Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mangled Mailboxes, Elevator Survival, and Schnauzers

I'd like to begin this post with some advice that I recently gave to a Facebook friend.

She was bemoaning the fact that her mailbox was the target of baseball bat wielding thugs. She asked, "What did my mailbox ever do to them?"

I replied, "It’s not what the mailbox did. It’s what it represents. You see, the average mailbox — even an empty one or one consisting of just junk mail — contains more information than is stored in the average vandal’s brain. The envious mailbox smasher, being naturally devoid of reason, feels that he/she must resort to physical means to destroy that which is a very real threat to their intelligence".

I know there are some Minikinites who will undoubtedly be enlightened by that message. The mailboxes around here are so rusty, weather-beaten, battered, and bashed that we have the expression, "As mangled as a Minikin mailbox".


And now, the "news":

Here’s an interesting item:

VIENNA - The Swedish manager of an Austrian hotel was trapped in a faulty elevator for four days before a bread delivery man heard his cries for help on Friday, police said.

The 58-year-old was in good physical condition after his ordeal in the spa town of Bad Gastein near Salzburg, police in the mountainous Austrian province said.

“He told police he had done a hunting course with survival training in the Swedish military, which stood him in good stead in this case,” a police statement said.

Before I get into the elevator survival business, I just want to mention the town that this allegedly took place in — Bad Gastein.

BAD GAStein??? In a spa town? I think it might be a good idea to change the town's name to Good Healthstein. Personally, I've always avoided spas when I have bad gas.

Anyway, after reading this article, I was puzzled because I wasn't sure how a hunting course with survival training would help someone stuck in an elevator. I've read a few survival guides and not once did I find a section on elevator emergencies.

How does one's knowledge of nutritious plants and roots come into play in such a situation? What difference does it make if you know how to build a lean-to when you are out of the elements and stuck in an enclosed 27 square foot room? Aside from Tarzan's tree vine, devices for up-and-down travel are rarely found in the woods or jungle.

It could all be an Internet hoax. Where would you find a hotel in Austria — or anywhere for that matter — that would be completely deserted for four days? This is supposedly a spa town full of tourists. But here we have no guests, no visitors, no maintenance workers, no vagrants or burglars; nothing except a solitary bread delivery man after four days! And why was the bread guy delivering his wares to an unoccupied or derelict building?

This all smells rather fishy. Could it be a publicity stunt pulled off by the “victim" in order to gain fame and fortune? He may be trying to sell a book.

Here are some examples of what that book — let’s call it Bjorn Bjorkerson’s Guide To Elevator Survival — might contain:

"Firstly, we will assume that you are not a complete doofus and have already pressed the alarm button and tried the elevator phone. Secondly, we must assume that you are not a tech savvy person and that you do not carry a cell phone. Thirdly, we will assume that you've already created a ruckus by yelling and screaming and pounding on the doors..."

"Go hunting for spiders hanging from webs in the corner of the elevator car. Track down fleas, ticks, and tiny microbes from your body..."

"If you know that your day will include some vertical traveling, wear edible clothing. Remember however that when help does arrive you may be naked — sated and in good health, but naked..."

"I learned in the Swedish military service that you MUST keep a Swiss Army Knife with you at all times, particularly if you plan to manage a multi-story hotel in Austria..."

"Use your Swiss Army Knife and unscrew that sign that says, “Maximum capacity not to exceed 16 persons”. Then, using the little saw blade, cut it into pieces to use as firewood (if you do not have a match or lighter, you will have to rub two pieces of the sign together to start your fire). Then, using the tiny screwdriver, unscrew or pry apart your watch. Now hold the watch back-plate with your knife's tweezers and heat over the flames. This makes a dandy little insect and spider frying pan..."

"Comb the floor for crumbs. The last passenger may have been eating a muffin, or a donut, or potato chips. Those brown stains you see down there could mean you’re stepping in some Kladdkaka. Lift your shoe and see what nourishing morsels you might uncover. Never underestimate the nutrition to be found on the floor of an elevator..."

"Sit very still and wait, wait, wait.  Ommmmmm...."

"Cry for help when the bread delivery man comes..."

Come to think of it, maybe there were people in the hotel. There may have been several operational elevators. No one would have noticed that one stuck lift contained a very calm, cool, Swede who might find a week’s stay in a broom closet to be a very agreeable experience.

Finally, here is a joke I thought some of you might enjoy. It’s a little racier than the usual wholesome fare found at SSIC, so I hope no one is offended.

A woman noticed that her dog (a Schnauzer) could hardly hear, so she took it to the veterinarian. The vet found that the problem was excessive hair in the dog's ears. He trimmed and cleaned both ears, and the dog could then hear fine.

The vet then proceeded to tell her that, if she wanted to keep this from recurring, she should go to the store and get a hair removal product and rub it in the dog's ears once a month.

The woman went to the local drug store and bought some "Nair" hair remover. At the register, the pharmacist told her, "If you're going to use this under your arms, don't use deodorant for a few days."

She replied, "I'm not using it under my arms."

The pharmacist said, "If you're using it on your legs, don't use body lotion for a couple of days."

She then said, "I'm not using it on my legs either. If you must know, I'm using it on my Schnauzer."

The pharmacist answered, "Well, stay off your bicycle for about a week".

Editor’s note:
This was only a joke. We do NOT recommend the use of any depilatory on any dog — be it Beagle, Poodle, Great Dane, Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, etc.

Nor do we recommend its use on Schnauzers.


  1. Hahaha ... I love this post! Why don't you have a book out yet? Your writings brighten my day. :)

    1. Thank you Janyce for your kind words. Actually, I do have a book out. The library has been hounding me for years to return it.

  2. Hilarious! From start to finish. Glad you got the joke approved by the editing team at SSIC. I will never hear the word schnauzer again without thinking of this post. Thanks for the smiles!

    1. Thanks Angie. I would post bawdier jokes if I could get them past those ******* puritanical editors.

  3. Yet another grin-worthy post. Time for you to return that library book and write one of your own!

    I can't imagine any, um, Schnauzer, feeling any warm fuzzies about an application of Nair, but it's gotta beat hot wax. I imagine that'd be verrry unpleasant on... um, ears.

    1. Thank you Susan. Yes, Nair and hot wax do a very good job of eradicating warm fuzzies everywhere.