The curse of the blinking cursor

Tonight was one of those times when I had to sit in front of the blank computer screen for at least an hour before I got an idea for the weekly column. I had bounced a couple of ideas off Lance earlier in the evening, but he gently suggested that perhaps I might stay away from moralizing this week. "Tell a story!" he said.

After almost two hours of utter emptiness, I finally had to ask, "Just what kind of story did you have in mind?"

Lance had liked an earlier weblog entry about Mom hiding my toys, so he suggested building off of that. Within a couple of minutes, I was tapping along, no longer terrified of the blinking cursor and the deadline of tomorrow morning.

Writing is fun. It is coming up with an idea that can be a trial.

IN REFERENCE to the photo below, Uncle Dale forwarded me an article from the Rochester, MN paper which talks about an unharvested field of 30,000 pumpkins down there. Apparently, a bunch of people got the same idea at the same time.

Now wouldn't there be something fun you could do with 30,000 pumpkins? Drop them from the Mendota Bridge? Line them up along I-94? Roll them down one of those steep streets in Duluth? Make pumpkin wine? Build a mighty pyramid of pumpkins? Fill a train car? Line them up on the steps of the state capitol? Catapult them over the Mississippi?

Okay, now this has me thinking about practical jokes I want to try but never will: I wonder if anybody has ever released about twenty mice under the pew at a wedding? Mice, or toads. I don't know which would be more fun. And it would all be on video for sure.

When I went to Northwestern College, we had chapel every day. Attendance was required. Because Northwestern students weren't allowed any of the typical college vices of drinking, drugs and sex, they had an amazing energy for practical jokes--and chapel was where many of the better ones were pulled off.

Before Franklin Graham, Billy's son, spoke at chapel, some guys took about 500 table knives they had stolen from the cafeteria and slid them in the binding of the hymnals. You can imagine the noise on the concrete floor when it came time for the first hymn.

Trouble was, not all the knives fell out that day. There was a racket in chapel for most of the next week.

Another time, somebody went through the trouble of hanging a black bra about fifteen feet above the speaker's head in the chapel. It wasn't noticable--at first. But as the speaker got deeper into his speech, the snickers started and only got worse until the place was broken up and the speaker was completely befuddled.

I liked that one.

Another time, some students disassembled somebody's Volkswagon and put it back together again on the roof of the cafeteria. That was work!

Northwestern was, and is, known for its music. There was the Concert Choir--and for those who didn't get into the Concert Choir, there was the Loser Choir, as we lovingly called it.

The Loser Choir only got to sing in chapel once per year, and only one piece at that. When their day came, they were in the midst of a beautiful, quiet Renaissance piece--and alarm clocks started ringing in the chapel. Nobody could tell where they were coming from, until somebody stood up to find one duct-taped to the bottom of their chair.

Well, the choir director wasn't a man of humor and he threw a fit. I mean, he should have stopped the choir mid-song, asked everybody to check their chairs for alarm clocks, and started the Losers over again. Instead, he forced the choir to continue through their piece while he glared out at the audience and the bells rang.

It was an uncomfortable moment.