Thursday, April 27, 2006

Confesions of the 12 O'Clock Mouse

I'm stealing from a friend. But I will fully credit her superb cleverness and editorial accomplishments by directing you to the original source of this landmark variation of time honored children’s' tales: I do hope you enjoy this half as much as I did, and if you feel the need to make any historical clarifications of rhymes or fairy tales from your past, by all means send them along!

"Hickory, dickory, dock, the mice ran up the clock,
The clock struck Twelve.
Then Seven ate Nine & Ten.
And so Twelve ran down,
Filed an insurance claim, called the police, and charged Seven with cannibalism.
Hickory, dickory, dock..."

....The Untold Story of the Twelve O'Clock Mouse....

After recovering from the concussion he received from getting struck by the unusually long minute hand, the 12 o'clock mouse, was able to acquire massive amounts of insurance money from the emotional trauma of seeing his friends eaten...Since 12 o'clock was an extremely wise investor he became very wealthy and, by the end of his life, was a billionaire. But, the 12 o'clock mouse had always been a very generous mouse and so when he died he left all his money and his estate to the poor, forgotten 11 o'clock mouse, whom he had just met a few days before, when 11 o'clock was playing his violin on the sidewalk near 12 o'clock's house. The 11 o'clock mouse was struggling financially and had been mugged and beaten up, which had left him blind. 11 o'clock had not been able to find work for years and so he went on welfare, because no one wanted a blind mouse in their nursery rhyme corporations. As a result of inheriting all this money, 11 o'clock was able to use the money the 12 o'clock mouse gave him, and he traveled around the world with a few friends to help him find other blind mice. He discovered one who joined his quest, and they found a third, but an unfortunate event took place upon discovering him. The second mouse that they discovered was a farm mouse, right as they convinced this mouse to join them, so they could start an independent business, the farmer's wife came rushing at them with a knife. All three mice survived, but they all lost their tales. So, the three mice, joined forces and created their own company called, the Three Blind Mice Organization, and they spread their story of overcoming great obstacles and survival to the world in a rhyme. They became wildly famous and started a foundation for other blind and injured mice who could not find jobs and helped them get on their feet.

Later on, they expanded their business to not only help mice, but all individuals from other Rhyming Corporations that needed aid, including providing homes, jobs, etc. They even helped Miss Muffet after she left her job over at Little Miss Muffet Inc., because the new spider they had hired was verbally abusive. They also helped the fifth little Piggy from the This Little Piggy Co. after he had to have an operation on his vocal chords and couldn't scream, "Wee! Wee! Wee!" anymore. In addition, they helped the entire Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Co. after they had to make a huge job cut when fewer and fewer people were asking what stars are, since science is removing the mystery. So the Three Blind Mice organization had an incredible impact on its community, helping countless numbers of individuals and continues to, even today, despite the downfall in the use of really worthwhile Nursery Rhyme Companies.

There is one thing for certain though, whenever you ask the 11 o'clock mouse/the First Blind Mouse where he gets his inspiration, he will always tell you the same answer, "It all began with one individual.......The 12 O'Clock Mouse..."

Disclaimer: This post is the product of a very long week and may also be credited to another pensively discerning individual.

All I have to say is, a true 21st. Century nursery rhyme could only be achieved through verbal inflation.

Rewriting history, one nursery rhyme at a time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Memoirs of a Driver's Ed Student

Driver's Ed

The following was found today in a pile of old file CDs. It's been a random day so I feel compeled to share with you writing that is a good 7 or so years old entitled The Incredibly Random Memoirs of a Driver’s Ed Student with Too Much Time on Her Hands. And yes, this is what I wrote in Driver's Ed class instead of notes. If I remember correctly I commented somewhere on the girl's Hulk Hogan shirt that was in the desk in front of me...but that didn't make it into this bit, sorry!

