Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

10 August 2023

This little light of mine

A candle shot from the wedding of two friends.

I was reading about brothel candles, which populated European brothels between 1880 and 1905. The prostitute lit them as a timer, and you had until they ran out. (The candles are about the size and breadth of modern birthday candles, so maybe you're looking at 5 or so minutes? Definitely less than 10.)

This would be a good thing to implement for when somebody starts holding forth about a topic you just don't care about. You can lift a little birthday candle out of your pocket and hold it somberly aloft, and ideally they'd know they need to get all this out of their system before the flame hits bottom. Then you all have to move on, and they don't get to pick the next topic.

Blowing the candle out in bad faith would give them poor luck in that particular topic forever. Perhaps they'd develop an incapacity to get through it without stumbling over their words.

There are some logistical issues. You need to be able to stab a birthday candle into something, so the idea works best if you're in front of food. But you can also get a small conical ceramic holder for one single birthday candle, and just keep it in your pocket. 

I happen to own one, which I procured at a weekend market in Totnes. It's a fun worry item to roll between your fingers, while maximising your capacity to set up a single candle anywhere without losing time, which is of the essence when somebody starts venting about the same old shit, or getting way too excited about a topic that even the furthest-iterated parallel dimension version of you has no interest in.

That's my big idea. The world suffers from an overabundance of birthday candles, mostly forgotten in drawers. They merit purpose. We could get this off the ground so easily in the TikTok era.