And That's Why I Was Shellacking A Potato In My Cul-De-Sac

4 years ago

My sister found the most exquisite potato ever grown. Yes, I know that I tend to speak in hyperbole, but dudes. No joke. This potato is a fine, fine specimen. Naturally, she texted a photo of the potato to me. Naturally, I decided to rush to the grocery store, buy the potato and put several coats of shellac on it to preserve it for generations to come.

What? Like you've never had the desire to shellac a potato. Plus, the shellacked spud was going to double as her Christmas gift. Two gifts, one potato.

My husband named the potato Russ, short for russet. I liked the name and thought it was very clever. "This potato," I thought "even looks like a Russ." The name Russ was perfect and the potato was referred to as such for days.

Then, much as a mother looks at her newborn child and instinctively knows the name she had picked out for her child isn't quite right, I knew Russ wasn't really a Russ, but a Pablo.

As in Picasso.

You see it now, yes?

Pablo the potato


And now you see why I immediately went to the grocery store, purchased Pablo and attempted to shellac him for generations to come (and as a Christmas gift for my sister), correct?

All I know about shellac I learned from watching Delta Burke on the Rosie O'Donnell show about fifteen years ago. She claimed that you could "shellac just about anything". I figured a potato falls within the parameters set forth by Miss Delta, but I wanted some type of confirmation.

Enter my friend Heather. If it's odd or unusual, Heather has either seen it, done it, or knows first hand someone who has. I asked her if she'd ever shellacked a potato. Her response? No, but a family member had shellacked a buffalo turd.

That's right. Shellac. Buffalo. Turd.

Kinda makes the whole potato thing look normal, yes?

Okay, fine. It's not normal, but pfft. Whatever. A shellacking we will go.

I buzzed to the hardware store in search of this magical potion called shellac that would forever preserve Pablo, preferably shellac in a spray can as I foresaw drips running down Pablo if I had to use a brush. Nobody wants a drippy Pablo for Christmas, now do they?

Once at the hardware store, I managed to find the section containing stains and varnishes. I figured those were close enough to shellac so shellac couldn't be far away. I must have looked perplexed because a "Can I help you?" person came up and offered his assistance in finding whatever product I may need. I promptly responded "I need shellac, pronto. Preferably in a spray can."

While leading me to the shellac section, the "Can I help you?" dude made small talk with me by asking what I intended to shellac. He was probably looking for a response along the lines of a small reindeer that I had whittled out of a pine twig or perhaps a seven drawer jewelry armoire, but I responded with "a potato" because, you know, shellacking a potato was my current reason for being.

"Can I help you?" dude thought I was high from sniffing spray can shellac. I assured him I wasn't high, I had merely bought my sister a potato that strongly resembled a Picasso painting and I was  hoping that putting a few coats of shellac would preserve the spud for generations to come. I reached for my phone to show him the photo of Pablo, but he declined.

Although I think he missed the opportunity of a lifetime by not looking at the photo, I could see "Can I help you?" dude's point. Even though one hundred percent truthful, my explanation did make me sound like I was on some kind of spaced out trip caused by inhaling spray shellac. (And FYI? For ten bucks a can, there are cheaper highs people.)

"Can I help you?" dude could not get away from me fast enough, which was fine with me for I had a spud to seal.

That brings up my next point: where to seal my tater. I was successful in obtaining a spray can of shellac, but the problem with me and spray cans is that I tend to evenly coat my desired object plus the several pieces of newspaper my object is sitting on and the eight feet surrounding the newspaper. I feel confident in saying that my husband would not be happy about an eight foot shellac circle in our driveway.

And that leads me to the cul-de-sac. I figured a little overspray wouldn't hurt the aesthetics of the asphalt in the cul-de-sac and I could shellac until my heart was content. (Incidentally, my heart was content after spraying two coats. Then I was bored and my arms were more than a little shellacky.)

Sadly, my spud didn't respond well to his shellacking, which is to say he rotted. To the point of liquification. That tater 'twas grody. And now I have nothing to give my sister for Christmas.

But I do have some leftover shellac ...

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