RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!!
Wait! Before you start rifling through your official Winter Olympics program in search of an event that neither you nor the Olympic Committee knew existed because it’s on at 3 a.m., I should clarify that this battle cry has nothing to do with an Alabama-style Biathlon with live squirrels.
What it means is that it’s time once again for The Box, an exciting Tuesday feature that combines the drama of investigative journalism with the thrill of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. Think of Keith Morrison teaming up with John Quinones, except that Keith Morrison has rabies and might bite John Quinones.
Each week, I put my 15 years of journalistic experience to the test by identifying a randomly chosen photograph that has remained unclaimed in our newsroom since as far back as the 1980s. What makes this weekly feature unique is the photo selection process, which involves:
1) Me dumping The Box of photos directly onto the floor, and;
2) Yelling “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” before turning “Skippy” loose in our newsroom.
The photo nearest the first person who screams is selected!
Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense; it’s probably just the rabies! But you can trust me when I tell you that I utilize my years of investigative journalism experience to identify the individuals and circumstances within the photo. Past discoveries have included: the very first Jesus photo bomb, a senior citizen Viagra smuggling ring, and evidence that aliens not only exist but have a terrible fashion sense.
Before I reveal this week’s photo, I should explain that the biggest mystery still remains:
How did a photo from the S.S. Titanic end up in our archive of unclaimed photos?
Being a professional journalist, believe me when I say I didn’t just see her hat and those chandeliers, then jump to some half-baked assumption.
My assumption was, in fact, completely baked when I determined that this was unquestionably an authentic photo taken of “Rose” aboard the Titanic — probably by “Jack.” How do I know this? Sometimes you have to go with your gut. And my gut tells me those are the eyes of love…
I have to admit, when I saw this woman holding what appears to be a digital camera, I momentarily questioned the validity of my conclusion…
Like any good investigative journalist, I dug deeper and examined the photo more closely. That’s when I noticed something only a trained journalist’s eye would catch. If you didn’t notice it, don’t feel bad! When I showed this photo to Barbara Walters, not only did she overlook this subtle clue, she also called my conclusion “Cwap.”
What was the final clue proving the photo’s authenticity? Look closely…
Oops, sorry — not that close. We’ll put some ice on that in a minute. But first, see the woman in question? She’s wearing tiny white gloves. No one wears white gloves anymore! This confirmed that the photo was, indeed, completely authentic.
And as for that thing she was holding, which at first glance appeared to be a digital camera? It was probably a pepper grinder. Or make-up compact. Or the box containing the Heart of the Sea necklace.
Regardless, although we’ve been able to positively identify that this photo is of the real “Rose” from the S.S. Titanic, and that she looks nothing like Kate Winslet, solving the mystery of how the photo ended up in The Box continues.
But if I had to guess — which completely goes against my training as an investigative journalist — I’d say it came in with that big blue door that leads to our editor’s office.