In the meantime, local officials will continue to harvest Garfields
March 28, 2019 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Since the 1980s, fragments of orange Garfield telephones have washed up on a beach in France. A lost shipping container had long been theorized, but the source of les téléphones Garfield has finally been found.
posted by Etrigan (73 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
The shipping container of lasagna has not been found yet.
posted by ardgedee at 8:30 AM on March 28 [31 favorites]


Aw, I had that phone as a kid. It was the centerpiece in a remorselessly Garfield-themed room that continues to be a source of teasing and light-hearted ridicule from my family to this day.

... come to think of it, the fact that I am still not particularly embarrassed about this may say something about the many other even more hideously embarrassing things I did and was as a kid ...
posted by DingoMutt at 8:39 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Damn. I really needed new handsets for my production samples. Instead, I tossed the things out. Had I known about this, I'd have learned to scuba, booked a flight, etc. etc.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on March 28


Since the 1980s, fragments of orange Garfield telephones have washed up on a beach in France. A lost shipping container had long been theorized, but the source of les téléphones Garfield has finally been found...
And it was a lost shipping container, so they were right.
posted by dbx at 8:46 AM on March 28 [25 favorites]


Frankly, this sounds like the beginning of a The Magnus Archives episode....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:49 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


the plural is Garvesfield
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:57 AM on March 28 [79 favorites]


I read "Once a common household item..." and I thought "what, Garfield phones?", and then I realized no, they meant corded landline phones in general and that they have to explain that to average BBC reading adults now and how did I get so old
posted by aiglet at 9:04 AM on March 28 [47 favorites]


"they will continue to harvest Garfields from the coastline" is such a potent phrase
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 9:07 AM on March 28 [55 favorites]


Shards of plastic Garfields washing up on beaches is real Existential Garfield mood.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:07 AM on March 28 [17 favorites]


Reached for comment, the shipping container only replied, "je déteste les lundis"
posted by Mchelly at 9:09 AM on March 28 [64 favorites]


This is the best thing I've read in awhile -- thanks!
posted by lilies.lilies at 9:09 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I wanted one so badly.
posted by k8t at 9:10 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I still find it hard to believe it's always been spelled Garfiald
posted by oulipian at 9:10 AM on March 28 [35 favorites]


There is something apt about an ongoing dump of cheap plastic Garfield merchandise into the ocean from a shipping container trapped in an inaccessible spot on the coast.
posted by nubs at 9:12 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]


Dismembered orange plastic cats and their electronic innards have plagued Finistère for years.
Really a shame Saint Etienne discarded this song.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:17 AM on March 28 [17 favorites]


This will be used as a plot point in Punch Drunk Love 2.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:18 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


"they will continue to harvest Garfields from the coastline" is such a potent phrase


"Along the coast of Brittany, old traditions persist, and many still live as their ancestors did, centuries ago. Pierrick, who rises early every morning to gather mussels from the Bay of Mont Saint Michel...Léna, who still brews cider using the same method taught to her by her grandmother...Iouen, who walks the beaches at low tide, collecting the bits of Garfield phones, as the men in his family have always done..."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:22 AM on March 28 [71 favorites]


Volunteers' rubbish hauls frequently feature ocean-battered cartoon cats

Probably the strangest sentence I will read this week; it scans like a pangram, although it obviously isn't.
posted by TedW at 9:35 AM on March 28 [19 favorites]


Christ, I thought the harvest of WW1 munitions they have to deal with yearly was bad. Sacre Orange!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:36 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Damnit, I worked so hard to hide that horcrux....
posted by stevis23 at 9:49 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


I really loved Garfield when I was 8. Now I have become a creature who hates Mondays and loves lasagna. So it goes.
posted by poe at 9:56 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Humanity might not even exist a century from now, and still the bits of Garfield phones will wash up on the lifeless shores of Brittany, mocking us for eternity.
posted by briank at 9:58 AM on March 28 [14 favorites]


also I like how the reveal could be straight outta Lovecraft, but it's a shipping container full of Garfield phones what's in the mostly-inaccessible sea cave that only the locals know about, instead of some eldritch/squamous what-have-you
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:59 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Humanity might not even exist a century from now, and still the bits of Garfield phones will wash up on the lifeless shores of Brittany, mocking us for eternity.

