NO LONGER WEIRD by Chuck Shepherd Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Updated: August 1, 2003 The following kinds of stories were formerly weird, but they now occur with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation: 1. an old, widely-advertised phone-sex number is reassigned to a church/charity 2. suspicious package thought to be a bomb, turns out to be something stupid 3. robber leaves his ID [wallet or appointment card for probation officer or etc.] at the scene 4. peace/brotherhood conference erupts into violence 5. robber on getaway accidentally hails unmarked police car 6. political candidate dies but still wins the election 7. family thinks he's dead, but he's not and attends his own funeral 8. hunters shoot each other 9. funeral home owner neglects/mixes up bodies 10. "victimized" drug buyer complains to police that someone sold him weak or bogus drugs 11. some countries prohibit giving children certain names 12. in middle of an obvious drug raid, customer wanders up and asks cop if he can buy some drugs 13. shoots himself while supposedly demonstrating gun safety 14. global warming caused by animal methane 15. burglar gets stuck in vent or chimney 16. courthouse visitor/defendant inadvertently places contraband on the x-ray tables at entrance 17. burglar falls asleep during job. 18. family accidentally leaves behind a kid at a highway rest stop 19. driver's license applicant crashes into examiner station before or during test 20. [Oops! It's about the same as number 15] 21. overdue-library-book scofflaws actually go to jail 22. DUI tickets for "driving" a bicycle [or horse or riding lawn mower or etc.] 23. starts fire because can't stop smoking even though hooked up to oxygen machine 24. gasoline thieves check quantity in tank by using a match or lighter to peer inside 25. older teacher/younger boy relationship 26. firefighter with an arson habit [to keep in practice or to feel wanted or etc.] 27. local election ends in tie, settled (by law) by coin flip or draw of cards 28. Japanese men committing suicide because of overwork 29. angry customer drives car right through store's front door 30. heating-oil delivery to wrong house, resulting in flooded basement 31. postal worker hoards mail because he's behind in delivering it 32. bank robber hails taxi or municipal bus for getaway 33. the annual student cheating riots in Bangladesh 34. criminal on the lam goes on national tv talk show and mentions that he's wanted 35. dog steps on gun, shooting the master 36. pack of animals breaks into liquor cabinet or fermenting vat, get drunk 37. a loved one died at home, but the relative never gets around to burying him or her 38. school zero-tolerance policies for "weapons" that are purely, obviously ornamental 39. amateur videographers set up miniature cameras in restrooms 40. animal-hoarding (mostly of cats) women 41. carjackers who never learned to drive stick shift and must abandon the car 42. criminal suspect evading police, jumps in river to escape, and drowns 43. young-looking adults impersonate teenagers and return to high school 44. African nation's rumors of people with power to make penises disappear 45. humongous abdominal cysts removed in surgery 46. unlabeled urn with loved one's ashes mistakenly stolen or sold at yard sale 47. husband takes his wife back even though she just tried to kill him 48. judges punish young people by forcing them to listen to [classical or polka or etc.] music 49. hit-and-run driver drives on and on with body or bicycle in grille or windshield 50. criminal, cornered by police dog, bites the dog 51. burglars leave footprints in snow, directly to their homes 52. [Oops! It's about the same as number 48] 53. video shoe-cams or smoke-detector-cams to spy on women 54. Japanese making many silent hang-up telephone calls against former lover or business partner 55. robber smashes store's surveillance "camera," but it's only the lens, and it captured his face 56. inadvertently tries to cash a stolen personal check at the store [bank] where his victim works 57. accidental bombing of house by airliner's "blue ice" 58. elderly citizen trying to convince bureaucrat that, contrary to records, he's not really dead 59. elderly motorist makes wrong turn, gets lost for days 60. bands of criminals videotape their entire crime sprees for kicks, but makes it easy for cops 61. parents frolic while their small kids are left home alone 62. people trying to outrun police while driving slow-moving vehicles 63. combining jellyfish gene to produce another plant or animal that glows 64. imposter cop has car with flashing light, stopping motorists, accidentally stops real cop 65. parents who leave their small kids locked in hot cars while they frolic 66. inmates who advertise innocently for penpals on lonely-hearts pages on the Internet.