• The beginning— Test time. The room is still and silent save the rambling antics of the old air conditioning unit. The tests are collected and the instructor begins. “How many of you go to church,” Mr. Hedrick asks in his Jonathan Edwards-like humdrum inflection. Nearly the entirety of the class raises their hand. “Good, that means we have a bunch of honest people in here.” We proceed to exchange papers having no earthly idea how our fellow bastion of honesty would have us grade in regards to leniency and answer variations.

• Back form break— The saga of sob stories continues with an overdone appeal to the emotions of we lead-footed modern American teenagers. After the video, we once again repeat every jot and tittle, every gory detail of all three pages in chapter two, which we have covered in such exorbitant and elaborate detail for the entirety of the three hours of our dreary presence here today—save the brief time given to take two tests (even though this is only day two into our grand adventure in boredom).

Hold that thought…we’ve finished twenty minutes early, but wait, that’s not all…. We can’t simply get out early, nooo. We must have a re-incarnation of the “rat walloping” as demonstrated to the world by both The Princess Bride and our very own Mrs. Scheaffer. Surely we cannot commit the unfathomable sin of wasting time, therefore we must— watch our third movie of the day!!

Day 3

• What to know— Tell me honestly, am I looking to become the CEO of Minike or do I simply want to get my permit? What ever happened to sticking to the basics? Crank shaft, drive shaft, pistons, dip stick, and ABS have replaced the good ‘ol explanation of “here’s the car, here’s the keys, ignition, steering wheel, peddles, and gear shift—now drive safely”.

• Wooaahh! Culture shock— We’ve just completed a “What’s your view” info/opinion sheet. The very first statement was, “When I’m in a group, I tend to lead others”. When asked to give our stance on that statement, I expected to raise my hand in agreement with, at least, a handful of other individuals, but found that my phalanges and metacarpals were alone in the vast presence of some 35 of their contemporaries.

• So many opportunities— Not much to write on thus far, other than the sheer fact that I am bored out of my mind. I can not deny the fact that I was warned, but what could have prepared me for this? I venture to say, nothing at all. But for now, I must study for test #3. Lord only knows what that will be like…. Well, um, yeesss. That was, uh, interesting, to say the least. I must congratulate myself—I have officially flunked my first test! Praise be to God, so did most everyone else so the test was not counted. Yet I have this nagging suspecting feeling that such a demonstration of leniency in that manner will not be dispensed again from the honorable Instructor Hedrick.

• Cooked goose— My, I may not get very many good stories out of this experience if things keep going so smoothly. It’s a shame really. I just asked Mr. H when I could possibly begin the driving skills part of my education—expecting, of course, that it may happen after my two weeks of classroom boredom, I mean training. (After all, I did want to help my parents drive this summer.) The man completely surprised me. “I think I can start driving with you on Friday of next week,” he said in (what I now thought to be) his melodiously angelic matter-of-fact fashion.

So now, my goose is cooked, and my stories are toast. Yet I will continue to write of further occurrences through out the next week and a half—whether drab and dreary or exuberant and exciting. But for now I must conclude these past three days of (Hhhmm) yes, well, and thank God for Sunday, for that, is what tomorrow is. Sunday (sigh), untouched by any misconstrued haphazard ideas of drive shafts, death penalties, drunk driving and the like!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Punctuated Life

I received a lovely e-mail yesterday from my good friend Jayme whom I traveled across the pond to see during spring break. She is among the most practical, humorous, and gifted writers that I know. Her turn of phrase is inspiringly original. Her ability to drawl wit from the mere bones of life is refreshingly profound. And her hunger to learn, read, and be more fills up the breadth and depth of her penmanship profession. But of all the correspondence I’ve conducted with the dear girl, yesterday’s e-mail was the most encouraging. There’s nothing like getting a note from a friend you haven’t heard from in some time. There was length to this note, but I don’t think that was the best part. There was humor in this note (Like the line: “sorry you were stuck in wherever-the-heck illinois or something. kinda a funny blog entry. i can't believe you were forced into more mcdonalds. it's just not your month for food.”) that, while refreshing, I still do not think was the best part—though the line I gave you touched on it. In all 306 words, 1,321 characters, and 6 paragraphs, there are about 16 non-ending punctuations, 6 capital letters, and 1 disclaimer:

lastly, i feel compelled (by shame) to acknowlege my terrible punctuation throughout this note - i'm just not in the mood to punctuate well. i'm having a little vacation from it.

