Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Silence, Tornado, Ferret

I learned many things in elementary school. I hope you did, too. One of the biggest, most important things I learned was how to be silent. I could talk when I raised my hand if the teacher called on me, during recess, and during lunch. Even recess and lunch were dependent on behavior and became silent before really ending.

Today, we had a tornado drill here at Indiana University. Elementary school never really ends. As I begrudgingly shuffled into the hall, not missing out on class like in the good old days, but on valuable homework time, I thought of all of the reasons we wouldn’t be safe if there was a real tornado:

1.       The glass door a few yards to my left
2.       The open doors of the classrooms with windows
3.       The fact that tornadoes pretty much do what they want anyways
4.       We were all chatting

Wait, I and you say simultaneously. Talking is not particularly dangerous during a tornado. Indeed. Who would have thought? Elementary school so deeply ingrained in me the habit of silence. Some of those habits I have long since broken. Though in middle school I initially felt guilty speaking aloud in bathrooms or hallways during passing periods, I have come to terms with those arenas of speech.
The tornado drill is going to take a little time.

When I re-entered the computer lab, seated across from me was a young man. This happens, as this particular computer lab is a hoppin’ place during the school day. However, this specific young man had a ferret pelt sprawled next to his keyboard with its dead eyes pointed at me (to say nothing of this kid’s hat). This does not happen. Or so I thought. But, alas, it does.

Please, you tell me, how you sit down and you read a Spanish article on violence (the 10 millionth this semester) with a ferret pelt staring at you. I did not even ask him about it, which is a big personal regret of mine, because I have SO MANY questions.

What is that? Where did you get it? Why did you bring it to school? May I smell it? Can I pet it? Did you name it? Him? Her? (Sorry. I couldn’t tell.) Did you know it in its real life days? Do you get asked about it often? Do you get weird looks? Do you useful bring your friend around with you or is today a special occasion? Do you consider your behavior strange? Have you ever met anyone else who does this?

But there I was, so wrapped up in essay planning and article reading that I just tried to avoid the poor ferret’s ceaseless gaze. The moral of the story is twofold: 1. Silence is a lame defense against natural disasters and 2. Never be so wrapped up in your homework and societal norms that you neglect to ask an unmet friend about his dead ferret.

Love to you and your kin,

Jenna B.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Rainbow


Here I am, after literally years of procrastination. I realize you probably became skeptical of this entire operation when you saw me use the word “literally,” but I am not using in a figurative sense, as is ironically the case with many hooligans who are my age. For years, I have been telling my mom, my friends, and probably several near strangers that I am going to write about my family’s vacuum cleaner, and now marks the departing unto that journey.

Everyone has a least favorite chore. For those of you who say “taking out the trash,” I will never understand you. For 87% of us, the chore that leaps to the front of our minds is vacuuming. Vacuuming is simply the worst. It hurts your back and requires moving furniture. On top of that, it drowns out the rest of the world, not even allowing you to listen to music, and totally consuming you in the task of vacuuming.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so strongly about vacuuming had I been raised with any other vacuuming device. But I hadn’t. Meet the Pinkston family vacuum:
Complete with faux wood paneling, this device is primarily a large bucket of water. This bucket is attached to a plastic disc with three wheels, for what I assume to be mobility purposes. A hose hooks into the bucket and connects it with an attachment that is more typical looking and sucks up dirt. However, the attachment and hose must be held together by the vacuumer, or you will be doing re-attaching while wasting valuable vacuum time. I am really out of words, so here is a visual I found from when Google snuck into my laundry room closet:
Essentially, it’s a leviathan.  In addition to its size, this device is ancient. I found this real life graphic on the interwebs comparing the sizes of different dinosaurs, to scale. “But Jenna,” you say, “I spy something on that graphic that isn’t a scientifically verified dinosaur.” Reader dear, I noticed that as well, but you will have to find it in your heart forgive the interwebs (take as long as you need). They simply included the approximate size of a modern day human to give you some context.

Now to address to nameage of this beast. If I were on a committee of people that had the grand opportunity to name a product like this, I would have several, what I think we can all agree, are stellar ideas:
  • The Leviathan
  •  Cleanasaurus
  • Claude
  • Some clever pun with the word “suck”
If you have a product and want to hire me to name it, I totally understand. However, the namers of my vacuum must have been having an off day. I am giving them the very undeserved benefit of the doubt. They named my vacuum The Rainbow.

As you, dear reader, are extremely intelligent, I am certain I need not tell you which of the above pictured is bitter about having its title stolen.
                According to, one of the best resources on the web, the following described a rainbow:
A rainbow is a beautiful thing. It is pleasing to the eye and serves as a symbol of hope, a symbol that the rain just might end and the sun just might shine. It is a symbol of God’s love for the earth and his unfailing promises (see Genesis, post flood). Calling this vacuum a rainbow is borderline heretical.
Since this item preceded me as a member of the Pinkston family, it was all I ever knew. When I came of age, I learned of alternative vacuums, and begged my parents to consider obtaining one. My dad pointed out that The Rainbow was a significant investment and worked just fine. As much as I complained, I could not argue with his logic.
Then, it happened. When I moved away to school, The Rainbow sucked its last suck. I don’t know specifics. I don’t know if it ended valiantly, I know only that it ended. Great rejoicing was had, as the reign of terror of The Rainbow (see why it needs a new name?) ended. The cry went out through the kingdom: Live in fear no more!
This last 0.2 seconds. The family betrayed me and betrayed justice. A knew Rainbow was already purchased and in my families possession. HOW? I cried. How, but by the hand of a friend once so dear. We will not mention names, but Secret Agent Mrs. M. had picked it up for my family. Confusion flooded my innocent head. Who could be trusted in this world?
No one. That’s who. Not my mother, not my father, not my friend’s mother/mother's friend. No one.
So, dear reader, that is why I hate vacuuming. I hate it not only as an activity, but as a symbol. I symbol of justice sought so long and wrenched from my reach. However, in the face of adversity, we mustn’t lose hope. Somehow, someday, The Rainbow will die, once and for all, as larger brand names of vacuums slowly obliterate it. Until then, never stop dreaming.

For justice,

P.S. And with that, I am back here on the blog. Hopefully, for keepsies.