The fórcola is the strange looking oarlock on the rear of a Venetian gondola.  One of those objects whose form reflects centuries of use and gradual design evolution. In a little shop selling toys and ornaments, I bought a 3-D puzzle of one from a friendly and talkative craftsman who told me that this particular design is a fórcola for a boat that is somewhat more sporty than a regular gondola.

For me, it’s the perfect souvenir.  It sits on my desk at the office, and I take it apart and reassemble it endlessly as I sit in my chair, barely listening to the droning voices during pointless teleconferences.

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