Such is the topic I’ve picked for today.
Well, I saw a gargoyle the other day. In Texas of all places. (Not sure why but everytime I think, “Gargoyles in Texas” the song “Werewolves in London” starts running through my head).
So I went to a book event in Texas and while we were walking around looking for food, we walked past this unbelievable stone building. An old courthouse they call Old Red. It was possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen….keeping in mind I don’t get out much.
And while I was staring at this beautiful building I noticed the gargoyle. So, of course, being of a twisted nature, I immediately thought of y’all here, our beloved readers of P & P. Rather than write a lovely blog about turn of the LAST century construction methods or American Ingenuity or even TEXAS…how obvious is THAT???….I stared at that weird gargoyle and a topic came to mind.
So I researched gargoyles and found to my surprise there is a point to it all.
A gargoyle is a carved stone figure with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building.
The term means “throat” or “gullet.”
That’s right, a gargoyle isn’t just cool or weird or artistic. It’s not a figure meant to drive away evil spirits (that was my first guess). It has an architectural purpose, to catch water and make it pour off, away from the building to protect the foundation. It’s the 1600th century answer to rain gutters.
And of course I soon found out too, that after they first used gargoyles for practical (if ugly) reasons, they soon began just slapping ugly creatures up on their building for ‘artistic’ purposes. I can hear the architect now, whining, “Why does the cathedral at Notre Dame get a gargoyle and I don’t.”
“The building’s foundation was at risk and in France, to no one’s surprise, there was a sale on the really UGLY water spouts so they bought them.”
“I’m holding my breath until you give me a gargoyle.” Architect drops to the ground and begins turning blue while kicking his feet.
So enter the era of the chimera or grotesque figure, (no, the term grotesque figure has nothing to do with the failure of my latest attempt at dieting, shut up)
So there you have it. No idea if the gargoyle up on the top of Old Red spouts water but I doubt it because it’s not on the edge of the building. So, shame on Texas for perching a gargoyle up on top of Old Red and not having a practical explanation for why, why, why they thought it was a good idea. They could at least have put a Stetson on his head.
So, ever seen a gargoyle? My kids watched the cartoon. What do you think? Admit it. You want one. Good bye gutters and downspouts, every one here is going to put a gargoyle on their house just as soon as they can afford some daffy French architect to slap one up there.