I had another “Alyssa Moment” while at the Tuttle Mall in Dublin, Ohio. While my wife Lisa asked if she could look around Lane Bryant, I went to take our six-year-old daughter Alyssa to the kids play area. Yet Alyssa was complaining that her stomach hurt and that she needed to go to the bathroom. So we walked over to the restrooms where she ordered me to stay outside of the Women’s Room. This wasn’t too big of a deal since she’s matured a lot and has been going to the potty by herself with no problem. In fact, she insists. After all, she’s a young lady now. As I waited outside and browsed around on my iPhone for three minutes, a woman in her late 50s came out of the Women’s Room asking if I was the father of a little girl. Uh, oh. What was it now? I wasn’t too surprised. She informed me that a little girl was crying out from behind the toilet stall, “Help me!” Then two young teenage girls, also concerned and confused, came out also looking around the corner at me and the woman wondering what to do. They couldn’t figure out if the little girl in the toilet stall was hurt… or lost… or what? They all wanted to assist in any way they could. “Help me!” I overheard Alyssa cry out. I really didn’t want to charge into the Women’s Room when I didn’t know how many other women were in there. Seeing that wasn’t able to go inside, the concerned and empathetic older woman (and now Good Samaritan) informed me that she would go back in and see what the problem was. Meanwhile, I waited outside wondering what was it this time? I mean, what could have possibly happened?! I figured she needed some help fully pulling up her pants or something. The older lady asked her what she needed. Then I overheard the urgent answer: “I need more toilet paper!” Yep. That’s my daughter. Crying for help in public because there was no more toilet paper in the public stall. The two concerned teenage girls laughed in relief as did the older woman, who gave her more toilet paper under the stall door. I myself couldn’t tell if I should be too embarrassed to laugh, or laughing from embarrassment. Help me, fatherhood is awesome! The little girl was “saved” and another crisis at Tuttle Mall was averted. 10 TV News could be called off. When Alyssa left the Women’s Room, I had to re-explain to her that she can’t just cry out “Help Me!” in public, but rather to just ask anyone in the restroom if they had any more toilet paper.
Once we walked back to Lane Bryant, Lisa was finishing up her shopping and I informed me of what had happened in the public restroom. At first, she was mortified. But once I told her the punchline, she got a good laugh out of it. Thanks, kiddo.
My favorite ride on the Midway at the Ohio State Fair, The Fire Ball, malfunctioned this evening (on opening day), one person died and seven were badly injured. This is pretty unnerving for me since I’ve been on this ride many times over the past few years. I can’t help but feel deeply unsettling because it could have been me on that ride when it malfunctioned. It could have been you or your child. Out of the blue, some part of the ride broke loose. It’s terrible to hear of any loss of life at a place meant to bring fun, escape, joy and thrills. I even filmed on this ride with a GoPro camera with a safety chest mount back in 2014 just to experiment with the fisheye SuperView lens. If you’re curious, here is the video I made of the ride three years ago, (now) cryptically named “Wild Amusement Park Ride”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbUvZF9ji_k
I’m not going to lie: the day after Easter is sort of like an especially sweet day for me. For those in the know for insanely good savings, it is “Discount Easter Candy Day”. Most stores that have Easter candy have their overstock at 50% off. You see besides the day after Easter, this only happens a few times per year after a major candy holiday where you get this incredible deal, which is Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas. So on my 25-minute drive home, I calculated multiple stops for me to take full advantage of this super-sale. I first stopped off at Walgreens on Henderson Rd. I almost didn’t this year because last year they barely had anything. I’ve learned that Meijer is the best bet with the largest overstock selection and most variety. Yet I figured to give Walgreens a try since it was right on the way. This year they had a pretty great variety left over with the chocolate-covered marshmallows in the egg carton (a personal favorite of mine since they rang up for only 54-cents per carton), Bunny and Chick Peeps (you can’t celebrate Easter without Peeps!), malt ball eggs, egg gum balls, Sweet Tarts jelly beans, Cadbury chocolate eggs, and Cadbury mini crème eggs. It was the regular version of the Cadbury crème eggs that proved to be the hardest the find. They were completely sold out at Walgreens. I walked out of there buying $22 worth of Easter candy, which is a pretty good score.
