Love and Design: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trophies?

All relationships involve compromise, especially when it comes to decorating. For example, when I heard "trophies," I always thought of the wall of horseback riding statuettes my mother diligently dusted until the day I went to college, when they all went in the trash. At least, that's what I thought when I heard "trophies," until the day my father showed up with a freaking kudu.

A kudu is an enormous African antelope. And this wasn't just any kudu, it was a world-record-size giant kudu with twisty horns taller than a toddler — my father killed it on safari and while most of it was eaten, he came back with the hide, horns, and intent to make it a souvenir.

"WTF?" said my mother. "You can't bring that thing in the house! We'll look like crazy people!"

All relationships involve compromise — the kudu itself was a compromise when my mother realized that she couldn't stop my father from shooting something, so she used her spousal veto to prevent him from shooting anything that looked like a pony or a kitty (no zebras and no cats, basically) — but she wasn't expecting him to bring home a 20-foot deer carcass as a souvenir. He'd have to compromise.

"How about just the front quarter? It can be walking out of the wall," he said.

"Think smaller."

"Just the horns?"

I thought the horns should be mounted on my father's chair in the dining room like something out of Game of Thrones, but nobody ever listens to me. Instead the horns were put behind one of the couches in my parents' living room. It doesn't look so bad, and compared to the initial "kudu emerges from the condo wall" idea, the effect is downright subtle.

Kids of course love their trophies, but where does one draw the line at adults displaying their trophies prominently in the house? Only if it's an Oscar? A little gold football trophy? A thousand little gold football trophies? A 20-foot kudu?

It's probably somewhere before the kudu.

(Image: Elizabeth Licata)

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