Real-life hidden object picture!

screen1How I do love thee, hidden object picture games? Let me count the ways. I’ve got a million of them. For hours I stare at picture after picture, stuffed to the incognito with all manner of hidden animal, vegetable and inanimate things. And I find them. They can blend in, but they can’t hide forever.

Yes, it can be daunting. Yes, it can be frustrating. That’s part of the game, the challenge. As difficult as it is to try your eye at a hidden object picture game, there’s no greater joy than peering at the head of an old man in the corner and realizing hey, wait a minute, that’s not gray hair … that’s the tiny image of a gray 1952 Studebaker four-door sedan parked on his bald spot! Tap on that sucker … you are mine, no longer lost but found!

So, imagine my surprise to see the fiction of a hidden object picture become reality recently. All thanks to a circus in Bitburg, Germany. Seems one of the performers escaped and tried a hidden object picture ploy to evade the chasing police. What follows, in glorious true-life color, is a photograph.hidden pictureOK now, take a look, a real close look, and find the hidden object.

Nooooo, that’s not a clown behind the wheel of the car at left. Nice try. Look again.

Nooooo, there’s no two-ton black rhino lurking in the shadows of the trailer up the street. Look harder.

Sigh. That is not a pink elephant floating above the cars in front of the building in the way background. Put down the drink, put on your glasses and really LOOK this time!

I’m waiting.

Please. Those are street lights. Freaking giraffes are not that skinny.

All right, all right. A hint. Stripes. In the road. LOOK AT THE STRIPES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!

Don’t play this game much, do you?


It’s me … or the box

The first thing I want to say here is I love my wife very much, nearly every minute of every day.

Now, that said, the second thing I want to say is during some of the other minutes I haven’t got a clue as to why she does some of the things she does. Or how things that happen to her, happen to her. We’ve been together some 20-something (All right, all right, so I can never remember exactly how many, so shoot me. I’m a writer, not a mathematician.) years and still she can, frankly, astound me.

Fortunately, these things have a way of working out, even if I don’t know how they will at the time. And also I’m not the kind of person who likes to lose his cool, much. I tend to go with the flow, figure there has to be a grander plan, a bigger picture, that maybe I just not seeing yet.

Well Lord, I’m still looking. Really, really, really looking.

Most of these occurrences usually have something to do with stray animals. Some people seem to go around in life with a “Kick Me” sign on their backs. My wife has a “Pick Me” sign on hers, scratched out in every stray animal dialect unknown to man.

Let’s just say if she’d been the booking agent for Noah’s ark, the damn thing would have sunk before it ever left the dock.

Like the time she came home from the car wash with a behemoth of a black cat that, in the right light, could be mistaken for a half-grown Labrador Retriever. So I ask her how is it that you, and only you, can go to the car wash and come home with a clean car and a cat. They having some kind of weird special or something?

No, she said. You see, I was walking to the dumpster to throw away the garbage from my car when this guy comes up with this cat and starts to throw it in there. So I say whoa, wait a minute, is that your cat? And he said no and then he said, yeah, you wanna buy it? So I grab the cat and run to the car and take off. Can we go inside now, in case the guy is still following me?

See what I mean.

I’ve let, er, welcomed, into my house, just about every living furry thing there is. Some have stayed, some have left, and most have chewed, mangled, and destroyed just about everything in it. I may not know why they get in, but I do know how they get in.

Never trust anyone like my wife, who comes into your house carrying a box.

Boxes have things in them. Live things. I’ve seen kittens, cats, puppies, everything but rodents come out of the boxes brought into my house. Even ducks. Yes, ducks. Quack-quack-give-my-head-a-whack web-footed water fowl.

“Those are ducks.”

“Yes, they’re little baby ducks, aren’t they cuuuuute?”

“Those are ducks.”

“I’ve always wanted to have them. We can keep them in the spare bedroom and raise them and teach them how to swim in the bathtub.”

“Those are ducks.”

The ducks have moved on, I can say now. However, I’m not so sure about me.

So, you can imagine my delight the other day when my wife walked into the house. With a box in her arms. And a big smile on her face.

“That’s a box.”

“I know, I’m so haaaaaappy.”

“And I’m so scaaaaaaaaared.”

“Oh, it’s not an animal. It’s Winston.”

“What’s a Winston.”

“It’s Winston, my puppet!”

This is a Winston.

And out of the box comes Winston. A neon yellow-and green, happy-faced turtle with a red bowtie and a marked resemblance to a cute little muppet. But this one doesn’t live on Sesame Street. He lives on my street.

A hand-puppet. Just a harmless, non-living, not real turtle hand-puppet. And I don’t even have to teach it how to swim in the bathtub.

All right, I can live with a puppet, I thought to myself. I mean, how bad can a turtle puppet be? He doesn’t eat anything. He doesn’t chew anything. He doesn’t … do anything.

What harm can a little stuffed thing with a hole in it, suitable for hiding an arm, do that hasn’t already been done in my house? That hasn’t already been done to me?

“Winston wants to say hello to you.”

“Hello Winston. Now go away, Winston.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to write, Winston.”

“What are you writing?”

“I’m writing and I … I … can’t believe I’m actually talking to a freakin’ stuffed turtle! With an arm stuck up its butt! Now go away, Winston, and take that arm and the crazed woman attached to it with you.”

“You’re not being very nice. I think you’re trying to hurt my feelings. Are you trying to hurt my feelings?”


A duck! A duck! My kingdom for a duck!