It’s a big job keeping up with all the cultural references, namesakes, and identity thieves of Gravel and of Gold—but we’ll continue to do it until our teeny tiny shop is 100% synonymous with those two words.
Let’s start out with this fellow from Las Vegas calling himself desertout on eBay who makes it his business to auction off miniature gold mining kits featuring zip-lock baggies of Real Placer GOLD gravel (no need to waste your time searching for the stuff yourself!), a pan, suction tweezers (which look like huh?), a 1/2 oz. vial to contain your newfound fortune, and instructions—all for a mere starting bid of $9.95, or $10.95 if you But It Now. Sneaky! And cool, but not as cool as our shop.
Then there are the too little, too late pack of 100 gold Mike Gravel ’08 refrigerator magnets, which could still be yours for a measly $149.99 + shipping and handling from JQdesigns. Of course, buying them would probably do very little to help out Mike, less to help rectify the blight of ’ems in that there product description, and may prove a distraction from purchasing something actually rad from our shop.
Well then. The bright, fresh coconut-laden island in this sea of copycat disaster has been the discovery of Gravel Gertie, an excellent lady character in the old Dick Tracy comics. Not just a character, she’s also a farmer widow! Cop fleer! Silver fox! Treasure map scalp tattoo haver! It’s all just too much good for me to paraphrase the Wikipedia paraphrase. I’ll serve it up for you whole:
Gravel Gertie – former criminal and now wife of B.O. Plenty. Introduced in The Brow episode. She is a widow for thirty years after her first husband sold her farm rights for a gravel pit and then died when his car backed into gravel pit. Tried to hide the Brow from the police after she found him in wrecked car; arrested when her hair from her clothes brush matched gray hair found near burning car. In a comic relief the Brow flees in terror when he catches his first glimpse of his guardian angel. In his struggle to escape an old fashioned lamp is knocked over; her shack burns down and her long hair is burned off. Later married B.O. Plenty and became mother of Sparkle Plenty. In a later continuity, it was established that Gertie had spent part of her childhood in an orphanage; while she was there, criminals shaved her head and tattooed onto her bald pate a treasure map showing the location of their buried loot, then allowed her hair to regrow to conceal the map … which was belatedly rediscovered well into Gertie’s adulthood.
Hero, right! Am I right! Amazing Aunite Gertie, come on over any time. Don’t be shy, we ain’t mad at you. We’ve got a stripey shirt with your name on it.