the story life

Stephen King And Always Taking A Book With Me

Stephen King reading a book while out

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.

What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”

―Stephen King

I am with Stephen King on this one. I like to have a book with me wherever I go, though it isn’t always a physical book like he prefers.

Most of the time I use the Amazon Kindle App for my phone, which keeps me from having to lug a book around to random places. The app also does things like saves my spot in the book instantly, which I like.

It’s nice to be able to take my phone out of my pocket and get some reading in, then pop it back in my pocket just as quick.

Picture of someone reading on the Amazon Kindle appWhen I know I’ll have a good amount of time to dedicate to reading while I’m out and about (like when I take my kids to the park or if I’m going to be waiting for a while at the doctor’s office) then I will take a physical book with me.

For one thing it saves the battery on my phone, but most importantly it’s just nice to have a physical book if I’m going to be reading for a long time. There’s no notifications that will pop up and interrupt my reading, nagging me to get away from the story.

How about you, do you like to take a book with you while you’re out and about? If so do you take a physical book or use your phone?

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09/01/2018
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The Prejudiced Passenger: A New And Evolving Urban Legend

Plane taking off with prejudiced passengerI can only imagine the crazy stories that flight attendants have to tell.

Because hey let’s face it, flying is downright stressful and people tend to lose their minds a bit in stressful situations.

There’s nothing like being jammed into a small space with almost every kind of person imaginable for hours at a time. And with so many different characters around, it’s inevitable that some drama is going to happen at some point.

But of course there’s a difference between a little bit of drama and someone being completely out of line, like this lady…


THE WOMAN WITH A PROBLEM

A white woman boarded an airplane, and when she got to her seat she saw that the passenger in the seat next to her was a young black man.

He was sitting there in his favorite team jersey and hat. And as he waited he played on his phone and listened to his iPod, bobbing his head slightly.

The woman scoffed and clutched her purse towards her chest. She did not sit down but instead pushed the call button while standing halfway in the aisle, making the people in line behind her push past to try and get to their own seat.

A stewardess came out right away, but it took her some time to get to the woman as the line was going extra slow due to the woman blocking the aisle.

“Yes ma’am? Is there a problem getting into your seat?” said the stewardess.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said the woman, her voice getting higher, “do you have eyes? I’ve been sat next to a …a …thug!”

Passengers on plane urban legendHer high pitched voice cut through the chatter on the plane and it seemed like every single person froze at that point, just for a second or two. After that people started talking again, but the whole atmosphere on the plane seemed to change.

The flight hadn’t even gotten off the ground yet and here was this woman acting like a ticking time bomb.

“Ma’am please do try to calm down,” said the stewardess, “The plane is expected to be full up today, but I can check to see if there happen to be any unoccupied seats.”

The woman didn’t answer, she just made a “hmph” noise and glanced suspiciously towards the young man in the seat next to her.


FIRST CLASS

The stewardess came back some time later. By now all the passengers had boarded the plane and everyone could see that it was packed.

The other passengers held their breath to see what would happen next.

“Okay ma’am,” said the stewardess with her hands out, “I was able to check and there aren’t any unoccupied seats …in this class. There is a single open seat in First Class, however.”

“Well that’s better,” interrupted the woman.

“So, as I was saying,” continued the stewardess, “we don’t usually allow such an upgrade, but I spoke to the captain just now and he agrees there are unusual circumstances here.

Picture of people laughing at this funny urban legendSimply, it would be cruel to make a passenger sit next to such an unpleasant person.”

And on that note, the stewardess turned to the young man and said, “Excuse me sir, would you be so kind as to get your carry on, there is a seat in first class waiting for you.”

Ha. At this point the other passengers broke out into all sorts of commotion. Some burst into laughter, some could not help but start clapping, and others just smiled and nodded their head.

As for the woman, she turned bright red and sat down in her seat, and didn’t say another word for the entire flight.

But the best part of all was …no one had to sit next to her.


NEW CHARACTERS IN THE STORY

‘The Prejudiced Passenger’ is a story that’s not super old like some other urban legends I’ve come across, but it has been around since at least the 80’s.

Man from Saudi Arabia Prejudiced Passenger urban legendDifferent versions of the story have cropped up in the years since, with various characters replacing the ‘white lady’ and ‘black man’ in the story.

Some of the most recent versions of The Prejudiced Passenger to pop up is centered not around race but religion.

The story replaces the ‘white lady’ character with a ‘Muslim man’ from Saudi Arabia who is offended to sit next to a woman reading a Bible.

It will be interesting to see what characters pop up in future versions of The Prejudiced Passenger. But in the meantime, this story is a fun read because, well, who doesn’t enjoy a story where an obnoxious person gets their just desserts?

If you’ve heard a different version of The Prejudiced Passenger story feel free to post it in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!

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08/28/2018
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The Runaway Grandmother: A Shocking Urban Legend, But What Does It Mean?

Grandma from the Runaway Grandmother storyWhat do you do when a family vacation suddenly takes a deadly twist?

In this classic urban legend known as ‘The Runaway Grandmother’ a shocked family does the best they can to deal with the crazy situation they find themselves in.

