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Merry/Happy, Hope/Faith

In a dubiously generous act of Christmas overshare, I will tell you that I went to the grocery store the other day, and one of the things on my list was toilet paper. I reached for the Charmin double rolls — what we always buy—-and then my hand paused. Because I was about to touch those BEARS. I saw those heinous poop-obsessed bears on the package and was UNABLE TO TOUCH THE PACK OF CHARMIN. Literally had a spine-shudder of total aversion.

Way to brand your product! Not since the Squashy Fetal Plague Rat Sandwich Singers debacle has a marketing push managed to revolt me away from something I formerly bought regularly.

DEAR RAT THING! PLEASE DO NOT SING WITH YOUR DISEASE-Y PINK TONGUE SPEWING PLAGUE DROPLETS NEAR MY SANDWICH! Also, HELLO, whoever you TP making people are with the golden retriever puppy on the package. I am now your consumer.

Speaking of marketing, remember I was playing that Christmas game with NAIL? (I need to add that blog to my blog roll (It’s over there ) as I find myself checking for new content there nearly as much as I check KiWords and Woulda Coulda Shoulda…

Anyway, the box was too small for a regional treat basket, so I took your other suggestion and sent a signed copy of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING (the box was too small for a hardback, but EXACTLY trade paper size) and it was a little deeper, so I added a little packet of Godiva Chocolate infused coffee.

My package came yesterday. I got this…

Yes, Virginia, that IS a stolen Panera Buzzer that alerts you when your table is ready. Hmmm. It came wrapped in the torn-off chunk of an old mailer.

I decided I was on a Christmas Mission from God, Blues Brothers style, to return the stolen buzzer to its rightful Panera owners and all its lost Buzzer Brothers.

The guy who got my name lives in Boston. Do you know how many PANERAs are in Boston? Well. I do. Now. A LOT. I didn’t want to call them all.

So I called the Buzzer Manufacturer, hoping they could tell me which Panera had originally purchased this buzzer, via the serial number.

Lady: SomethingSomething Buzzer Making Corp Somehting Limited, how may I direct your call?

Me: Hi. Someone stole one of your buzzers from a Panera Bread in Boston and mailed it to me in Atlanta. I want to mail it back. How can I find out what Panera owns it? There are several in the Boston area.

Lady: Ummmm what?

Me: I’m on a mission from God.

Lady: Um, hold please?

I held. The music was good, but no one ever came. The Mission from God department must have been lunching. Hopefully not at Panera, as they are short on table buzzers, I hear.

Actual Metaphorical picture of me with Chris (or possibly Spencer) of Panera Bread in Boston. (I am the taller one.)

I was about to start calling Paneras at random, but Scott had been google mapping Panera locations based on the guy’s office address, and had narrowed the field considerably.

I hit pay dirt on the second Panera I called. I told the man who answered the phone my story, and he got SO on board. He was like, “Mail it to ME! If it is not ours, I will GET IT to its rightful Panera.” I was very pleased with him, and rang off, until later, when I realized I had not gotten his name. I needed the buzzer to go to HIM, specifically, because he totally got that this was a Christmas Mission from God and he was all over it.

So I called Panera back, but got a girl. The shifts had changed. She told me the only two men on duty when I had called were Spencer and Chris, so I am mailing the buzzer back to Panera, labelled “ATTN Chris or possibly Spencer Re: Returning the stolen Christmas Buzzer to his family.”

It’s dicey, I know, but when in this type of mission, you just have to trust others to do their part. Faith, man, faith, and family togetherness and the brotherhood of man. That’s what this holiday is about, to me anyway. And in my heart? I believe that buzzer will be home in time to ring in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all from my house, and I will see you in 2011!

11 comments to Merry/Happy, Hope/Faith

  • Em

    I am still not totally sure I get how NAIL works but I hope that dude did not get your awesome book in exchange for his pilfered buzzer (which would not even be a fun gift if he had gone to the buzzer store and BOUGHT it). I hope he got something even worse, maybe a scottie dog sweater vest or a box of polly pocket shoes. Clearly, I have Christmas spirit to spare. You are welcome to borrow some.

