This is an absolutely true story: I was in the class.
Yet Another Case of a Certain Kind of Story (which I usually ignore, rather than feature in True) has led to a new This is True word:
peckertrace (pĕk′ər trās)
n.: an image created by a little boy man who thinks making a giant outline of a phallus is some sort of proof of manhood — a “mine is so huge that…” boast that actually reveals his fear of “mine is so tiny that…”.
Be careful what you ask for, since when an organization asks the public for input on what they should name something, they’re opening a Pandora’s box.
Two Stories from Last Week brought complaints that True is politically partisan. The hilarious aspect to the two stories: neither had anything to do with politics, but the readers are so sensitive they thought they were political slams. There were a number of protest unsubscribes, including a Premium reader, which is very unusual.
Update: The Restaurant Pho Keene Won!
Sometimes, I’ll Look at the Comments on a news site’s story that I use as a source for a True story. Not very often, since most news comments are a vast wasteland, but the comments on one of the Pho Keene stories I read caught my eye. The top comment was, “Who knew that Keene lacked a sense of humor?” And there was one response: “Anyone that lives here.” Let’s start with the story, from True’s first issue of 2019:
While Driving Across southern New Mexico this morning, I rolled my eyes a bit at a warning sign: “Dust Storms May Exist”. Well yeah, so might space aliens bent on beaming someone up from the desert. Reminds me of the one I see farther north: “Icy Conditions May Exist”. Are lawyers writing road signs now? Maybe charging by the letter?
Two readers (so far) don’t “get” a tagline from this week’s issue, so I thought I would explain the joke — even though I do understand “Explaining the joke makes it not funny.” Well, they don’t think it’s funny anyway, so let’s get to it. First, the story, from the 5 November 2017 issue:
Very Often, Readers Submit Stories that are most definitely, without a doubt, weird. But sometimes I still can’t use them because despite being weird (one definition: unusual), they’re …well… not unusual.
MSgt USAF (retired) Joe Ohio inquires, “As a multi-decade reader I find readers’ comments almost as entertaining as the stories. This brings me to my question. Being an English major I would like to know what the collective is for ‘obliviot’?”
I ran a story in this week’s issue in part to provoke. Before my editorializing here’s the story, from the 19 June 2011 issue:
A friend of mine asked me for some advice last week. He’s preparing to leave the military, and thought writing might be his next career. Did I have any pearls of wisdom?
I gave him two main pieces of advice. The second one: he must understand that there’s no such thing as “writer’s block.”
Sometimes there’s a story that I “have” to publish, even though I know it just won’t make it past the spam filters, so I “can’t” put it in the email newsletter. And see below for an update.
This story is what got me started on remembering Herb Caen — it’s from True’s 17 May 2009 issue:
Important Update Below
Sundays are writing day around here: it’s the day I write This is True each week. This week, I had the usual line-up of stories about stupid people doing stupid things (or, as the case may be, smart people doing stupid things!) when I came across the story of Mark Rimkufski from the weirdest state in the union, which is of course Florida.
Episode #28: “You Think Your State is Weird?”, from True’s 14 December 2008 issue.
Episode #18: “Artificial Education”, from True’s 5 October 2008 issue.
Episode #14: “How Embarrbutting!”, from True’s 7 August 2008 issue.
I do a lot of research when looking for stories, and I see quite a bit of amazing stuff. Most of it I use for stories, but sometimes even truly wonderful items just don’t quite make it into the final product. This is one such case.
There’s a group of friends I hang out with online, all of us online entrepreneurs. One sent a URL around urging us all to “take 8 minutes to watch the video,” adding “if you care about such things, please consider blogging about it and/or passing it on.” What things? Our kids. Or, more accurately, the education of our kids. The world is a very, very different place than it was when we were kids.