It’s like bitcoin mining using more carbon then the country of Ireland, we’re gonna make ourselves extinct in the stupidest possible ways
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on March 28 [15 favorites]


Yellow plastic Odie phones are wanted for questioning.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:15 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


I read "Once a common household item..." and I thought "what, Garfield phones?", and then I realized no, they meant corded landline phones in general and that they have to explain that to average BBC reading adults now and how did I get so old

A couple years ago, my then 6 year old daughter asked me "what does the green talking app on iPhone have a picture of???", having no idea what a telephone headset looks like. She as born in 2010, and even for the very short time there was a non-mobile phone in her house, it was always dusty in corner an only (never) used for 911 calls.
posted by sideshow at 10:34 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Is this viral marketing for Stranger Things 3?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:36 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


The #O2 migrate for hundreds of miles each year, heading south during the winter to take advantage of the abundant cricket harvests and trade with other tribes, then back to the north again during the often brutal summers, subsisting upon grains harvested from the remains of long-gone agricultural sites. Of critical importance is the annual Garfield harvest, the beginning of the tribes' new year and the foundation of their economy. Not only are the bright orange plastic shards traded with other tribes in exchange for foods, tools, spices, and fabrics, but every part of the Garfield is used: the plastic-coated, coiled cords are braided to make sturdy ropes, receivers are shaved down with stone tools and turned into brittle and short-lived wheels for the tribes' characteristic low carts, and other parts can be melted down and fashioned into glue, ornaments, bone scrapers, bowstrings, building materials, or other items, as the occasion demands. They possess a primitive but robust accounting system, which relies on the precise attachment of various items to locations on the coiled cords which sometimes also wash ashore, and the kinks introduced in those cords.

The #O2's 13-character alphabet also consists of characters from the Garfield: 5 • * 7 # 4 M 1 ∞ 2 3 O TY. The Garfields are so critical to their success that they are said to have at least a hundred and fifty unique words to describe the various parts, often also specifying the degree of wear or breakage of the item, or the location or circumstances in which these items were found. (E.g. TY7• is any intact receiver, TY7M4 is an intact receiver recovered from the water, TY7M5 is an intact receiver recovered from land, TY∞* is any incomplete receiver, TY33 an incomplete receiver fragment of less than half the size of a complete receiver, etc.) Most valuable are the #5•#5•, describing a complete Garfield containing all of its original components, of which only three are known to exist: these are used ceremonially, by priests, and are carefully guarded both from other tribespeople and from outsiders.

In recent years, the annual yields of Garfields have declined. Two main theories have emerged among the #O2, leading to fights and at times threatening to break the #O2 into separate tribes. One group, referring to historical legends about the Garfields' origin, believes the number of Garfields to be finite, and say that the decreasing numbers are because the supply is becoming exhausted; the other group blame the decline on a decrease in the strong winter storms that have been associated with bountiful Garfield harvests in the past, possibly due to divine punishment.

In either case, the #O2 will continue to harvest Garfields from the coastline for as long as they continue to appear, be it another year or a hundred.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:46 AM on March 28 [43 favorites]


I think "harvesting Garfields" has to be a euphemism for something, but I'm taking suggestions as to what.
posted by howfar at 10:51 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Crappiest SCP Foundation backstory ever.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:54 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]


I think "harvesting Garfields" has to be a euphemism for something, but I'm taking suggestions as to what.

I don't know about that, but whenever I go to the bathroom, I say, "I'll be right back, I've gotta drop some Garfield phones on a beach in France."
posted by cottoncandybeard at 11:00 AM on March 28 [19 favorites]


The tweet embedded in the article is a clip from the wonderful film Ninja Terminator, starring Richard Harrison. An excellent cinematic use of the Garfield phone.
posted by hyperbolic at 11:01 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


One could have had a chat chat on those phones! C’est la guerrefield.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:09 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


I think "harvesting Garfields" has to be a euphemism for something, but I'm taking suggestions as to what.

It's all about the Garfields, man. Or it was. Until we quite the gold standard and there was the inevitable runaway inflation and it became about the Benjamins.
posted by The Bellman at 11:11 AM on March 28


I still find it hard to believe it's always been spelled Garfiald
I think you mean Garfailed.
posted by evilDoug at 11:40 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one piece of Garfield on the beach
I don't understand why, when I needed you the most, you would not provide."

