A Tragic Tale
There is this item I want. It is a scarf. It is a promotional item. It is a promotional scarf. I have wanted it for years. I want it desperately. Irrationally.
It is a promotional scarf in support of the album ”Waiting for the Sirens Call” by the band New Order. It’s sort of become a white whale for me. I really want it. Here is a picture of this mythical beast. While not actually a Factory Records item, its so close to being one, owing to its association with that famed Factory band, and because I believe it was a nod to The Vikings, new order’s fan club, who do actually have their own Factory number. And since I have an almost complete Factory collection (only missing the lawsuit, the cat, the record contract binders and FAC 15 - the Zoo Meets Factory Halfway concert poster), I really, really want it. It would be a lovely addition to my collection, and is more obtainable than the rest of the missing items.
I want this scarf so much I have an eBay alert on it. Every day, I get an email from eBay telling me all about any items that match my keyword search “new order scarf.” I wasn’t sure exactly what to put in the search. I didn’t want to get too specific and say something like “waiting for the sirens call new order scarf,” because I am not 100% the poster would mention that.
So, every day, I get this email. And naturally this rather broad search query yields some unintended results. Almost every day, it’s some variant on “hand made blue scarf, new, order now!” Every day. I check the email and delete it. I have been doing this for several years.
I say “almost” every day because there have been two days where things went differently. First, about two years ago, a “harry potter and the order of the phoenix promotional scarf, new” went on sale. It was kinda cool. It was a Hogwarts Griffyndor scarf. I bought it. Emma used it once when she dressed up as Luna Lovegood for Halloween (Potter trainspotters out there note, yes we are aware Luna was in Ravenclaw, but luckily most of the people at the halloween party were not Potter fanatics). That was a nice surprise, a nice change from my daily routine of disappointment.
Then, not too long ago, a miracle occurred. I woke up, checked my email, and my eBay alert was alerting me to the item I wanted: The New Order Waiting For The Sirens Call promotional scarf.
I panicked. I drew in my breath, excited. I clicked the link. I immediately looked at the price. It was reasonable! I had often worried that should this scarf ever appear on eBay, it would be priced higher than an Hermes scarf. But no! It was under $40. I immediately looked for a buy it now button. My dreams were within my grasp. THE SCARF WOULD BE MINE.
‘Twas then that I noticed that the item had already been sold. Eighteen minutes earlier.
If only I hadn’t slept in that weekend morning. If only I hadn’t taken a shower. If only I checked my email before breakfast. If only. But no.
And so, every day, I still get my alert. Every day it’s a little reminder of my disappointment. Of my sloth. Of my lack of dedication.
Or is it, perhaps, a reminder of my dreams? The emotional inverse of the birthmark in Hawthorne’s tale? Proof not of life’s inability to support perfection, but of life’s inability to ever completely repress our dreams. I have not given up. One day, the scarf may still be mine.
I try to tell myself that’s the case, but every day, every day that eBay alert email reminds me of that sad, tragic missed opportunity.