The Cold, Hard Truth About Edward From Twilight

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Twilight post has generated enough discussion that a follow-up is definitely in order. Over the past few days I have learned a great deal about why so many women have fallen head over heels for Edward from Twilight. (Just to clarify, I'm referring to head over heels in love, not in the literal "Clumsy Bella just fell down again" sort of way). I have also learned that a significant number of the female readership of this blog have unhealthy, semi-disturbing attractions to every male Lost character not named Hurley. Since so many of you are Lost fans, most of you will get the following reference.

When Charlie is locked in the hatch of the flooding underwater communication station, he learns that the rescue boat they are trying to contact does not belong to Desmond's girlfriend, Penny. As the hatch fills with water and he knows that he is going to drown, Charlie writes a warning message to Desmond on the palm of his hand. In dramatic fashion, Charlie presses his hand against the window so that Desmond can read the warning from the other side. Charlie has simply written, "Not Penny's Boat".

Ladies, I hate to do this to you, but you need to know something that is critically important:



(I thought the frowny emoticon was necessary or else many of you would have wrongfully concluded that Edward was fooling you in a good way, such as by humbly concealing additional desirable qualities that will be revealed in future books.)

I will explain in detail why you need to be warned about Edward in just a moment. But before doing so, it is important to discuss what it is about Edward that women find so attractive. One very astute NMH blog reader left the following insightful comment that helped to shed a lot of light on the subject:

"Excellent blog, but you missed one very important point--you ignored what it is about Edward that actually makes us swoon. Please stay with me here. When you consider Edward's perfections, I suspect that you think we're all ga-ga over his beautiful looks, mega-strength, speed, and infinite wealth. I concede these are compelling qualities, but every comic book has heroes that meet that measure, and I have no interest in any of them. What makes Edward different? (Here's where you and all the other intimidated husbands can take heart.) We love Edward, because: 1) When he takes Bella to a restaurant, he doesn't look at any other woman (not even the hot server who's flirting with him.) 2) He speaks with a soft, low voice; occasionally, he growls. (Why I like that, I have no idea.) 3) He actually WANTS to know what she's thinking. 4) He cares that her seat belt is on. (I know . . . I'm a disgrace to my feminist academic heritage.) 5) He plays with her hair. Am I right, girls?? So, the good news is: theoretically, Edward's greatest moments can be replicated by mere mortal men. (Or maybe that's bad news; we kind of expect it.)"

Right now I'm shaking my head in sorrow for you women who have been duped by Bella's flawed perception of Edward. He is not perfect. In fact, he is actually a con artist who happened to find a really gullible girlfriend. (Uh-oh, wait, knowing that Edward is a con man might make all of you Sawyer fans out there even more attracted to him.) You must remember that the Twilight stories are told from Bella's first-person perspective and what you read is not reality, only her perception of reality. As I began reading Twilight, I quickly realized Edward had simply mastered the art of deception and Bella (and many of you female readers) fell for some of the oldest tricks in the book. Allow me to take the five points from the comment mentioned above (What Women Believe) and explain how you have been deceived (The Cold, Hard Truth - an obvious ode to Edward's physical makeup).

What Women Believe: "When Edward takes Bella to a restaurant, he doesn't look at any other woman (not even the hot server who's flirting with him.)
The Cold, Hard Truth: All guys, including Edward, love food. I mean, really, really love food. Edward has seemingly managed to convince Bella that he has no reason or desire to eat, but it's a sham. I am pretty sure that he keeps a supply of Tater Tots in his fanny pack (as most of us now do after seeing Napoleon Dynamite) and snaps into a Slim Jim every time Bella loses consciousness from some freak accident. While Bella was overjoyed that Edward paid no attention to the flirtatious waitress, the only reason he never acknowledged her was due to the fact that he was completely lost in thought about the Denny's breakfast slam he had ordered. When a man is thinking about eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and pancakes at the same time, there is no available brain capacity to think about anything else, even a flirtatious waitress.

What Women Believe: He speaks with a soft, low voice; occasionally, he growls.
The Cold, Hard Truth: As a man who lives in Washington, Edward is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan. While he was watching the Seahawks lose to the Rams, he did what most guys do when their team is stinking it up - he yelled at his television for three straight hours. The next day, he had to speak in a soft, low voice because he had damaged his vocal cords berating Shawn Alexander for hitting the line of scrimmage like a pansy. The occasional growl is also easily explainable. Edward plays fantasy sports and very deftly checks box scores on his Black Berry under the table to see how his players are doing. When he sees that Tayshawn Prince scored 6 points on 3-12 shooting and committed four turnovers, a soft growl is the only appropriate response.

