This week’s edition of The Box is special… Because it’s two days late

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel is more than a mascot; he's a weapon.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel is more than a mascot; he’s a weapon.

Welcome to a special Thursday edition of The Box! As I explained in a warning post yesterday morning, a flu outbreak reared it’s ugly head in my nostrils Tuesday. There’s more to this lame excuse highly justified reason for not having posted The Box on it’s regular day, but the fact that my situation was referred to by someone as “The Perfect Storm” is probably reason enough, even if that “someone” was me.

Suffice it to say, there were throngs of people who were all heart.

Wait, sorry. I’m still a little feverish.

I meant to say there were people wearing thongs at Walmart, where I posted an update yesterday morning while waiting for my medication. I blame those people for setting back my recovery process by at least a day.

Give or take a year. Continue reading

Take it from me: You can’t run from static electricity

image When I was a kid I had a book called Mysteries of the Unexplained that contained AMAZING BUT TRUE! stories aimed at stirring the imagination, eliciting a sense of wonder, and prolonging the bed-wetting experience by at least three years. I’d huddle beneath the covers with my flashlight and read about strange psychic phenomena documented by real scientists, physicists, private investigators, and the occasional freaked-out paranormal expert who, at the end of the story, usually abandoned his profession to become a plumber:

“Even now, after all these years, I can still feel those icy fingers whenever a cold breeze blows across my butt crack…”

Though the book was mostly about ghosts, aliens, strange disappearances and creepy folklore (“…so stand alone in the dark, if you dare, and hold a mirror while repeating the words Sassafras Sally and prepare to be slapped by a pair of wet tea bags…”), it was spontaneous human combustion that really got to me. I think it’s because, in my mind, ghosts, aliens, strange disappearance and folklore could all be avoided by exercising a little caution. Continue reading

Today’s Halloween costume is tomorrow’s therapy session

(Welcome to this week’s Flashback-Flashback-Flashback Sunday! No, that wasn’t an echo, or the remnants of a hangover. You read it right; this week’s post is an extremely rare flashback within a flashback within a flashback. OK, just to clarify, that wasn’t an echo either. It’s just that this week’s post covers three generations of Halloween costume traumas. In short: a Halloween flashback Tri Fecta..! Tri Fecta…! Tri Fecta..!
Ok, that time really WAS an echo…

They may not look traumatized now, but I’m saving up for my children’s therapy sessions anyway — just in case.

It was a conversation that I had been putting off for as long as possible, even though I knew it was my responsibility as a parent to sit down and have “The Talk” with my daughter.

It’s better that it come from me rather than her getting crazy ideas from someone at school, I told myself.

So I sat my daughter down, held my breath for a moment, then and asked:

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

For some of you, this is an exciting time that allows you to bond with your child by making their Halloween-costume dream come true.

For the rest of us, it’s a time when we cross our fingers and pray that our child’s “Halloween costume dream” is hanging on a rack somewhere at Wal-Mart. Because if it isn’t, we’ll have to make something, and therefore put our child’s emotional health at risk by creating a costume that could potentially scar them for life. Continue reading

Getting to the bottom of another random moment from The Box

After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I've decided it's just easier to leave it on.

After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I’ve decided it’s just easier to leave it on.

That’s right! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s not only a deadline day here in our newsroom, but also the day I quietly dump the contents of The Box — a collection of unclaimed photos dating back to the 1980s — onto the floor and randomly pick an image with the help of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. The photo closest to the person in the room who screams or gets bitten (quite possibly both) first is chosen! Given that last week was our first edition of this exciting new feature, I still maintained the element of surprise this morning, thanks to my stealthiness and what a fellow journalist called my, “gall to pull the same stunt that sent an intern screaming all the way to her guidance councilor.”

“HEY!” I offered in my defense, then drew a blank.

Which brings us to this week’s randomly selected photo from The BoxContinue reading

If you can’t fix it with gum or duct tape, it’s not a real VW bus

image When I first heard about Volkswagen’s plans to bring back the Microbus, I immediately decided it would become our new family vehicle. That’s because no mode of transportation offers the same level of excitement as riding in a VW bus.

Except maybe riding in a runaway mine car.

But that was always part of its charm, just like the seat belts that had to be double-knotted to the door handle; the innovative heating system that blended engine heat and exhaust fumes with just enough outside air to keep occupants from blacking out; and a horn that never EVER worked — and when I say never-ever, I don’t just mean on mine. To this day, I have yet to meet anyone who has actually had (or witnessed the existence of) a working horn on a VW bus. Remember, this was way before side-impact bars, breakaway bumpers and so many air bags popping out of places that, last year alone, false sightings of Pamela Anderson rose by as much as 64 percent. Continue reading