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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« ode to jodi's gerbil | Main | childhood confessions revisited »

obituary: snail

Work work work. My editor at Writer's Digest called. He likes my book, but he'd like it to be shorter. Time to get out the editing shears and do some snipping...

Obituary: Snail

Sara's pet snail, Snail, died yesterday. Sara burst into tears. Upon seeing her sister's reaction, Annie burst into tears, too. "Snail's dead!" wails Sara. "Snail's dead!" wails Annie. After the wailing and crying subsides, Sara looks down at Snail's still form, sniffling.

For no particular reason, Annie says quietly, "I won't eat him, Sara."

"What??" yells Sara. "You're going to eat Snail??"

"I said I'm NOT going to eat him, Sara," says Annie.

They have a solemn burial in the backyard, followed by hot chocolate at Starbucks with Ruth.

I offered my condolences when I found out the news but to tell you the truth, I didn't even know Snail was still alive.


Here are a few more responses to my question, "What were some of the horrible things you used to do as a child?"

From Amanda: "I have no siblings. No one to play tricks on. I did learn the joy of practical jokes as a grown person however. My friends Kevin and Susan had just installed a new digital controller for their central air and heating system. I set the timer for 6 in the morning and set the heat temperature as high as it would go. At 6 a.m. the heat kicked on and wasn't set to turn off until the house was 80 farenheit. Apparently K&S were laying in bed saying to each other "Boy, I'm hot. Are you hot? Maybe the sun will move out the window and it'll cool down. God, it's hot." They discovered the heater was on when Kevin went downstairs to turn the air conditioner on. Meanwhile, I had forgotten all about setting the heater and was very confused at the nasty message they left on my answering machine. P.s. Rudy says hi."

From Ju: "I was a very good girl until I was nearly a grown up. But I remember playing loads of pranks at university. One I particularly remember. I was member of the English Department Drama Group. We were putting on a production called "Reign Starts Play" which was a loose conglomerate of sketches presenting life under Elezabeth II whose 25th or 35th (I forget which) crowning jubilee it was. In one particularly boring scene about 8 people sat around a table playing cards, commenting politics and voicing general opinions on life, the universe and everything. For the last performance I went into a sex shop and bought a set of hard-core porno photograph playing cards. (It was really educational. I would never have known what is possible if you are really supple) Before the show I slipped eight of the most drastic cards into the pack. The scene started with dealing out the cards. After that the scene livened up considerably. Cards were grabbed out of people's hands, or went flying with people diving after them under the table. The only one in on the trick was the prompter who unfortunately lost his composure completely and collapsed in the wings. I was never caught."

From Lloyd: "Ju: We spent nearly a week with you at the House of Chaos and I had no idea you pulled stuff like the card trick!! Wonderful! We could have had some great discussions. Reminds me of the time in high school when we had this history teacher who was fond of pulling down maps of Europe and not bothering to look at them and saying things like (in his stentorian, rather over-affected elaborate voice) "The face of Europe. 1848. Congress of Vienna. Who knows about it? Lloyd. (no answer) Unprepared!". So we went out and bought the latest issue of Playboy, snuck back into the school and stapled the centerfold to the map of Europe circa 1848. Next day, sure enough, the history teacher goes into the usual rigamorole about "Face of Europe. Count Otto Von Metternich. Who knows about it" and pulls down the stark naked centerfold. The class collapses in gales of laughter. Give the guy credit, he recovered quickly enough. "Well, ho ho ho, hm hm hm, the face of Eu-rope has certainly changed!!"

From Daniel: "Ju, that was a wonderful one. I wish I'd thought of that when I was in theatre... A few pranks come to mind from my past. Some, I will admit to having been the perpetrator, others I mearly had an advisory role but no hand in the execution. 1) We replaced a sign along Rt. 82 in Ohio which had been a simplified airplane outline with the text "SPEED CONTROLLED BY AIRCRAFT" with a sign which had an outline of a space probe and the text "SPEED CONTROLLED BY SATTELITE". The sign stayed in place for several years. 2) At some unnamed liberal arts college in some unnamed state in the midwestern portion of a country which I will not name... The night before a Parents Day (which included a board meeting), some unnamed students "broke into" the Dean of the College office and removed almost all of its furniture (a few file drawers were left in place, and also the bookcases), replacing it with a waterbed, psychodelic posters, drug paraphinalia, a strobe light and some blacklights, and a beaded curtain hanging in the doorway... Oh, yes, and a fully mature pot plant in a very nice planter. Some interesting books, including some underground comix (this was 1979-1980 timeframe), some hardcore porn, and a bunch of communist tracts and (just to be balanced) a bunch of fundimentalist christian literature, was distributed amongst the books in the bookshelves. The reaction from various (unnamed) parties was rather, um, colorful (though I won't say which colors.)"

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