What Women Believe: He actually WANTS to know what she's thinking.
The Cold, Hard Truth: While Bella is pouring out her deepest emotions, Edward is actually thinking about funny Simpsons episodes from his Season Six DVD.

What Women Believe: He cares that her seat belt is on.
The Cold, Hard Truth: Edward was indeed generally concerned that Bella wore her seatbelt. This emotion was not faked. However, most women do not understand why he cared so much. The main reason is because drivers in Washington can be ticketed if passengers in their vehicles are not wearing their seat belts. Edward already has two moving violations on his record for speeding and a third citation will result in traffic school and the loss of his insurance. Edward would prefer to avoid having to spend his Saturday afternoons at "Dangerous Dave's Driving Academy" and putting up with the hassle of signing up with Geico.

What Women Believe: He plays with her hair.
The Cold, Hard Truth: Oldest trick in the book. Most guys know that playing with the hair is much easier than rubbing the feet of your wife or girlfriend, but it scores just as many points.

One last Edward quality that I know many women dig is his incredible ability to play the piano. When he performed Bella's song for her, Edward must have melted the hearts of millions of female readers. While Edward may be a good pianist, you women need to remember that it is only one instrument and he has had 100 years to practice. Having a husband or boyfriend who has mastered all three Rock Band instruments (guitar, drums, and microphone) in six months is much more impressive.

Hopefully this sets the record straight and you now see that Edward is just as flawed as the rest of us guys out there. Ladies, you can look all you want and will never find perfection in a man. In the February 2008 Ensign there is a great article called, "Dating and the Eternal Perspective" which perfectly sums up my thoughts, "You will likely not find [a] perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. How wise is the [person] who does not expect perfection, but looks for potential." So in the meantime, ladies, just be happy with your man who happens to take it personally when his NFL team loses, loves his pancakes, and wants you to be proud of him when he passes "Next to You" on Rock Band. Afterall, he is thinking of you while he plays it.

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Mormon Inventors

As Mormons, inventiveness is in our blood. Many of us are the direct descendants of the pioneers who arrived in the Salt Lake valley in the 1840's and innovation was necessary to their daily survival. As for myself, I am a descendant of Joel Hills Johnson (1776-1882) who was both a pioneer and an inventor. In 1829 he patented a shingle cutter machine and the patent was signed by President Andrew Jackson and VP Martin Van Buren. (I can just imagine Pres. Jackson's Secretary reviewing his calendar with him, "Mr. President, you will be decertifying the National Bank from 8:00-11:00, signing patents from 11:00-12:00, removing the Indians from 1:00-2:30, and then your 3:00 appointment will attempt to assassinate you." A defiant Old Hickory responds with, "Ugh, another assassination attempt? Can you move that up to 11:00 so that I can sign patents in the afternoon? I tend to write faster after the adrenaline gets going.")

Our Mormon heritage of hard work and inventiveness were later reflected in Utah's one-word state slogan - "Industry". At the time, most state mottos were written in Latin, but our ancestors wanted to make sure that future generations were not stuck with something meaningless such as, "Ad astra per aspera" (Kansas), "Sic semper tyrannis" (Virginia)", or "Visit Dollywood!"(Tennessee). Our forefathers continued on the hard work/inventiveness theme when they designated the honey bee as the state insect. Not only did the bee invent how to harvest, process, and preserve honey, it also works every minute of every day of it's life until one day it freaks out, goes insane, and says, "I can't take it anymore! I'm going to sting the next person I see mowing a lawn, even if it does kill me! I welcome death when compared to this life." If we could hear what bees say, I'm pretty sure that after being stung we would hear a faint, wispy, defiant voice saying, "....and...I...hope...you're....allergic...." Hopefully we as a people have adopted the innovation and industrious qualities of the honey bee, and not the inclination to harm others. Well, except for during men's church basketball, of course.

The list of Mormon inventors is actually pretty impressive. Here are some of the most recognizable contributions to humanity provided by members of the LDS faith:

-Television. Invented by Philo Farnsworth in Rigby, Idaho. Legend has it that when he first got the TV to work, "Music and the Spoken Word" was already being broadcast on KSL. I've also heard that on his deathbed he commented, "I foresee the day in the year 2008 when my talkie-picture-jigger will allow two Mormons named Brooke White and David Archuleta to gain national fame as the last two finalists on American Idol. (He also said Shawn Bradley and Keith Van Horn would be perennial NBA All-Stars, so Idol fans need to take that prediction with a grain of salt.)

