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Archive for March 7th, 2007

Alice in… Wal-Mart

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

OK, so it wasn’t Alice. It was me. I’ve been sick since this weekend. I’m hoping it’s just a cold and it passes. It’s making my normally perky self well, pretty miserable. I felt bad all day and probably should have just stayed home, but I didn’t think it was fair to subject anyone else to sitting through the school board meeting tonight. So I went in anyway, worked on some enterprise and then went to my meeting. After I filed my story about tonight’s school board meeting, I decided to call it a night early.

My head had been swimming all day anyway, and just dragging myself out of bed was a bit of chore. That migght be normal at 7 a.m., but I’m talking 11 a.m. several hours after my normal wake-up time. There was even a tornado siren going off around 10:30 a.m. — which I later learned was just a test — and the only thing I could think of was, “I hope there isn’t a tornado because I’m not getting out of bed.”

It occurred to me on my drive home from work tonight that I should buy some cold medicine and cough drops because it might make me feel less miserable. When at Wal-Mart, I thought to buy some more V-8 and oranges. (Both foods I eat every day to AVOID getting sick. See where it got me?) Well, beside the oranges was the weirdest thing I may have ever seen. They’re called Grapples. They look like an apple but taste like a grape. Well, that’s what the packaging said. They certainly smelled like grape koolaid to me. But, with my cold, my smell isn’t the greatest.

So, after being slightly intrigued and highly disturbed by that weird encounter with genetically modified fruit, I pressed on toward the juice aisle where I saw another thing that made me think I was in an alternate universe: a woman (not a man) in a full-out tuxedo grocery shopping. Just meandering through the aisles with a cart full of goods. But in a black tux. At 9:30 p.m. At Wal-Mart.

Then, in the soup aisle (I was throwing in chicken noodle soup for good measure), there was this girl who was practically screaming into her phone in a foreign language. I’m guessing it was an Asian language, because the only word I could at all make out was “America!” several times while I browsed the soup selection.

That all was bothering my head, which had a pounding headache anyway. Finally, after getting my cold medicine — which btw, it seems weird to me to be able to buy cold medicine off the shelf here; maybe because meth is so huge in Northeast Ohio, but you have to go get most cold medicines from behind the counter — I got up to the register.

Now, I haven’t actually gotten around to getting a new license yet, so I still have my Ohio license. (Dorothy told me you have 60 days to get a new license after you move here. Well, that means I have about a week left to do it.) I show my ID and the woman asks me, “What’s the capital of the state that issued this.” I just look at her, mind blank, wondering a) why is she asking me this, b) is she asking Ohio or Indiana and c) what is the capital of Indiana anyway? I offered a timid “Columbus?” and she seemed to have to think about it just as hard as I did, in my foggy brained glory.

It was probably the most bizarre trip to Wal-Mart. I think perhaps I just had a heightened sense of every around me. Or maybe it was the opposite. I was too out of it to notice the things I should have and my brain was just picking up oddities.

Kind of an OnBeing rip-off, but I’ll take it…

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

So, it is a little soon to be ripping off the OnBeing idea from the Washington Post. But I saw the “Stater.You” link on the site and clicked.

Not as pretty as the WP or as artsy, but it is something different. And I’d be willing to bet, outside Taylor Hall the number of people who’ve heard about or seen OnBeing is a few dozen at most. So the readers won’t hold it against them.

I’m not sure I’d have chosen those subjects (for one thing Karl Hopkins-Lutz used to be a Stater columnist, though it has been a few years) or that location to jump off the project. But if the idea is to offer random snapshots of people around campus, it succeeds.

This is definitely thinking beyond the printed page. And it’s a good example of why student newspapers are great places for experimentation and trying new things. Don’t waste months, which could mean semesters, which means staff turnover in the world of college newspapers, testing and tweaking to perfection something before launch. Just go for it. If it doesn’t work, ditch it. No harm, no foul.