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We went to Taos, about 2 hours north of Santa Fe, as searchers. We came hoping to find two things: a celebrity sighting or a novelty t-shirt. We left with neither.
Taos has become a favorite for celebrities of a certain obnoxious type. As Emily described it, Taos is a happy medium between the the hokey southwest flavor of Santa Fe and the competitive out-doorsy ethic of Colorado. Men wear powerful mustaches and flannel jackets without flinching. Women don big safari hats and drive Subaru Outbacks with authority. Taos is the home to Val Kilmer, who is now probably too fat to live here, Julia Roberts, and Donald Rumsfeld. Although we treated ourselves to a dinner at a very posh establishment, we did not see any of these beautiful people.
In our minds we see a t-shirt. It has a wolf howling at the moon. It has some purple in the design. It looks a little airbrushed. Perhaps there is an elk or an Indian feather. We began our search for this shirt in all six of Taos’s novelty t-shirt stores. Although we found many gaudy possibilities, none met our exacting standards. We did find many shirts and trinkets that depicted Kokopelli, the humpbacked Hopi fertility god who is, for reasons beyond understanding, ubiquitous across the Southwest. There are Kokopelli hats, shirts, mugs. Kokopelli sells motels, cars, and time shares. The Hopi and Zuni usually depicted Kokopelli with a gigantic phallus, as he was their fertility trickster and it stands to reason he was all about knocking up ladies. The Kokopelli who bids you to sleep at his motel room, however, does not boast an erection. I can’t help but feel that it might be more effective if he did. Instead, he is emasculated.
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