-Synthetic Diamonds. Invented by William Hall, who was probably really young, really broke, and really wanting to get engaged. He is the unsung hero for all poor 22-year-old return missionaries who have been dating the same person for more than six weeks. Real diamonds are way too expensive, anyway. Well, William Hall is a young LDS man's best friend until that dreaded day six years into his marriage when his wife comes home after getting her wedding ring cleaned and says, "Honey. Guess what? The jeweler said the strangest thing when he looked at my ring today......"

-Scrapbooking. Seriously, we get credit for inventing scrapbooking. If you don't believe me, read the third paragraph under "Creative Memories" in this CNN article. I originally wanted to die cut this section of the blog and put some fancy journaling along in bottom in a font called, "A Yummy Apology", but my HTML skills are not good enough.

-Loud Stuff: Electric guitars (Alvino Rey), stereo sound (Harvey Fletcher), and headphones (Nathaniel Baldwin) all originated from LDS inventors. Now every time your 15-year-old junior Home Teaching companion insists on listening to his iPod on the way to your monthly visits, you will know that we only have ourselves to blame.

-Hearing Aids: In addition to inventing stereo sound, Harvey Fletcher is also credited with inventing hearing aids. He was probably in the same ward as Alvino Rey and Nathaniel Baldwin and overheard them at the Pinewood Derby discussing the electric guitar and headphones. Brother Fletcher could immediately see that in about 10 years, a fair amount of people would lose their hearing thanks to those two inventions.

Random tangent on hearing aids: When we were first married, my wife took a job as a telemarketer with a small hearing aid company in Provo. She would randomly dial names from the phone book to ask people if they were interested in purchasing hearing aids. People who had no interest immediately hung up, but the people who were hard of hearing would say, "What? Speak up, I can't hear you." She would then ask them in a louder voice if they needed hearing aids. The customer would ask her to speak up again, and the vicious cycle continued until my wife was shouting and the person would eventually hang up in frustration. Could you dream up a less effective way to sell hearing aids? The story gets better - my wife quit after her first payday when she was given an envelope full of cash and was told that no taxes needed to be taken out.)

Since inventing is in my blood, I wanted to throw a couple of ideas out to my faithful readers. Each of you has exquisite taste, so please comment and let me know which invention you think would sell the best if it were launched:

1. Taco Bell Burrito Repair Kit -
I have an unhealthy appetite for Taco Bell burritos (hold the onions, and the e-coli, please). They are cheap and delicious, but can also be very messy because as soon as I take my first bite, the remainder of the burrito explodes out the bottom of the tortilla. Am I the only person with this problem? Am I too aggressive with my eating style? I need to know if I'm alone in this. Or is this just a way for Taco Bell employees to get back at us after taking 6 1/2 minutes to place our orders, only to change them at the last moment? Anyway, the invention that I am envisioning would look almost like a glue gun that you would load with Mild Sauce sticks. Once the burrito begins to break, you cauterize the hole with a sticky, delicious shot of Mild Sauce. Presto! No more Taco Bell messes and the last few bites will be heaping with sauce. Sounds like a win-win.

2. Sound-Proof Baby Carriers - My wife and I are excitedly expecting our third child in May. With the wisdom of two children behind me, I've considered creating a sound-proof baby carrier. It would look like a normal carrier, but would have a clear plastic retractable dome shield. There would also be oxygen pumps to make sure the baby had plenty of air. Look, there are times when a baby is going to cry no matter what you do. When that happens, just slide the sound-proof shield down, keep making cutsie faces at your child, and then open the hatch back up when the child settles down or goes to sleep. Just think how much better Sacrament meeting and airplane flights would be with this contraption.

3. Dual Exhaust Snorkeling Kit. My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a cruise through the western Caribbean. While we were snorkeling, I felt like I was breathing through a straw and swallowing a lot of ocean water. And while swimming on the surface, I struggled to last more than a few seconds at the bottom where the fish were. The DESK (Dual Exhaust Snorkeling Kit) would have two very wide tubes for you to breath through. They would also be about four feet long so that you could swim beneath the surface without holding your breath.

4. Bacon Scented Candles. I normally only eat bacon on special occasions like my birthday and Father's Day. Smelling the sweet aroma of bacon wafting through the house makes me believe that today is a special day. Bacon also has a wonderful lingering power. After smelling it all morning, you become accustomed to it. Then you leave for church, come home four hours later, and the house still smells like Jimmy Dean! It's wonderful. The final touch to the bacon candle is that the wick would be coated with a special resin so that it makes popping sounds, like bacon grease in the frying pan. Mmmmm......bacon.

