Thursday, May 15, 2008
Things once common, now extinct. No. 6: Wire coat hangers
This is quite scary. It can't be much more than a year ago that I was saying something about the breeding habits of wire coat hangers, and how if you put two of them together in a dark and confined space - a wardrobe for example - then the next time you opened the door there would be twenty of them.
And now they've gone. The entire species has been wiped out. I've been over the whole estate with the ghillie, and there isn't a single wire coat hanger to be found. I can only think that some terrible plague has descended upon the poor creatures when we weren't looking. Iron pyrites - is that a disease? Tin-worm is, for sure. I've owned several cars that were stricken with tin-worm, and it can be very nasty. But even tin-worm isn't that rapacious - I mean you don't get whole fleets of cars disappearing overnight because of it. (Though I must say I haven't noticed many Hertz adverts lately.)
I'm wondering if maybe the demise of the wire coat hanger isn't due to over-culling. They're easy game after all, very trusting, and every bit of them can be put to good use. Broken lavatory cistern? Wire coat-hanger. Makeshift hook for your Black and Decker hedge trimmer? Wire coat hanger.
Indoor TV aerial...haloes for the Nativity Play...blocked U bend....sculpture armature...Glastonbury bracelets...the wire coat hanger is the solution every time. Or rather it used to be. We've hunted them to extinction it seems, and now we must live with the consequences. Our own fault, as usual.
An alternative explanation, I suppose, is simply that the ubiquitous plastic coat hanger has driven our native species from its natural habitat. Maybe there's still an isolated colony of them on Brownsea Island, or somewhere. If anyone should happen to know of a breeding pair, I'd be grateful. I've got a loose exhaust pipe that needs wiring up. Also, I'm still not quite finished with Mr. Tibbs, our giraffe-necked cat.