  • Well, I AM sorry that you drew the short end of the NAIL Christmas mailing suprisaganza. . .HOWEVER, MAYBE JUST MAYBE their entire purpose was to give you A Mission from God rather than a stolen pager. Just sayin’. Or. Maybe they were some college-aged punk who thought it was funny. Either way, you have rung out the Old Year and paid forward good New Year’s karma by returning the little pager to it’s rightful Panera in time for Christmas morn. (This brings to mind your acquisition of The Good Cat on a Christmas Eve not too long ago, when you received good news in the form of HUGEMONGOUS discounts and NO SUNROOF. What is it with you and GREAT Christmas stories–pink enrobbed Santa not-withstanding.) Mission complete. Faith in humanity restored. God bless us, everyone.

  • Mir

    Excuse me, but I am about to sully your blog. WHAT THE HELL?? You send someone a signed book and Godiva-filled coffee and you get a useless piece of larceny evidence? WHAT THE HELL, I ASK AGAIN.

    And then you go on a mission from God to return it. Of course you do.

    Someday when you die, Joss—a LONG LONG LONG time from now, mind you—I do hope someone puts HER TRUTH WAS ALWAYS STRANGER THAN FICTION on your headstone. I’m just sayin’.

  • Ditto what Mir said, especially that first paragraph. 🙂

  • Haha that is a wonderful mission, Miss Joss. I kind of agree with Mir on the inequality of it, but because of your greatness and general good attitude, you are able to get some fun and a wee adventure out of your evidence of larceny – and some blog fodder too! Merry Christmas, Joss, to you and yours!

  • JulieB

    I think it was a great story. I’m from Chicago and cut my teeth on Missions From God. Well, maybe I’m too old to have cut my teeth on them, but I was young enough to have to double-check what the pliers to the pants thing was, although my dad had deemed me old enough to see the movie.
    Anyways, I hope somewhere in your Christmas gifts are some Chocolates of Good Karma for you. Merry Christmas.

  • Tom

    For those who are trashing me, let me offer an explanation.

    This Panera buzzer is actually a very special buzzer. It has powers. It is interesting that Joshilyn had decided to return it as “the mission” was really to help show her the errs of her ways.

    At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve the buzzer was to go off. At that point, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have appeared. This is a sandwich that appears on the children’s menu at Panera. Joshilyn would take a bite and be transported to her past to witness her childhood. Later in the night, the buzzer would go off and a Sierra Turkey Sandwich would appear. One bite and she would be transported to witness those she affects in the present. And then the buzzer would go off one last time. What would appear? Why, the Cuban Chicken Panini, of course. Although Joshilyn would be exhausted from her previous travails that night the aroma would overwhelm her and she would take a bite. She would be transported to witness the future as she would affect it.

    All these journeys were supposed to make Joshilyn a better person. But, what Joshilyn would have witnessed was a past, present and future that needs no improvement. This is why her reaction was to immediately return the Panera buzzer to it’s rightful place. She is a good person and she has had a chance to show the world how hard she works to right a wrong. That is my gift to her.

    By the way, anytime you are in Panera and you get buzzer number 63, an angel gets it wings.

  • Oh goodness….maybe I will wait to mail it….

    SRSLY the point was to have fun. And I did.

    Although you SHOULD have gotten me a car.


  • cinzia

    Ah, Jos, a neophyte to your blogsite–to say just finished “The Girl…” and enjoyed the heck (being polite) out of it. I am sitting here, Christmas eve, in the recovery room, waiting for yet another patient to visit me in the wee hours of the morning. I have been sitting here, not minding being held captive, thanks to your book! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Jess (of the formerly blue hair)

    Just dropping by to let you know I gave my step-mom TGWSS for Christmas (and, earlier this year, Between for her birthday). Spreading the awesomeness throughout the family!

  • Elizabeth

    OH, CHARMIN??? They have a 10 story high bathroom just off times square, with a guy out front wearing a TOILET OUTFIT chanting “who’s gotta potty? who’s gotta go? who’s gotta potty? who’s gotta go?” I’m not even kidding. I took pictures, but I can’t figure out how to get the off my phone and onto here. not CHARMING!