June 28, 2000

When Bad Things
Happen to Big Boys

By Roy Rivenburg

The Prodigal Big Boy: Kidnappings rarely have happy endings.

Especially when you make it perfectly clear that you want the ransom money in unmarked bills and NO calls to the police, but the victims don't follow instructions too well and you wind up serving a 15-year prison sentence. Or, worse still, you wake up and realize it was just a dream and you're actually serving 25 years to life and your cellmate won't stop humming the tune to Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."

But we digress.

Our point was that when an abduction concludes without tragedy, it's worth noting. A few months ago, we reported on a little-publicized but growing worldwide epidemic of statues being kidnapped and sometimes dismembered by heartless criminals.

Victims included garden gnomes, Ronald McDonald statues, a 250-pound fiberglass dolphin, Tony the Wonder Horse (who disappeared from a monument to actor Tom Mix), countless church statues, a giant Pillsbury Doughboy and even the Lincoln Memorial. OK, maybe not the Lincoln Memorial, but it was obvious that no statue was safe.

Sadly, most of the victims have never been seen again. At least, not in one piece. A Bob's Big Boy mascot pirated from the front of a Tucson restaurant was found a few days later, but in Humpty-Dumpty condition.

Thus, on the rare occasion when a missing statue resurfaces unharmed, it is cause for celebration. This explains why a Michigan restaurant recently issued a national press release proclaiming the recovery of a 7-foot-tall, 200-pound Bob's Big Boy mascot.

The AWOL statue turned up at a local high school, where it was believed to have a promising future as an offensive lineman on the school football team. Police were summoned and the statue was placed into protective custody until it could be reunited with its owners at a ceremony attended by TV news crews and relieved citizens.

In an effort to prevent future statuenappings, Off-Kilter has prepared a list of safety tips for statues:

  • Never accept forklift rides from strangers.
  • If you leave your pedestal, always tell your owner who you're with and where you're going.
  • If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, yell for help. If that fails, try falling on top of them or crushing their feet.
  • Always carry a Lojack so that authorities can trace your whereabouts.
  • Truth Still Stranger Than Fiction: When it comes to sniffing out bizarre stories, supermarket tabloids aren't necessarily the only game in town. Here's a sampling of recent news items from mainstream media sources:

  • Al Capone's Toenail Clippers Auctioned for $5,000 (Reuters)
  • Spanish Farmers Growing 10-Foot-High Artichokes to Produce Electricity (London Independent)
  • Hippo Savages, Kills Honeymooner in Botswana Delta (Reuters)
  • British Scientists Train Octopus to Unscrew Jelly Jar in 60 Seconds (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Lunatic Fringe Bureau: A Hong Kong man claims he can foretell the future through "sushi-strology," the art of analyzing pieces of sushi.

    Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: Iguanas can feel joy, researchers say.

    Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Hikers Find 20-Foot-Tall Gingerbread House!" (Weekly World News)

    Experts say the crumbling German structure could be the the same one described in the story of "Hansel and Gretel."

    Unpaid Informants: PR Newswire, Ann Harrison, Kari Howard, Wireless Flash News Service.

    Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
    Distributed by Creators Syndicate