If you haven't invented anything recently, then it is your duty to your heritage to comment and let me know which one I should try to bring to market. Who knows, working together we may become the next Philo Farnsworth, William Hall, Alvino Ray.....

The Twilight Series for Dummies (And Totally Desperate Mormon Guys)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I used to roll my eyes when I would hear women lament about how hard it is to be female in today's world in which feminine "beauty" is generally measured by dress sizes, inches on the waist, and letters of the alphabet. I have heard 1,968 women say, "How can you grow up as a girl who plays with Barbie dolls and then develop a healthy self-image once puberty begins? If Barbie were a real-life woman, she would be 5'11, weigh 128 pounds, have a 16-inch waist, and don't even get me started on her...(edited for content)." Another favorite complaint from one of my female friends in the early 1990's was, "Why is Cindy Crawford's facial mole considered a 'beauty mark' but people tell me that my mole makes me look like a witch?" The correct answer was technically because Cindy Crawford did not have several 1 1/2 inch-long hairs sprouting to life from her mole, but sometimes it's just better to say, "Yeah, that's soooo totally unfair. Wanna watch Saved By The Bell?"

I could never empathize with the "It's Impossible to be Barbie" complex. After all, I grew up as a kid playing with He-Man action figures. If He-Man were a real person, his pecks would be so powerful that they could legally be given Super Delegate status by the Democratic party. Assuming, of course, that He-Man were a registered Democrat. (Those of us who faithfully watched the show know that He-Man has to be Republican. At the end of every episode He-Man would present a short "moral lesson" in which he used a portion of the episode to illustrate right choices from wrong. As a person who believes in absolute morality, He-Man would be ineligible to join the Dems. But I'm pretty sure Man-at-Arms was a Democrat, Battlecat was an Independent, and Orko a Communist, so the show was pretty balanced.)

While I grew into a fully-functioning adult male with a healthy self-image despite my boyhood He-Man obsession, I have recently become more sympathetic to the women of the world who know that they will never look like Tyra Banks. This added measure of sensitivity has been thrust upon me by one person:

Stpehenie Meyer.

For men who are unfamiliar with Stephenie Meyer, she is a 34-year old BYU graduate, active Mormon, and stay-at-home mom. A few years back she decided on a whim to write a book about teen-aged vampires called Twilight and it rocketed to the top of the NY Times Best Seller list. New Moon and Eclipse soon followed and they were both best sellers as well. As to her personal fame, Stephenie Meyer recently knocked out Orson Scott Card in the third round of an Ultimate Fighting Championship event to become the undisputed most famous living Mormon author in the world. (The most famous dead LDS author is obviously C.S. Lewis, who had to have been a member since he is quoted in General Conference more often than all of the New Testament apostles combined.)

I like Stephenie Meyer for a lot of reasons. It is wonderful to see somebody who is about my age and a BYU graduate make it big. Her books are worth reading and she keeps the language and content clean. She also allows every husband in the church hold out the hope that one day he'll come home from a horrendous 10-hour day at CompUSA and be greeted by his ecstatic wife who says, "You're not going to believe this, but Creating Keepsakes wants to buy my scrapbook template pages for $1.8 millon!" While most of the Twilight phenomenon is undoubtedly positive, we as men have an obligation to begrudge Stephanie Meyer for two reasons:

1. Edward.
2. Jacob.

Or, as I like to call them, Jerk Face #1 and Jerk Face #2. If you have not read the books, Edward is Bella's deep, intense, passionate boyfriend. Jacob is the funny, charismatic, forgiving friend who would do anything to make Bella his. They both possess magical powers that are far superior to any of the tie tricks that LDS guys learned on our missions (except for blowing on our tie to make it wilt like a flower, that's classic!) In other words, both Edward and Jacob are much, much more interesting than any of the husbands or boyfriends of the women who read the Twilight books.

