Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Why Portland Oregon Is The Way It Is: C.H. Piggot - Crazy As A Shithouse Rat

In Portland Oregon, on Marquam Hill, there is a small white castle, an utterly charming little building that is supposed to have been brought from Scotland - taken apart carefully, drawn and numbered, loaded aboard a ship and reconstructed in Oregon.  This story is, sadly, not true, but it's romantic, isn't it?  No, that little slice of fantasy is Gleall Castle, Piggots' Folly.  

C.H. Piggot was a lawyer, and he also owned a brickyard.  The entire castle is made of bricks painted white, and there isn't an angle in the place - deliberately.  Mr. Piggot was, at that point, merely eccentric.  He designed his pretty home, had it built, lived in it for two years, and then went broke.

At some point in the story, he also developed a whomping case of the WTF's.  There are no adjectives that can pinpoint the exact tenor of his nuttiness.  But he wrote a book that gives you a pretty good idea of what his wife and kids had to put up with: Pearls at Random Strung, or, Life's Tragedy from Wedding to Tomb, by C. H. Piggot.  You can read it here:  

https://archive.org/details/pearlsatrandoms00pigggoog/page/n8/mode/2up

But you probably won't. I know you people.  You're all...adult, and stuff.

But if you love reading crazy people writing like I like reading crazy people writing, you need to deal with this Victorian crackhead.  This is some prime crazy people writing.  I can see him suddenly rushing out in the middle of an important meeting to go hunt up a quill pen and some paper to write down some of this stuff, and everyone in the room rolling their eyes and sighing.  I can see his kids at school sneaking and sliding down the corridors and hiding in the bathrooms after this work of sheer wahoo nuttiness was published, because....it's a doozy. 

Some gems:  

(Paraphrase) Human hair is made of vegetable matter, and bleeds out your intelligence when it is cut.  Eating dark colored vegetables will prevent baldness. And never wash your hair, or cut it; just give it an 'electric' washing with the tips of the fingers.  Cutting your hair makes you stupid.  Having an underweight brain also makes you stupid.  Smart people have heavier brains, and long hair, which they assumedly never wash.

All the human stomachs in the world are either acid or alkaloid; the former class should live in an alkaloid country, the latter should not.

(Paraphrase) Half of all suicides are caused by overheating of the spinal cord during sleep.  Never let that spinal cord get overheated. The life you save will be your own.

Every person in the universe that sleeps with one particle of clothing more under him than over him, hearafter, should be beaten with a stuffed club.

(Paraphrase) Moles have the best hearing in the animal kingdom.  Coming in at second is the woodpecker.

(Paraphrase) After you have retired for the night, inject a quart of soapy water up your bunghole to prevent tuberculosis, which is caused by thousands of invisible worms.  And hold it there.  A quart. This is guaranteed to 'knock the worms silly.' I...just... daaaang.

 If you read Patience Worths 'A Sorry Tale' - and mind you, Patience Worth had been dead, deceased, popped her clogs, met her maker, gone to join the choir invisible, some years before she dictated this...story, about...things...to Pearl Lenore Curran - and actually made it through the whole book, ha ha! (inside joke) then you will ADORE 'Pearls At Random etc.'  

 God, this guys' poor wife!  Now if she wrote a book, boy, I'd be on that thing like a thing that is on another thing quickly.  Can you freakin' imagine being married to this fuckin guy?

Well, no you can't because you haven't read the book yet, and you probably won't, but you should.

4 comments:

anne marie in philly said...

OMFG, the last statement about worms! I'm up every 2-3 hours to pee overnight. NO FUCKING WAY would I "hold it".

asshole nutjob would be perfect in today's Q-anon group!

dinahmow said...

You don 't half come up with some whack-jobs And for that, I thank you.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

anne marie in philly: ...and in those days, soap was either castille or lye. He doesn't specify. HE DOESN'T SPECIFY.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

dinahmow: I love me a good, sincere whack-job. Mr. Piggot references several other coeval, local whack-job publications and I am PANTING to read their words of whackery. I grew up in Portland, Oregon. These days, Portland has made a cute point of being 'Weird', like Austin Texas, but believe me, Portland was straight up shit-flinging nuts before Austin ever thought up the motto. I remember it during it's prime period of nuttiness. AND I MISS IT SO MUCH!