Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Does One Define the Indefinable?

April 9th will soon be upon us. And you know what that will mean...only 6 days left to pony up your taxes. April 9th also happens to be National Cherish an Antique Day. Which begs the question:

When is "antique" status officially attained?

And the answer is:

It depends.

Surely, you weren't expecting a more cut-and-dried result? That hardly ever happens here at Bugs and Bunnies, and besides, where's the fun in only one possibility?

As it turns out, there are several definitions out there for "antique," and which one you use depends on the situation in which you happen to be. ChaCha.com, for instance, answers the question this way:

"Since 1980, the unofficial definition of an antique is anything made before the outbreak of the Second World War."
If that's the case, then technically, both of my grandmas are antiques. While it's true that at least one of them loves any excuse for a party, I'm pretty sure both of them may be a smidge offended to be the guests of honor at a "Cherish an Antique" party. Even if it does have the word "cherish" in it.

You know what, though? I'd still like to throw them that party. I'll figure out what to call it later. For now, we need to delve deeper into this definition-of-antique thing.

On ehow.com, it says that in 1930, the United States legislature defined "antique" as anything older than 100 years. 100 years? That totally leaves my grandmas outta this antique gig. (But not by much...) A bit further on, it says that anything old - that is newer than 100 years - is defined as a "collectible." So, according to this, while my grandmas don't qualify as antiques, they can join Club Collectible.

But a consolation prize isn't really what we're after, so let's keep looking. Besides, "antique" has a much nicer ring to it, don't you think?

Unfortunately, further digging just makes things even murkier. Answerbag.com lists Webster's definition of "antique" as:

"belonging in the past."
How's that for arbitrary? Even so, maybe we can hammer this one out. Let's see: I have one grandma who owns a computer and an email account - and knows how to use both. And my other grandma is totally old-school, relying almost solely on actual, handwritten letters and cards to keep in touch. It seems in this case, then, that only the grandma who's holding on to the past gets to join the Antique Par-Tay.

Well. I'm gonna recuse myself on this one. A granddaughter can't choose between her grandmas. It's unseemly.

Moving on, we have about.com, which defines "antique" thusly:

"a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period, and according to many customs laws, at least 100 years ago."
Well, now. This one just up and slams the door in my grandmas' faces all kinds of ways. My grandmas are not furniture. My grandmas are not objects - decorative or otherwise. And my grandmas are not 100. (Yet.)

Oh! Hey! Possible loophole: Sometimes, my grandmas wear flowery blouses or hats, or jewelry. Donning any of those could designate the wearer as "a work of art," couldn't it? This might be the one, I think. I mean, nobody wants to be a Grandma Basher, now, do they?

Oh, all right. That may be a teensy bit of a stretch. But I really wanna throw my grandmas a party on National Cherish an Antique Day. Luckily, I have one last option to check out. A quick Google search for "definition of antique" brings up a whole page of definitions. This one caught my eye:

"...any piece of furniture or decorative object or the like produced in a former period and valuable because of its beauty or rarity."
Hmmm. Produced in a former period and valuable because of its beauty or rarity. This could work. My grandmas are both women of, shall we say, a very certain age. My grandmas are both just lovely, inside and out. Plus, they're the only two women in the entire world whom I can call "Grandma." That, my friends, makes them not only rare, but also much more valuable than any old antique.

And I cherish them both.

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