Ode To A Door Knob

May 12, 2008 by
Filed under: Area 51, Crazy People, Greenpoint Magic 

Or as our friends across the pond like to say: door handle.

Few things are so pervasive, yet so uncelebrated as the lowly door knob. Think about it. How many emotionally charged moments in your life have involved this mundane servant of humanity?

  • Have you ever been locked out of your apartment? That door knob was there to bear silent testimony to your plight (and wrath).
  • Ever had a nasty argument with your significant other/spouse and elected to exit your apartment by making the dramatic statement of slamming the door? That door knob was your accomplice.

Door knobs are much more interesting than you think. I say this not only as a door knob user, but also as a drop-out from “professional workforce”. If a Human Resources Expert was to read my resume, he (or she) would deem me an abject failure. And in all fairness, I probably am. I, on the other hand, see it as ten (plus years) of wage slavery with a hefty helping of Schadenfreude (READ: blue chip cocktail party material) to assuage the pain of underemployment.

Which brings me back to door knobs.

At one point in my less than stellar career I worked as a Receptionist for a state agency that worked with victims of violent crime. The function of this entity was to give money to (uninsured) victims of violent crime to cover medical bills, “rape kits”, funerals, etc.

If you want to delve into humanity at its absolute worst a state crime victim’s board is the place to see it. If you can imagine it, I can assure you somebody has already done it. In the most vile and disgusting fashion possible. As a Receptionist I not only had to field calls from a lot of angry people wanting to know if/when their money (for example) their child’s anti-depressants will come (because the board had a backlog), but I also had to deal with a very dysfunctional staff. In other words it was the kind of job that made you want to go home and empty your liquor cabinet. EVERY NIGHT.

Nonetheless my lowly sinecure was darkly amusing at times.


One of my (numerous) responsibilities was filing “crime blotter” clippings. One day I came across a gem and decided to bring it to the attention of one of my co-workers.

Miss H: Get a load of this. Some guy died of metallic poisoning. He had nuts and bolts in his stomach and a door knob shoved up his ass. The police called it a suicide*.

Caseworker: How old was he?

Miss H: I dunno, not young but not old. 40, I think.

Caseworker: He should have known better.

Miss H: ?

Caseworker: He was old enough to know better than to shove a door knob up his ass.

Not knowing what to make of this I retreated to the sanctity of my desk. I have never seen a door knob the same way since.

That is until last Saturday when I spied this beauty at The Thing.

Needless to say I have made this item my own. Living in an age where cheap and disposable schlockitecture is the norm in my neighborhood (and New York City in general) this is an all too sad reminder of a time when even the lowliest fixtures of a public institution were made to please the eye.

Barack Obama speaks of the audacity of hope. I wish to make a case for the audacity of beauty. Is this, for the best city on earth, too much to ask?

Miss Heather

P.S.: I wanted to install this fixture on our front door but it won’t fit. But being under 40 I can, with peace of mind, put it to a more nefarious use.

*It was later ruled a homicide. Duh.


2 Comments on Ode To A Door Knob

  1. SouthOfNYC on Mon, 12th May 2008 12:45 pm
  2. Well in this case, you know where this doorknob came from – but do you know where its been?

  3. vintagejames on Mon, 12th May 2008 2:38 pm
  4. I’ve got one of those door knobs, also. It is on the door behind me which separates the kitchen from the den. It is a beauty; enjoy!

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