually picture that scene in your head. You are indeed a reader of dizzying imagination.)
(Although I’m not sure that it’s an entirely productive use of brain cells.)
(Perhaps I should have instead offered my condolences on having such a dizzying imagination.)
Obviously fox was not for everyone. With so many animals to choose from; bobcats, beavers, lynxes, sables, chinchillas, and weasels, it was easy to find a coat that not only suited the client’s aesthetic needs but also their temperament. There was even an option for a Seeing Eye jacket.
As this was written in the past tense the more astute readers among you are assuming that something has changed since this fashion craze took hold and present day. Not the case. Around the sixth paragraph I started writing it in past tense and now I’m too lazy to go back and change it all.
It is always the same:
women bedeck themselves with jewels and furs,
and men with wit and quotations.