He was from California, as most of the boys you dream of are. Older, distinguished. He was, for a time, hopelessly unattainable. I actually had a dream (a nightmare, let’s be honest) that someone else had bought this sign out from under me. He was being kept by an antiques dealer and shop owner named John Mihovetz in Claremont, California. I had bought two signs from John previously, and love doing so. He’s insanely knowledgable about everything he sells and he has an excellent eye and fair prices. He knew how I felt about the sign, he tried to ease the pain of our separation by trying to set me up with other flings, but only one thing was going to satisfy my carnal lust.
It was the disastrous summer of 2013 that did me in. I needed something positive to happen to pull me out of a wicked rut, and though they say materials things can’t bring you happiness I was desperate enough to try. He arrived on my birthday, days ahead of schedule and to my surprise. I struggled to get him into position; to lift him up onto the mantle above my bed, the new home I had created specifically for him.
Then he fell on me.
It turns out, 15 square feet and 50lbs of porcelain is a rather large hoss for a scrawny thing like me to manage. I fell back onto my bed with him pinning me down, and considered just lying there and withering away, done in by the very thing I so badly craved. Eventually I crawled onto the floor, surrendering the bed to him and slept on the cold hard ground. It was days before I sheepishly asked a coworker to help me put him in his place, and regain control of my bed.
My California fling and I have gotten along swimmingly ever since.
Now that I’ve introduced him, let’s marvel at him together, shall we? There is another, smaller version of this fellow that would have been more attainable, easier to draw in, but the typography is different, the proportions wrong. But this one, this one is perfect. The massive P anchors the left side as the title juts up and to the right corner. The hyphen in the middle curves away to the left teasingly, like a feather trying to get a giggle out of you. The angle of the title is nearly too harsh, unbalanced, but it gently begins to even out at the right end. The mighty tiger softens and supports the massive title, filling in the space and contrasting the bold typography with subtle details in the stripes and face. He’s devastatingly handsome, despite the battle scars. “Motor Oil” closes off and complete the right side of the composition, cut in half by decades of rust. Look at the tail at the end of the R! The tagline reads “Soft as the tread of a tiger,” which, COME ON! The badge in the center breaks up the overabundance of golden highlights and reflects the tiger’s glowing underside. Even the tertiary typography at the bottom delight me with it’s perfect proportion to the banner above it, tracked out exclamation point at the end of an a pic tale of fast cars and silent predatory animals.
There has been nor ever will be anything more perfect than him, and he is mine. I imagine over the years I’ll get to know him even more intimately, learn every shade of every rust stain on his navy blue porcelain finish. Every one of his perceived flaws makes him all the more precious to me. I can only imagine that this must be what true love is.