The Lord said: "I'm sorry. The number you have reached is not in service at this time."
posted by Floydd at 11:46 AM on March 28 [14 favorites]


> Really a shame Saint Etienne discarded this song.

Radiohead got "Fake Plastic Garfields" out of it, so it's not a total loss.
posted by ardgedee at 11:58 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


i bet these use the old 30-pin connector and use a regular ol' sim instead of a nanosim or an esim to make calls.
posted by anem0ne at 12:00 PM on March 28


MetaFilter: harvesting Garfields
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:04 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Walked out this morning
Don't believe what I saw
A hundred billion Garfields
Washed up on the shore
Seems I've got no glee in beating Odie!
A hundred billion cats await
Looking like orange pho-ones
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:27 PM on March 28 [8 favorites]


People forget that all Garfield phones used to come from the sea. Before factory farming took over.
posted by rhizome at 12:34 PM on March 28 [10 favorites]


I can't quite land the joke that's riffing off Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone, but it's in there somewhere.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 12:35 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Over Sea, Under a Blanket Because It's Lundi
posted by Etrigan at 12:49 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Mchelly: "Reached for comment, the shipping container only replied, "je déteste les lundis""

C'est cá

Lacks Gallic ennui, cigarette in hand though
posted by chavenet at 12:59 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Oh dear god, I begged and begged my mother for one of these when I was a kid to no avail. She claimed these weren't licensed to be used in Germany (now I wonder if that was the truth or just one of those parental lies).
posted by Skybly at 1:02 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


This is how the butter of Brittany got culture.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


"Harvesting Garfields:" A selfless, technically practical effort to make the world better, which is rendered mostly symbolic by the overwhelming size of the problem compared to the actor's resources.

"You're trying to eat local because of global warming? That's just harvesting Garfields, man."
posted by Western Infidels at 1:20 PM on March 28 [14 favorites]


The merchandising team for Dilbert are the prime suspects for the original shipping container wreck.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:28 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


"they will continue to harvest Garfields from the coastline" is such a potent phrase

I'm surprised nobody has used it for a sockpuppet account yet.
posted by suetanvil at 1:47 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


The merchandising team for Dilbert are the prime suspects for the original shipping container wreck.

Surely it's Nermal's revenge for the time Garfield shipped her to Abu Dhabi.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:51 PM on March 28


Le MetaFilter: Vous vous souvenez des téléphones #Garfield ?
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:07 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Bad art project idea:

A beach made entirely out of plastic Garfields of various sizes and states of fragmentation.

The boulders and cliffs? Giant fiberglass or roto-molded orange and black Garfield heads, bodies and haunches, filled with sediments and layers of even smaller plastic Garfield heads and bodies, layers of crushed pieces and whole pieces of many different sizes. Waves crash against a giant plastic Garfield head the size of a house, jumbled against car-sized boulders of Garfield battered by surf, the head reclining and half-buried in orange and black sand, the heavily lidded eyes staring obliquely skyward, the ears crumbling, spilling smaller Garfields into the sedimentary bluff of Garfields.

The beach and sand and shells - plastic Garfield pieces. Hundreds and hundreds of yards of nothing but orange, black and white plastic, eyes and tails all mixed up, so many bulbous eyes in the duff.

Scoop up a wet, crunchy handful of beach. Amid the larger shells and fragments and the orange, black and white plastic sand there are tiny plastic Garfields, some as small as a pea, most in various different poses. A tail, a leg, a pair of black and white eyes, many, fine grains and bits of orange and black plastic sand clinging between it all. Some are the size of a pebble and just a Garfield head. Some are as small as a grain of wheat and show a delicate figure of Garfield pushing something, perhaps pushing a missing Odie or Nermal off a table. Many are just fragments of Garfield in a variety of sizes, a tilth and loam of pieces of Garfield. Dig into the beach, find pockets of matching-sized pebbles of Garfields stacked up by the wave action, an area of plastic sand and sediment and much smaller Garfields over here, a field of nearly all pebble-shaped Garfield heads over there.

You look at your hands. Bits and pieces of Garfield cling to them, speckled in orange and black and white plastic sand. On the tip of your finger there's the curled up, sleeping shape of a Garfield barely the size of a flea.