Yet as I did my day after Easter shopping, I was also rather morally conflicted because all this candy was becoming severely damaging to me as I am middle-aged man. More importantly, I am now diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I needed to be extra careful to not have all this extra candy lying around the house. I had to remind myself that I was only getting it because it was a great deal that could tide our family over for half a year! It was about portion control and not giving in so easily to eating sugar just because it was around. I knew that I was buying some for my students in my three classes as well. All I needed to do was look down at my extra expanding gut to know that I didn’t need too much junk food to make me get even fatter. So I reminded myself to be extra careful with my calorie intake per day. I was buying for the year!
My search continued since I was curious what the others had for sale. I stopped off at Kroger, which didn’t have their Easter candy fully marked down to even 30% off. From there, I headed over to my main destination that I knew would have plenty of candy: Meijer. Surprisingly, they were mostly cleaned out! Last year they had an abundance of Cadbury crème eggs. This year they only had one spare one lying on a cleaned out display area. They just had some bunny Peeps left behind and that was it. I was rather surprised. It was a good thing I had stopped at Walgreens then. Since I still hadn’t found many Cadbury crème eggs (which seemed to be worth their weight in gold the day after Easter), I decided to make a final discount candy stop at CVS pharmacy on Bethel and Sawmill. Surprisingly, their candy hadn’t been picked over too much, though they didn’t have a huge display amount. Still, they had enough variety to make me happy along with two containers of Cadbury crème eggs.
My sale day, quest, and journey was now complete. My “starving artist” students will be able to feast on Easter candy for the rest of the semester no matter if they believe in Jesus Christ or not. Until next time….
I just so happened to have re-watched the movie “1984” about a year and a half ago. Back then, the movie experience unnerved me a bit because so much was coming true. But I wasn’t too deeply troubled. Yet this morning, I stumbled upon this old movie trailer for “1984” at a website remembrance for the late John Hurt. I cannot express how disturbing and unsettling it is to watch and bare witness to this movie’s message now. Everything in that movie (and book) feels far more real now. It was once considered science fiction. Now it is suddenly science fact. (Unless you don’t believe in science or facts.) The majority of “1984” (the book is now the #1 bestseller on amazon.com) is actually happening. Every line from the trailer is taking place. It sent a cold shiver down my neck. The only thing inaccurate about it was the date was off. Instead of “1984”, it should have been titled “2017”.
Narration from the beginning of the trailer: “George Orwell had a haunting and terrifying vision of what the world might become. He imagined a world held in the grip of fear. A world of absolute conformity… of continuous surveillance… of organized hatred… and ceaseless war. A world where pleasure is forbidden… where history and language are being systematically destroyed… and where living people simply vanish.” Hmmm… does this remind you of any nations or world leaders?
At Alum Creek’s “Fantasy of Lights”, my daughter Alyssa met Santa for the first time without freaking out. Normally, she has a severe phobia with Santa Claus for her entire life. I mean, Santa has always freaked her out to the point where she would have a major meltdown. So neither Lisa nor I knew fully well how she would do this time around. Alyssa was a bit nervous, but was game enough to sit on Santa’s lap. At first, Alyssa was a bit more interested with the basket of candy canes sitting next to her. Yet once Santa asked Alyssa what she wrote down on her list for what she’d like for Christmas, Alyssa was able to engage and converse back to him while smiling happily. Upon seeing how well she was doing, I sincerely started to tear up crying. This was one of those small victories you pray for as a parent. It was like feeling a pound of hope descend upon your body and being. I put my arm around Lisa because our daughter with high-functioning autism was managing to be a happy, “normal” little girl for the holidays.
I am pleased to report some positive election news that everyone can (mostly) be happy about. My daughter didn’t have school on Election Day because of possible unrest and safety concerns. But they did have school the day after and got to participate in their first “election” by voting for either “Duck”, “Grace”, or “My Teacher”. After all the students in her kindergarten class voted in their first ever Civics lesson, “Duck” ended up being the winner! And you know what? Everyone was okay with it… even the teacher who didn’t get picked. There wasn’t even a “Grace”, yet some kids still voted “Grace”. (Was it for a “her”, or for “a merciful state of being”? I wonder.) I just wish all elections were this simple and less divisive.