Every so often, I'll get a funny image in my head of something that is totally off the wall. Being a writer, I try my best to figure out ways to develop it into a story.
One such image occurred the other day, when I randomly thought about Abraham Lincoln parked outside the U.S. Capitol in a shiny red corvette, with the top down and his arm slung over the seat. He was wearing his top hat and smiling.
Nothing would make me happier than to figure out how to mold this image into a story. My problem is that I like plausible, especially when it comes to historical figures. I need to loosen up a little, I suppose, since anachronisms can be hilarious. Like how about a series of emails between firstname.lastname@example.org and HRHGeorge3@gmail.uk?
Alas, these are as far as I will likely ever get with these. Still, wouldn't you love to cruise the town with Abe in a sports car?
I find it terribly frustrating to recall something that I feel like should be part of the fabric of nostalgic pop culture and no one else remembers it. I am still looking for someone else that remembers the floating heads from Wheel of Fortune.
Way back when, Wheel of Fortune didn't give out cash for solving the puzzles, you got money to spend on the prizes they had in this showroom. There would be a segment, immediately after solving a puzzle, where the person's head would sort of float on part of the screen while the camera panned to the prize the person picked.
How come no one else remembers this? Did I imagine it, or is it so embarrassing that Wheel of Fortune is trying to hide it from our collective memories (as is the case with the holiday special with characters from a certain intergalactic conflict)?
I really do not enjoy shopping. I want to grab the things that I need and get out of the store. I don't want to browse, chatter or otherwise waste any more time than is necessary in the store.
This is clearly not a secret about me, because for years, legions of clueless old ladies are dispatched to the store to coincide with my shopping trips. They're positioned at key locations that I'm likely to visit. Once in position, they stand, oblivious to the entire world around them for inordinate amounts of time.
They ponder the font on the label of the potato chip bag; they look for their brand of canned corn when I swear all of the corn is grown on the same farm; they park their carts and study each and every single molecule that forms the sheet of paper that their grocery list is written upon -- all in front of the exact thing I need. Each and every single time.
I've tried everything to budge them: feigning tuberculosis, executing them in medieval fashion with my glare, wedging myself between them and my desperately needed product in the rudest way imaginable to get what I need. It doesn't discourage them, they multiply and spread out.
I promise that you can live out your days in front of the spaghetti sauce, just please move for a moment so I grab a jar and get out of this horrid place.
There's a secret battle being waged across America, by parents of school-aged children. It's fought on holidays, such as Halloween or Christmas, and on birthdays. The weapons are cute little bows, tied decoratively around treat bags, ghosts made with edible eyeballs and marshmallows. The prize is the title of the parents who are best at Pinterest.
The planning process begins weeks in advance, scouring boards and pins for the perfect, unique treat. Then you have to go about modifying it in some way to make it look like you didn't straight-up copy it from Pinterest. Of course, in the end the children don't really care if the candy canes are arranged to look like an old-fashioned sled, they just want the candy.
The problem that I have always struggled with is that there's no real payoff for winning the prize. You sit and meticulously twist pipe cleaners into pilgrim hats, the kids throw them away, the other parents simply retreat to the war room to plan how to one-up you for the next holiday. The only clear winner I see is Pinterest, who is all too happy to provide the battlefield (and craft stores who saturate the site with ads). It's a far cry from the days when I was in school, and you'd bring a bag of lollipops to hand out to the class.
Everyone has their "go to" candy bar, the one that's their favorite. Mine is a Kit Kat. I can count on enjoying a Kit Kat almost any time that I'm presented with one.
But every once in awhile, I'll stray outside my comfort zone and try to find something different. There are plenty of options to choose from: Twix, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, good old-fashioned M&Ms. My eyes always catch one of the more bizarre candy bars on the shelf, I confess I've never seen one purchased let alone someone who professes an undying dedication to it as their favorite candy bar. I'll pause here as you think of the weirdest candy bar on the shelf.
For me, it's the gray wrapper emblazoned with the blue-and-white type that says "Zero". Where do all of the people who like these things live? I can only assume that the population of Zero lovers is evenly distributed, but I've never once witnessed one being purchased. Does it have a fan club?
Come to think of it, I've never seen an advertisement for one either. Do the people working at the Zero division of the candy's manufacturer feel slighted? Who invented it? Is he rich? Universally despised for trying to convince the world that white chocolate is indeed palatable? Are people persecuted for their love of the Zero and hence only buy them in the middle of the night at out-of-the-way gas stations? And who, really, thought up the name? Was someone else already making "This Candy Sounds Gross" bars?
So I'm sounding an open call to all you Zero lovers out there: I have to know your story, where you come from and what catastrophic event in your life drove into the arms of such a wicked candy.
My brain is a curious thing. It bounces from place to place, from the exceedingly strange to the terribly mundane. Every once in awhile, something will pop into my head that is just completely out of nowhere. Totally random.