Ahhh. That is the best part! How incredibly encouraging is it for a writer to take a momentary holiday from punctuation knowing full well that she’ll get back to it eventually because—as all good writers know—punctuation is a rule and while there are exceptions to most every rule, one must have a firm understanding and appreciation of the rule before one can break it.

So during this inverted season of Easter where the punctuated time of celebration and reflection have become the exception to our rule of the hustle-bustle-I’m-just-not-in-the-mood life, thank you Jayme for this reminder of priorities.

The punctuated life is a rule, one must know it before breaking it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ever Heard Of...

Ever heard of Rensselaer, Indiana? Me neither...until two days ago. It's amazing how little one cares about the small towns you travel through on your way to a specific destination until you get stuck in one of those little towns. By stuck, I mean stranded. In the middle of nowhere. Without a car. The closest restaurants (which happens to be an Arby's and a--*gasp*--McDonald's) are a good 1/4-1/2 a mile away. The road to freedom (Interstate 65) can be viewed by simply looking out your hotel room window and you're on the wrong end of that interstate.

Flat Corn Field
Flat Fields fo Indiana

Welcome to my world. My family's world really. It's been a trip of ironies and providences. We drove up to the Chicago area for the weekend to visit an old family friend who is getting up in years. That goal achieved, we began to head towards Indianapolis in the direction of home Saturday evening only to pull over at a gas station with smoke billowing from under the hood of our van. Visions of family trips going drastically awry flash into my mind. The closest place to get supplies at 9pm to try and patch up the problem was a Wal-mart some 6 miles away from our hotel. Wal-mart. The first irony. I hate Wal-mart. But it was there that a couple of employees heard about our plight and drove us to a hotel. I love Wal-mart employees. Irony #2: There's a McDonald's at the end of our hotel's road. I hate McDonald's...but now I realize I love the McDonald's employees. (Some times it takes dramatic and crazy situations to make you separate your strong dislike for the huge world-wide conglomerates from your opinion of the individuals of those who work for the huge world-wide conglomerates. Good lesson for me to learn!)

Clark Street
Clark Street: The Road to Wal-mart

So, yesterday I set out on a pilgrimage back to Wal-mart to pick up a few things we left in our van and to leave a key in one of those little magnetic hiding boxes for whoever was going to tow the van. It was a good walk. Long but good. I got a good look of the little town we're stuck in. It was a clear, cool day yesterday with blue skies and flat farmland painting horizons in every direction (basically there was nothing around for miles but I prefer to look on the aesthetic beauty side of life!). I went into the little grocery store right beside Wal-mart and discovered a gold mine in the form of a wine corner. Who da thunk! Podunk Indiana has a wine corner! I was so psyched! I've been in similar situations before where I found wine and didn't have a de-corker which means at home I have a collection of wine openers but the one's at home weren't useful at that point. Irony #3: Cashier, "You're not going to like this, but we're not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. You could go to Illinois." She says this as she 1) takes away my wine bottle and 2) rings up my wine opener. I admit, I was a little snippy, "Um, I'm not going to need that then am I," pointing to the opener. Sigh. I had to settle for Gatorade instead.

So here I sit, writing and documenting our adventure, why? Because I have a lot of time on my hands and I just so happen to have 1) my laptop and 2) an Internet connection? Yes, but I'm also looking for all the neat ironies, all the moments along the way where God has provided and our family has had to work together just to keep from going crazy! Oh, and if any one ever needs a place to stay in Rensselaer, Indiana, I recommend the Holiday Inn Express just off I-65. We know the owner now, so just tell 'em the Shore family sent you!

Holiday Inn Rensselaer
Holiday Inn Express Rensselaer