Jonathan Dodd’s latest column. Guest opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publication. Ed
Granite shoes? Sorry, to be fair, there’s not a lot of call for granite shoes. We only make granite clothes, and for some reason, granite seems to have dipped in popularity at the moment. As a material, it has many advantages, of course. It’s very hard-wearing. It’ll keep out the rain. It’s stylish, especially if you can get a good polish on it. It’ll never get damaged, at least under any normally insurable circumstances. You’ll never have to get it dry-cleaned. Just a quick wipe and it’ll come up lovely. And it’s a classic. It’ll never go out of fashion.
But there are a few downsides to this sunny thought. You’ll not be able to make many alterations. You can’t just take in a granite skirt if you lose weight, although you could have it taken up without too much trouble. And letting one out? Sorry, that’s just not possible. Yes, there are some back-street operators who would tell you it can be done, but it’s prohibitively expensive, so I hear, and it depends on the glue they use. You have to take their word for it, and, frankly, you don’t want the two halves of your designer granite to separate in a sudden cold spell or shower of rain, do you!
Conned into buying shoddy foreign copies
Also, if you want to go for granite, you need to be very careful not to get conned into buying shoddy foreign copies. Beware a granite item that seems a bit light-weight. It’s almost certain that it’s a cheap import made of granite dust and resin, or even worse, a sandstone travesty with a paint-job. My heart sinks when I see these. The whole point of buying granite is that it’ll see you out. You pay for the quality and the hard-wearingness that’ll tell you it’ll last and last. The only times we replace items is when your shape changes, and there’s hardly any second-hand market for them, because each garment is unique.
Have you seen our workshops? They’re absolutely state-of-the-art. We measure you exactly, in the position you want to assume when wearing them. No, sorry, lots of people ask about bending their arms, but really, you wouldn’t be a serious customer if you needed to ask. We have the same policy with our trousers. Unsightly creases will be a thing of the past, we assure you. Once we have your measurements, as I was saying, we use high-tech machines to slice and bore and shave and smooth and polish each garment so it becomes a second skin. We also guarantee there’ll be no rough edges or unpleasant pinch-points.
You can start using it immediately
Once you have been fitted, and you have had your new granite garment, we’re certain that you’ll be completely satisfied with all aspects of its use, storage, care instructions, and long-lastingness. The apparatus for putting on the garment is delivered at the same time as the item itself, and is covered by the same guarantee, so you can start using it immediately. We supply you with a phone number and email address, and an emergency alarm button that you can use if you feel at any time that you’re having difficulty with getting your garment on or off.
All you need to remember is to breathe slowly and smoothly and avoid situations where that might become necessary, and only to use the movements recommended in your personal care package instruction manual. There are clear instructions using text and diagrams showing you the range and speed of these movements. Please contact our Helpdesk if you find these instructions difficult to follow. Your calls will be answered by our own experts, and you can specify your personal language range, so we can make every effort to match an expert to your linguistic needs.
An entirely separate division dedicated to granite mobility
We have become aware in recent years of a new trend, which involves moving from one place to another, or even travelling, in these delightful granite garments. Whilst we understand your desire to show them off in their best light, and, obviously, it would benefit our business enormously for them to be seen more often in the public domain, this has not been part of our original economic model. Frankly, for a very long time there was no call for such alarming developments.
We have noticed that this situation is changing, like everything else nowadays, and despite our irritation, we bow to the requests of our customers, even when they’re plainly vulgar and dubiously arriviste. To this end, we have established an entirely separate division dedicated to granite mobility, and I can recommend them completely to you, if that is the direction you want to take. Here is their card. They will take care of any request you might wish to make of them.
The line of a fine granite hem
Yes, I can assure you that they take any request seriously. The most common are easily within their abilities. Stairs, narrow doorways, low ceilings, shock-absorbent linings, both inside and out, these can be catered for, although I shudder whenever I see them myself. Nothing spoils the line of a fine granite hem more than even the most discreet shock-absorbing material yet invented. Travelling in unprepared vehicles of any kind is a specialist service, and you would have to confer with my colleagues.
Before you make your purchase, I need to advise you on certain other arrangements you might consider making or taking into account. Nothing upsets us more than an unexpected problem, discovered after we’ve put all that hard work and effort into manufacturing and conveying to you the results of our finest efforts, only to discover that your dwelling is not granitified. Correctly. Let me explain. Building regulations in this country are regrettably sub-standard, when you take into account the needs of the owner of granite clothing.
Make a habit of staying close to walls
There are many unpleasant stories concerning weak stairs, or floors that are, frankly, so shoddily built that terrible accidents have happened entirely out of our ability to remit. As a precaution, it’s good to make a habit of staying close to walls, rather than venturing into the centre of rooms, where the physical forces at work are less evenly-spread. You need to be aware of the value of furniture that you might damage whilst gliding past, and those non-granite-clad around you should wear suitable protective clothing, until they can be persuaded to join you.
We happen to stock a wide range of such clothing, which cover most of the possibilities of physical damage sustained in the context of unprotected granite contact. You should take the precaution of purchasing some sets of such clothing that casual visitors, should you encourage such activity, can put on without having to bring their own. We are sure that you would hold the safety and comfort of your family members, friends and casual visitors close to your heart. I myself have always been a granite-wearer, and I can swear that no accidents have happened to anyone around me due to any movement I might have made.
The opportunity to cast aspersions on the granite community
We provide an optional legal service that many of our customers recommend highly, regarding the potential activity of unsuitable people looking for the opportunity to cast aspersions on the granite community concerning the realm of safety. They offer a series of completely unbreakable contracts that you can encourage all those who are likely to make such trouble, to sign, before any such contact might occur.
One can never be too careful nowadays. Frankly, people find it too easy to make recourse to the law their first reaction to any unfortunate event, no matter how small and insignificant. We need to protect ourselves from such possibilities, which can arise to assail us no matter how careful we are. It’s just one of those unfortunate elements of living at this time. I can tell you it doesn’t help our business, and add to our costs. Thankfully, we have a hard core of granite-hearted customers who understand and enjoy the benefits that we can offer, although that core is shrinking.
I never heard anything so ridiculous in my life
We have been forced, occasionally, to consider watering down our core product qualities and strengths, but so far we have been able to resist. We’re always being asked to find a way to make our items flexible. Really. I ask you. If someone wanted flexibility, they would hardly look to granite. But they still ask. We have occasionally given way to this pressure to build-in some flexibility. There was once a regrettable attempt by a now-outcast member of our community to make a sort of granite-mosaic clothing. I never heard anything so ridiculous in my life.
It made me quite ill to think of it. People walking down the street, wearing coats made of flexible material with small granite squares stuck all over them. It goes against the grain, I tell you. There have been even worse ideas. Someone found a way to slice a layer of granite so thin that it became flexible. It moved, I tell you. It positively billowed in the wind!
Someone, somewhere, is going to do it, just because they can
The trouble with technology, I have always found, is not that it allows us to make and do anything we like. The trouble is that we decide to do those things. As soon as it’s possible, someone, somewhere, is going to do it, just because they can. It’s like discovering the actual Ark of the Covenant and actually opening it. Far better to put it discreetly into a crate and hide it away somewhere. I don’t know what the world is coming to any more. You’ll be telling me next that we’ve used up all the granite and there’s none left.
What sort of a life would it be, if it was a life without granite?
If you have been, thank you for reading this.