Do they do the right thing? And what the heck does this story mean? Read on and see for yourself, but make sure you keep an eye on Grandma



THE SHOCK

A family from the snowy north was taking a long-awaited vacation to Mexico.

The mother, father, two kids, and grandmother had all squeezed themselves and all their luggage into a station wagon, and after many miles finally crossed the border into Mexico.

The warmth of the desert sun felt absolutely incredible as it shone in through the station wagon windows, melting away their worries.

At least, that’s what they thought until it was time to pull over to stretch out from all the driving.

The kids called to their parents from the back seat, “We can’t get Grandma to wake up!”

The parents looked for themselves and saw that Grandma wasn’t sleeping but that she had actually died some time ago while riding in the back seat. Everyone had just assumed she was taking a nap, and no one had bothered to try to wake A road in Mexico from the storyher up for the border crossing or any of the scenery.

The parents had a big problem now, what to do? They were in the middle of nowhere and they knew that in the heat the smell would soon start to get …unpleasant.

Would they make their poor kids sit in the backseat with Grandma’s corpse for hours in the hot sun or what?

The parents talked frantically amongst themselves and after some time the father came up with a plan. It was not an ideal plan, but the parents felt like they had no choice.


THE GAS STATION

The plan? They wrapped Grandma in an old tarp from the emergency kit of the car and secured her to the roof.

They then unfolded their map and found the nearest town, about two and a half hours away, and headed for it. There they could find a police station and get some help finding someone to take care of the body.

Everyone felt a little guilty about having Grandma on the roof, but they had to admit that at the same time things were a lot less cramped now in the back of the car.

When they finally got to the town on the map, they drove around and saw that it wasn’t even big enough to have a police station.

By this point everyone was a bit panicked and starving, as lunch had been skipped in all the commotion and now it was getting to be dinner time.

Old Gas Station In MexicoSo the parents settled on stopping at a gas station where everyone could go in to get some snacks, and hopefully even get some help for their situation.

Through some broken Spanish the parents were able to explain what happened and get directions to the nearest police station in the next town over. So with potato chips and drinks in hand the family went out the door to face their next trek.

But what they saw stopped them in their tracks. Or actually it was what they didn’t see.

The station wagon was gone. Someone had stolen it, Grandma and all!

Things went downhill from there. The authorities searched the whole area but no trace of the station wagon or Grandma were ever found.

Some people laughed at the story but the family was livid, as without a body they couldn’t even prove that she was dead and it took seven years before the courts would go forward with her will.


WHAT DOES THE RUNAWAY GRANDMOTHER URBAN LEGEND MEAN?

Comic illustration of Runaway Grandmother urban legendIt’s not hard to see why The Runaway Grandmother urban legend is a classic. It’s a story that horrifies you yet makes you laugh at the same time.

And you can’t help but think about what you would do if you were faced with the same crazy situation.

Urban legends often deal with the fears and concerns of people in society, and The Runaway Grandmother story is a prime example.

This is an urban legend that some believe has roots going back to the 14th century, with each version changing to reflect a concern of the time. Like around WWII a popular version of The Runaway Grandmother told the story of a family who lost Grandma while trying to escape the Nazis.

Today’s versions of the story have to do with a family going on vacation and panicking when they discover Grandma had died while in the back seat.

To me this expresses some of the problems and fears of modern life.

In the old days people were intimately connected with most aspects of their existence. They made their own clothes, raised their own food, and even prepared their own loved ones when death happened.

It was even a tradition among many people in the old days to have their recently dead loved ones prepared by family and then displayed on the kitchen table for a time, while everyone in the community came to say their goodbyes.

Old picture family displays dead grandma on table.

But in modern life we are usually cut off from the bits and pieces of our existence. Where does our food come from? No idea. Clothes? Made by strangers in some far off country.

And when it comes to death we are similarly cut off, with strangers coming in to whisk away the lifeless body of our loved ones.

What happens when these strangers process the body of our loved ones in the funeral home? We don’t really know the details, and we don’t usually want to know.

So The Runaway Grandmother urban legend deals with these fears and realities of modern life. Grandma has the audacity to die in a place where there are no strangers to jump in and take care of everything. The parents must face death and handle it themselves, at least for a time.



THE AMERICAN VERSIONS OF THE RUNAWAY GRANDMOTHER

The American versions of The Runaway Grandmother urban legend tend to have certain features, like it’s usually mentioned that the car was crowded in the back…until Grandma could be put on the roof.

Also it often mentions that since her body was stolen along with the car, the family can’t go forward collecting on her will until seven years afterward.

Grandma from Runaway Grandmother urban legend

This reflects the extreme discomfort in American society with the idea of getting older, and ultimately with death itself.

It’s normal now to put our elderly members of the family into nursing homes, safely out of the way of the day-to-day lives of everyone else. And death is not faced by the rest of the family until it’s time to deal with the funeral and the will.

Notice though that in the urban legend the family seems to be punished for their lack of compassion towards Grandma. They are shocked by the theft of the car and everything that was with it, and also their inheritance is delayed for seven years.

Maybe the ghost of Grandma was insulted and arranged for better treatment! Who would blame her?

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08/24/2018