The Hook of Respective Longevity

On a short alley lot at Perkins Cove, Maine, a small hook holds a chain together. This metal forging is very old, perhaps older than seventy years. Today her job is lightweight duty; she keeps tourists off private property.

This old hook is retired; this was not her first calling. We may ask, what was her job of yesteryear? Was she fitted to a proud ship, worked by a crew who perhaps never gave thought to the concept of respective longevity?

I will be utilized so long as I’m useful. I can work if my construction exceeds my strain. I can outlast my creator if men take care of me. I can outlast Man if men need me.

A hundred years ago a metalsmith forged a hook and loop out of steel. He used the skills of his eyes, arms and hands to form her just so. He pulled the finished hook from the cooling water bucket, took off his gloves and held it in his hand. “You will outlast me,” he said to the beautifully-fashioned, warm-wet steel. “You’ll raise great nets of fish or carefully lower a ton of timber, and men will trust you with their lives. If they do their job, they know you will do yours.

“You’re two solid pounds and are vulnerable to being cut, thrown away, melted or otherwise destroyed,” he told his creation. “But you will succumb to none of those things. You will endure because you are useful. And only fools squander usefulness.”


Ara Hagopian’s latest book:

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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