Monthly Archives: January 2015

Croc Bock: Bad Party Beer

siamese-crocodile-vietnam I recently had a little free time on my hands (it was actually more active avoidance of things like laundry and pressing world problems like what’s-for-dinner) and ran across a story on the internet about a village in Mozambique where 69 people died and nearly 200 more were admitted to the hospital after drinking beer that was contaminated with crocodile bile. Stop the washer and dryer! This is big!

From what I read (feel free to Google this if you think I’m making it up), it seems like half the country of Mozambique showed up for a funeral and drank the poisoned beer. Okay, first of all, if you’re giving away free beer, yes, you should expect half the country to show up. Even for a funeral. Of course, now there’s going to be 69 more funerals and maybe more. For those, though, I’d stick with the punch or bring your own. I’m wondering if anyone has turned the glaring eye of accusation at the local funeral director as his business has suddenly and rather suspiciously skyrocketed.

According to reports, the poison came from the gall bladder of a crocodile, and this isn’t the first time. Knocking folks off with croc excrement is a common crime there. When a crocodile is killed, the gall bladder is immediately removed and buried in front of witnesses to keep it out of the wrong hands. I guess they don’t have activists demanding constitutional rights to bear arms … or other body parts and organs.

The beer in question is a traditional local drink made from corn flour and brewed for all of two days. So basically, we’re spiking the moonshine with dead reptile bile. This maybe makes sense since you’re not going to have anyone commenting that their beer tastes bad if it’s poisoned because it probably already tastes really bad anyway.

One does have to ask at this point if the large, man-eating, river lizard had elective surgery to have the gall bladder removed or was he dead? Was it, in fact, his funeral? Wouldn’t that be ironic?! And how many crocodile organs did someone have to try out before they finally figured out that the bile from the gall bladder was deadly? Are there parts of a crocodile that you’d actually want to eat? Suddenly answering that dinner question at my house just got easier!

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The Child My Parents Wished Upon Me

IMG_0428This week my youngest son is turning 16. It is truly factual proof of the enduring grace of a merciful God that he has made it this far, because without that, I would have probably killed him a long time ago. Every family has that kid that’s likely to jump off the roof in Superman pajamas or try and drive the school bus in third grade to impress a girl. Okay, he’s not exactly that kid, but close. If the truth be told, this is the child my parents wished upon me. Sorry Mom and Dad, I get it. Paybacks are hell.

When this boy was about five, he deposited his birthday money into his savings account at the credit union on an extremely busy payday Friday. As a reward, they let him pick a prize out of their treasure chest. Naturally, he picked the whoopee cushion. Naturally. Then while I’m distracted with other banking business, he blows it up far beyond its manufacturer’s recommended specifications, places it in the chair, launches his sturdy, five-year old body into the air and comes down on the whoopee cushion. I pause here because it’s still difficult to talk about. The thing exploded like a gunshot! People were screaming and diving for cover! The security officer pulled his weapon! I’m almost positive the tellers were on the verge of activating a full lockdown.Tom

I was mortified. For years I had to hire a babysitter so I could go make my car payment. Even then, I wore dark glasses and a baseball cap. There is no amount of time that erases that kind of public trauma. If that weren’t enough, he wanted to know if we could patch the whoopee cushion so he could do it again.

His resume includes hundreds of dollars in broken windows and broken bones, not to mention a wide swath of structural and collateral damage. By reputation alone, he’s immediately tied to significant natural and manmade disasters.

But here’s the thing, the big blue eyes and mischievous smile are irresistible. He’s got the world’s biggest heart, a spirit that’s selfless and unendingly loving. He’d give you the shirt off his back or, if he really liked that shirt, he’d swipe the shirt off someone else’s back for you. At the end of the day, he’s truly an amazing young man who will probably do great things. So Happy Birthday, Tom!

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