Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Back when I worked at the antique store, it was always fun to see what items the dealers would put in their booths. Most of the time it was regular antiques like glassware, furniture, toys and etc. You know, the regular stuff that you see in most antique shops. Of course most dealers always had their eye out for that one of a kind item, the item that no one had ever seen before or at least didn’t know what it was. It was always good to have a couple of these attention getters in your booth and this one dealer brought in a stop-in-your-tracks-look-twice type of item.

Yep, he brought in a real human skull. No, he wasn’t a serial killer and no he wasn’t a grave robber either. The skull was originally used for teaching would-be doctors at a medical school. Since it was expensive and we didn’t think the demand would be very high for a real human skull, we assumed it would stay in the store for a long time. We were looking forward to all the crazy conversations that it would create and the opportunities to scare people, especially if it lasted until Halloween.

Wouldn’t you know it? The next day a customer who was a doctor came in and decided to buy it. We couldn’t believe it when she set it on the counter and asked us to hold it until she was finished shopping. Wow, and we didn’t even have time to give the real human skull a name. Since it was going to leave the store in just a few moments, we didn’t have any time to lose. So we grabbed the Polaroid camera for some instant photos. Naturally, the camera was down to it’s last and final photo. Since we didn’t have any more film we had to make this one count. The skull looked kind of naked and boring sitting on our security monitor. It needed something else. I ran over to a toy dealer’s booth and grabbed a Mickey Mouse ears cap that made the real human skull ready for its close-up.

I pushed the camera’s button and ZZZTT, out came the instant photo and at the same time came the doctor ready for her gruesome purchase.

Doing my best Chevy Chase impression I stumbled around to hide the camera and Mickey Mouse ears so the customer wouldn’t notice. She knew we were up to something, but was probably too afraid to ask. So we went thru the motions of a regular sale just like she was buying an antique coffee pot instead of a real human skull.

A few years later, she let me know that she named the skull after me and whenever she was giving lectures, the skull was always referred to as Todd. So, if you meet a real human skull that shares my name, tell it that the old employees at LOY say howdy!

If it wasn’t for Polaroid’s instant camera, this silly memory would not have been as fun to share.


Mike Middleton said...

You should be real proud of your namesake NC. I thought it was the skull of some unlucky Jungle Cruise passenger!

Anonymous said...

I KNEW LOY was trafficing in human remains!

Major Pepperidge said...

I have a real human skull (besides the one on my neck)!! My mom found it at a junk shop in Wisconsin. The lady at the counter refused to touch it, so my mom had to wrap it herself. It has the top cut off (though it is present), and there is a red lightbulb in one eye socket and a blue one in the other, and a little bit of wiring (they don't light up anymore).

Todd Franklin said...

Mike - Yeah, this would be a fun prop at the Jungle Cruise!

Anonymous - Hmm... are you talking about LOY as is in the store or Loy as the person? I'm going with Loy the person! :)

Major - I bet your skull (not the one on your neck) would look good in some 3-D glasses. So, have you given your skull a name?

Ernie said...

We had a skull on the coffee table for a year or so in college. One of my roommates was a med student, but he always claimed he found it at a yard sale. We used to keep it on the coffee table with all the various remotes arranged around it in the shape of a pentagram. We got quite a few doubletakes as people looked in the picture window.