The Gardener to The Illiminati aka Licensed Electrician knows everything. Why splinters hurt. Why pasta tastes better cooked. Why we think, and why we usually don't bother. All mysteries are clear as a lightbulb in a bug jar to his vast intellect. He's the repository of all knowledge, all philosophy, all science, all the answers. He is The Old Man... Il Vecchio. His role in The Commedia is The Doctor, of letters, of advice, of pills and band aids. A bed-ridden patient could easily weaken while The Doctor chats him up about everything but the cause of the malady. An opposing council could easily concede defeat in order to escape his unendurable, ceaseless eloquence. As both Groucho and W.C. Fields furiously rattle their mad inanities, so The Doctor always leaves his audience breathlessly astonished at what in the heck he was talking about.
However, as The Gardener, this Doctor has a PhD in illumination, aka The Enlightenment of his own reasons. As a horticulturist to secret societies and political non-investigation, he most certainly is on the payroll to The Illuminati but will never admit it while he keeps shoveling tinsel in the dark. Sound familiar? Know this guy?
The Gardener was inspired by a gift from Marsha, the owner of Tinsel Trading, a legendary shop that used to live in the old garment district and sold leftovers from The Great White Way. One day I saw, a golden rag in the sweepings on the floor. It was essentially just cheesecloth with faded, glass glitter like tired fairy dust down on its luck and headed for the Staten Island landfill. I said to Marsha, "How beautiful" and she said, “It's yours.”
That rag was the beginning. It hug around for years losing it's shimmer as the glue died and then one day while digging through Arty Alexander’s junkstore (which is a long story I'll have to tell you about some day) I came across mica that had been used in electrical plugs. With their pre-drilled holes they looked like mineral sequins that had the same magic as the fabric. Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth came to mind. Georges Melies on his way to the moon.
Then on another "one day" I wandered into Canal Surplus, a place that used to sell an odd assortment of all sorts of things mostly metal (which is a long story I'll have to tell you about some day) and standing there, staring at the copper foil, copper wire, copper mesh, copper grills and chains, and coils and springs and die-cut shapes of indeterminate purpose, it hit me – “Well, of course, electricity!” Thus his garden shed of roof tiles and copper leafed trellises threaded through with refrigerator tubing wisteria vines. Life began in a garden.
The Gardener stands a full 4 1/2 ft tall and his garden shed is 10 Ft tall, 4 ft square.