Plastic Penguin with a Propeller on it’s Nose

A Blogging contact, ( aawa ) recently wrote a post about a conversation she had with her freezer. I don’t speak German, but I think the general drift was the freezer was warning her not to leave the door open too long. Thoughtful and to the point. Everything you would expect from a caring household appliance.

I am a man of few possessions so those I have are important to me. One of them, as described in the title, is a plastic penguin with a propeller on its nose. I hav’nt given it a name, because that would obviously be silly, but I have seen it jerk its head when the word “Norman” is uttered. Nothing definite, you understand, but a possible clue to its identity.

It came to me via the good wishes of a women who worked as my secretary for quite a few years. She was a marvel of efficiency, and could change any of my scribblings into ordered paperwork without breaking sweat. Anyway, come my birthday which is always a challenge to those who seek to enrich my life with gifts, and “Norman”, as we shall call him for short, popped onto my desk.

He was a quiet little chap, no more than four inches high. Modesty prevented him speaking for himself so a small leaflet with instructions was included in the box. As required, I inserted a battery and pushed down a switch Norman had cleverly sited near his left wing. The fan whirred into life, and I could see that my previous existence, as a man who sweated and gasped in the office as the sun kept muttering the words “Microwave Oven” at me through the office window, were now a thing of the past. Bliss

As the summer grew warmer, Norman and me struck up a great friendship, and he was often to be found whirring away somewhere near my shirt collar. Move on a few years, and my partner is suffering from some post operative difficulty which produces, among other things, waves of heat. Norman springs to the rescue and cools her swiftly in the time it takes you to say “Battery powered appliance”. Marvellous. Never one to boast, in between emergencies he just sat there, in a knowing and purposeful way, until the call for action came.

Life moved on again, and all was calm. Outside, as we woke one morning, we could see that the ground was covered in a decent blanket of snow. My ambasador to youth, a committed snow lover, rushed outside and built himself a snowman. It was really nice to see how much fun he gained from it. When the masterpiece was complete, and in line with tradition, he searched around for objects to decorate our new friend. I next saw “Norman” perched on the snowman’s right shoulder, obviously whispering words of wisdom into its ear on how to  survive heatwaves: his area of expertise.

The advice, although undoubtably sincere, failed in its purpose, and the snowman melted and returned to the river of his birth. I retrieved Norman, and settled him down with some  of his chums to watch television. Come the summer and I once more picked him up and pressed that vital switch. Nothing. Not a sound or movement to discover. Norman’s little motor had drowned during his visit to the snowman and would remain forever silent.

Not to worry. Just looking at him now I remember my secretary with her warm manner and her loyalty, and my partner, showing such bravery and determination during her illness and my ambassador to youth having fun out in the garden and just celebrating the joy of being young and alive in the fresh snowfall. Oh how Norman  lived to serve and never complained, which few of us can say for ourselves. He has definitely earned his place on the  window ledge.

Perhaps I shall join him one day.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, humour, Life, life2, Relationships, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Plastic Penguin with a Propeller on it’s Nose

  1. cyberian says:

    Could Norman be the first penguin existentialist hero?


  2. This is an adorable story Peter! By the end of it, a small piece of my heart was firmly fixated on Norman…and to be honest, I keep asking why anyone would take a battery operated penguin outside in the snow…Poor Norman!


  3. catterel says:

    One after my own heart! My mother’s house is full of “Normans” and I found myself explaining them to my granddaughter while she was here – including a cup without a handle and a watvh with only one hand. What would life be without our “Normans”?


  4. Julie says:

    Norman! An ode to Norman. What a fine treasure he is — brought to life by the fine writer who owns him.


  5. aawwa says:

    Delighted to be linked in some way to “Norman” – don’t be fooled by that silence though 😉


  6. Alex Autin says:

    What an incredibly well written and interesting story! Norman reminds me somewhat of a plastic 3 inch tall bobble-head polar bear, named Bipolar Bear, who stands on my desk ever-ready to, with an ambiguous nodding of his head, answer my deepest questions. Given to me years ago by my then quite young nephew, Bipolar has traveled with me across 3 continents.

    Great story, looking forward to reading more!


  7. Oh, I loved this! As I read and fell more and more in love with Norman, I was dreading that the end of this piece would take us to his demise. I am glad he is still with you, though sad that he has lost his buzz.


  8. I agree that is sad, but his silence is golden and full of great insights


  9. Your posts are a tonic and I just love them. Three cheers for Norman. Long may he sit, whirring or not!!

    It seems to me Norman could have happily taken a place next to “Washington Irving””, yet another gift for someone difficult to buy for, namely my ex boss many years ago. He was a solicitor in the days, not too long ago as far as I can remember, when solicitors’ ofices still had a Dickensian air about them, and so they should! I was his secretary and bought him a little wooden man with a long beard and horn rimmed glasses. He stood about three inches tall and was placed on a shelf next to all Ken Dodd’s Diddy-men. (Dont ask!)

    Yes we did some work! And I loved that job!



  10. Bill Hayes says:

    smashing. Great post.


  11. I’ll make this comment simple. I just have to say, I love your writing, its very interesting and soothing as writing often should be. You’re a great storyteller!


  12. R.I.P. Norman’s motor. As for Norman himself, I hope he enjoys his retirement.


  13. backonmyown says:

    I have too many possessions, many of them “Normans” given to me by grandchildren for Christmas or a birthday. I can’t part with any of them. Love your penguin and your wonderful writing.


  14. Yes. Norman is a little treasure. Your little “Normans are blessed to have you I know. As yet I don’t have any grandchildren so my supplies are pretty limited


  15. gotham girl says:

    Love that you’ve showcased Norman! I have one of those possessions as well. His name is Howie and one day I found a yarmulke on the street and brought it home and pronounced Howie a Jew.


  16. nelle says:

    Nice run with the story of Norman… may his motor roar to life.


  17. Was passing by and became transfixed by your lovely, and in some ways heartrending, tale of Norman.



  18. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I love the way you told this. Your secretary sounds great “without breaking a sweat” 🙂 It sounds like you’d be a good boss, appreciate her.

    What a gorgeous gift too – it’s the best when someone appreciates your gift! Norman sounds so cute!! whirrrrrrr


  19. Poor little Norman…You are such an entertaining writer! 🙂


  20. renxkyoko says:

    Ha ha I knew it was a battery-operated fan from the title ! ! !


  21. Christine says:

    Your words paint pictures.


  22. eof737 says:

    Hope fully you wont join him… but he has eared his place… What a poignant story. Now we need pictures. 🙂


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