Folk Object

Theo recalls a folk religious object that has been kept in his house since before he was born in 1986 in New York City, NY.  The object was his father’s, who told him the story behind it once Theo had attempted to touch and move it. He says, “My dad had a little bronze tablet. Given to him apparently by the emperor of Japan, as a gift for restoring a painting for their national museum, or something. And he would get super pissed if anyone touched it or moved it. It was really bad luck, he used to say. The emperor was a demi-god and stuff. It was a blessed tablet.”

While it might not seem out of the ordinary for a man of faith to protect a religious item so fiercely, Theo’s father is not one of those men.  When I asked Theo what he thought about his father placing such a strong emphasis on the sacredness of a blessed object, he said, “My dad’s atheist, you know? I thought it was weird that he would talk about this guy, after only meeting him once; sure he was on a higher level than other humans. That he was truly royal, or something.” I have to agree with his interpretation. I wouldn’t expect a man who is atheist – not agnostic – to give any religious value to any item. The fact that Mr. Goldrach would continue to value and protect this item seems inexplicable, perhaps representative of a deeper belief in a higher power than he is willing to admit.