LDS men should feel as much contempt toward the two main characters of the Twilight series as a woman recovering from her fourth c-section in seven years feels toward Barbie. Approximately 97% of all Mormon women between the ages of 16 and 42 have read Sister Meyer's books and I'm guessing that 92% of them wish their husbands/boyfriends were more like Edward or Jacob in some way. The other 8% have a crush on either Jack, Sayeed, or Sawyer from Lost. If you happen to be dating a young woman and she reveals that she has a crush on either Sawyer or Sayeed, your in pretty good shape. It is highly unlikely that she will ever meet a surly con artist or a former Iraqi Republican Guard torture expert, let alone be swept off of her feet by them. But if your significant other has the hots for Jack, be very, very afraid. There are a lot of divorced, desperate 30-something doctors out there trolling outside of Bath and Body Works looking for vulnerable women whose husband/boyfriend just did something incredibly rude, such as forgetting that today marked the 1,000th day since your first date.

Since most women would like their men to adopt at least a few of the Edward/Jacob qualities, I'll lend a hand to my male readers who have not yet read the books but would like to make it sound like they have. If you ever find yourself in any of the situations below and your wife/girlfriend is a Twilight fan, the following quotes will be pure gold:

LADIES: PLEASE HELP US OUT AND POST COMMENTS TO LET US KNOW WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING QUOTES YOU LIKE THE BEST:

-If she thinks that you drive too recklessly: "Honey, please trust me as much as Bella trusted Edward when he had to break all known traffic laws to get her out of Forks and away from Victoria. If he can drive Bella's pickup truck that recklessly, then I should be able to steer with my knees while texting with my right hand and using my left hand to hold my Slurpee."

-If she ever says on a very warm day, "I feel so hot right now" you should respond with, "My body always feels hot to the touch....kind of like Jacob's." You can then raise your eyebrows like Magnum P.I., flex your pecks, and put your arm around her.

-If she ever says on a very cold day, "I feel so cold right now" you should respond with, "My body always feels cold to the touch....kind of like Edward's." You can then raise your eyebrows like Magnum P.I., flex your pecks, and put your arm around her.

If she says that you have a fear of commitment, tell her, "I just can't rush into a relationship right now. My heart's been broken before and I would like for our relationship to take the next step, but I often feel like Edward did when he left Bella for Italy. His heart was with her, but the timing wasn't right at the moment." Note: This will buy you approximately 3 1/2 months. You will then either have to put a ring on her finger or change your name to Miguel Sanchez and live in Panama for a year while things die down.

If she wants a relationship but you just want to be friends, just say, "I am so glad that we both agree that we can have a fulfilling, close relationship like Bella and Jacob enjoy."

If you really want her to back off and stop bothering you, tell her, "I'm really a creepy, soul-less recluse who thirsts for human blood. I have killed before and have to restrain myself on a daily basis from killing again. I'm not talking about in a heroic, romantic Edward-like way. I'm talking in a really deranged Jeffrey Dahmer way." Note: You will never, ever, EVER see her again at this point, so only bust it out when absolutely necessary.

If you are on a date and there is an awkward lull in the conversation, get a pensive look on your face and say, "I was reading on stepheniemeyer.com that the next Twilight book is going to be told from Edward's point of view. I can't wait to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the emotional trial it must have been for him to be away from Bella for so long during New Moon." Note: If you say this, your female companion will get down on her knee and propose to you on the spot. Only use this line if you are seriously considering taking this young lady to the temple one day.

If she is insecure about her looks and repeatedly asks you if she is pretty
, stroke her hair and gently say, "Sweetheart, you always look beautiful...in a Bella sort of way." Note: If you've never read the books and try this line, please post a comment with how this one works out for you and how long it takes for the bruising to heal.

Once you are married, write the following in your next wedding anniversary card, "I am eternally grateful to know that we can be together forever. I am even more grateful that I did not have to sink my vampire teeth into your neck and suck out all of your blood to make it happen." Believe me, she'll dig that one.

Just Added (see comments): After numbing your lips by sucking on a Popsicle, ask her, "Have you ever wondered what it feels like to kiss Edward?" Note: She will be utterly helpless when you close your eyes and lean toward her.

Well, guys, there you have it. Be sure to check the comments to see which of the quotes will score the most points with your wife or girlfriend. In the meantime, do everything possible to act like an undead vampire and/or a teenage werewolf while keeping the love of your life away from Jack from Lost. And women think they have it hard trying to live up to the Barbie standard? If they only knew how hard it is to be a man!

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The Price of a Boy's Soul? $1

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Satan owns the Dollar Tree. I'm convinced of it. If you don't believe me, just read the company's mission statement that I've copied from Dollar Tree's website. You can click to enlarge and make it easier to read.


(One of the lesser-known aspects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to oversee corporate governance is that companies must fully disclose if their majority shareholder is Satan.....or George Soros.)

