Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Rubben Stamps

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Rubben Stamps

Article excerpt

When I was about nine I had a John Bull printing set consisting of minute back-to-front rubber letters that had to be slotted into a wooden groove with a pair of tiny tweezers. I think I printed my name twice!

Twenty years later I received a rubber stamp of a hippo for my birthday. I refrained from uttering, "That's nice, but what the hell do I do with it?" I'd probably have thrown it in a drawer and forgotten about it if the foresighted gift-giver hadn't also included a black ink pad in the package. I stamped the hippo on a scrap of paper, then gave it a twin; then I stamped the gas bill; then I stamped all the spare bits of paper on my table; then I stamped the back of my hand. After that I carefully put the hippo and the ink pad in a box ... and forgot about them!

More years passed and I found them again. …

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