Scoop up another handful of beach and pluck out one of the pea-sized Garfields, brittle from UV exposure. This Garfield appears to be wearing a napkin around it's neck and holding up a tiny knife and fork as though about to eat a pan of lasagna, but there is no pan of lasagna. There is no Jon, no Odie, no Nermal. No lasagna. Just Garfield. You hold it up and carefully contemplate, turning it in the sunlight, the details fine and accurate as if grown there. It crumbles in your fingertips like a tiny shell, falling away and immediately lost on the beach.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 PM on March 28 [10 favorites]


this is not a comic strip
and that's a phone - not a cat
the arrangement's not - quite - quite there

And Garfield on the beach
Garfield on the beach
Garfield and me...
posted by nubs at 2:26 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


There is no Jon, no Odie, no Nermal. No lasagna. Just Garfield.

I would pay big bucks to hear this read aloud by Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:28 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Countdown to appearance in Square Root of Minus Garfield... ten... nine...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:36 PM on March 28


This is just to say

I have released
the Garfield phones
that were in
the container box

and which
you were probably
hoping
would stay submerged forever

forgive me
They were adorable
So wet
And so zeitgeisty
posted by Mchelly at 2:48 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


I find the whole thing a little depressing, actually.

If he knew where the container was all along, why not tell someone 35 years ago? Even if he didn't know that was where the Garfields were coming from, it might've been salvagable. He could've prevented it from spewing God-knows-what crap into the sea for the best part of 4 decades.
posted by Pinback at 3:03 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


You're on a beach walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and you see a Garfield phone. It's ringing. The phone lies there, baking in the hot sun, ringing, trying to get somebody to answer. But you're not answering, Leon, why is that?
posted by nubs at 3:11 PM on March 28 [29 favorites]


I think "harvesting Garfields" has to be a euphemism for something, but I'm taking suggestions as to what.

Harvesting Garfields sounds like the name of an alt-rock band that just barely managed to have a single crack the Top 100 for a few days in 1994, and now they show up in every "You Know You're a 90s Kid If..." listicle that gets written for whichever content farm is buying.
posted by invitapriore at 3:39 PM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Gather your Garfields while you may
posted by acb at 4:18 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


The shipping container of lasagna has not been found yet.

This makes me think they totally passed up the opportunity to make a lasagna-shaped answering machine.
posted by rhizome at 4:48 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


On the one hand this story is amazing, on the other hand, I feel like my life went wrong somewhere if this is the first I've heard of the beach in France where Garfields have been washing up for decades.
posted by ckape at 7:18 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Standing on the beach with Garfield in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
posted by stevis23 at 7:34 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


I like how the reveal could be straight outta Lovecraft
posted by prize bull octorok at 19:59 on March 28

I'll just leave this here.
posted by quinndexter at 12:55 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


If he knew where the container was all along, why not tell someone 35 years ago?
In this French article, the farmer says that "at the time, there were a lot of things coming from the sea" and refuses to "give further details". The reason is simple: wrecking, the practice of taking valuables from a shipwreck (or lost containers in this case), is tightly regulated in France and elsewhere. These guys were probably doing that frequently and kept the goods for themselves, which is totally illegal. They certainly weren't going to tell the gendarmes about it.
posted by elgilito at 1:56 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Harvesting Garfields sounds like the name of an alt-rock band

Homer Simpson, smiling politely...
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 4:35 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


As I said on Twitter, this is some kind of metaphor for Generation X, I just don't know what.
posted by matildaben at 9:46 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


If you want a vision of the future, imaging plastic Garfields washing ashore - forever.
-- Jon Orwell
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:24 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Guys, when you pick up the phone, Garfield opens his eyes, and when you hang it up again, his eyes close.
posted by straight at 3:00 PM on March 29


Someone wished that this caption be made into a Star Wars "crawl".

So, I obliged.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:52 PM on March 29


Also anyone discussing Garfield in 2019 needs to watch this video on a loop for 24 hours straight,
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:53 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
You don't hate Mondays: You hate CAPITALISM!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:58 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I found the image of the plastic cat phone bits very poignant in a crouton-petting way.
posted by exogenous at 1:12 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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