As if it's not hard enough to grow up as a well-adjusted boy or young man in today's confusing, temptation-filled world, Lucifer has an additional arrow in his quiver. Through his ownership of the Dollar Tree outlets he has cleverly released a plague on the rising generation - "A Surprise For A Boy" bags. It is actually a very devious marketing ploy. In short, they take 4-6 toys for boys, shove them into a "Surprise" bag, staple the bag closed, and let boys wonder with anticipation which toys are in there. Kids get several toys for the price of one, so why not roll the dice? Adults understand that every toy that is sold at the Dollar Tree is hanging from the racks because of one or all of the following reasons:

1) Wal-Mart placed an order for 2.6 billion cheap, Chinese-made toys and managed to only sell 1.4 billion of them. They threw the remaining 1.2 billion leftovers in a giant dumpster in a dark alley behind its corporate headquarters. Under cover of moonlight, agents from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, All-a-Dollar, and every fast food restaurant that gives toys in its kid's meal silently emerged from the shadows, raided the dumpster, and then melted away back into the blackness with this year's inventory in haul.

2) The slave laborer in the Malaysian plant making the toy misspelled a few words on the item. Instead of writing, "Beautiful Princess Make-Up Kit" it came out "Bxtfliu Pranklss Mffl3 K+t". One time I saw one that read, "My name is Musa bin-Osman. I have been held at gunpoint for nine years and ordered to make 4,000 Princess kits per day. If I fall below my daily quota, I will be tortured and killed. When I surpass my my quota, I am mercifully only tortured. Please send the authorities to 195 Monjamar Aven........ooohhh...aaahhhhh....ugggggg............"

3) The toy is already broken. If it is not already broken, it has been programed to spontaneously burst into flames during the car ride back home from the Dollar Tree.

About two months ago I was out and about with the kids and decided to make an impromptu stop at Dollar Tree and "spoil" them with one item each. Whitney purchased a defective Cinderella doll that looked like it had been painted by a chimp with cataracts and uncontrollable hand tremors. Brandon picked up "A Surprise for a Boy" bag. When we got home and displayed the contents across the floor, I had to re-read the packaging to make sure that it was not called, "A Surprise for a Future Triple Homicide Convict". It contained:

1. A "Death Ninja" complete with every type of slashing blade and blunt object imaginable.
2. A knife that looks fit only to be used to hold up a Citgo at 3:49 a.m.
3. A deck of face cards, just in case my six-year-old son goes to his weekly poker game and they run out of Aviators.
4. A small container that looks like play-dough but I'm pretty sure it's actually plastic explosive that could be used for blowing up the vault after robbing the local Wachovia.
5. Bubbles. (They may seem harmless, but I think it's to strengthen his exhaling muscles for when he takes up smoking.)

After confiscating most of the "toys" in his bag, I decided it would be wise to pat Brandon down just in case the bag had corrupted him and he was packing heat. While there were no guns, I did find a homemade prison-style shank in his sock. I immediately sent him to his room, but he escaped after burrowing a tunnel through his wall that led to the root cellar. He had concealed the gaping hole in the wall with a Pokemon poster. Once we located him and brought him back home, life went back to normal. That was until Thursday night when we went back to a different Dollar Tree in Asheboro and Brandon decided to get another "A Surprise for a Boy" bag. I thought Satan may only assemble the bags at the Greensboro store, so I let him buy it. This bag was even worse than the first one, if you can believe that. One by one Brandon removed the contents until the following items had been revealed:

Pictured Below:
1. A 12-gallon garbage bag.
2. The 9, 10, Jack, and Queen of clubs.
3. Several Styrofoam dinosaurs.
4. A punctured, deflated green ball.
5. A yellow getaway car.

Not Pictured:
6. One pair of men's shoelaces.
7. A fruit roll-up.
8. An unmarked juice bottle of some kind (I smelled it just to make sure it wasn't alcohol before he drank it.)

I only wish that I was making this up, but sadly it's true. Fortunately Brandon laughed the whole thing off. The look on his face was priceless though when he reached his hand into the bag, pulled it out, and with a befuddled expression said, "It's......a.....garbage......bag." Let this be a post be a warning to parents of little boys everywhere - don't be caught off guard if you buy a surprise bag and it contains a bloody glove, ice pick, Al-Quaeda training video, candy cigarettes, and a legion of evil spirits. Next time you are at Dollar Tree, avoid the surprise bags altogether. Instead go to the book aisle and buy a copy of Bible Stories because your son may need it in a few years. Just don't get upset if most of the book of Ruth is misspelled. It's being sold for a buck for a reason.