Newspapers are Dangerous

It isn’t often that I agree with seriously right-wing politicians.  But today is an exception.

You see, Maine Governor Paul LePage told a group of school kids that newspapers are dangerous.  And I have to agree with the Gov.

My concern doesn’t come from the fact that, like Governor LaPage, no newspaper has ever, or indeed would ever consider endorsing either of us for public office, although that’s true.  No newspaper has ever endorsed him for so much as dog catcher.  No newspaper has ever endorsed me either, but that’s less awkward since I’ve never run for public office.   And he, ummm, has.

I’m pretty sure that a newspaper was never involved in an actual threat to LePage’s personal safety, though.   I can’t say that I have remained personally unharmed, unmolested by the press.  Because that would be a lie.

You see one morning I was held hostage by the Washington Post.  I’m serious.  I’ve never told the story before.  It’s too traumatic.  Too terrifying.  Too humiliating.

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The Culprit
(Google Image)

It was a long time ago.  So long ago that the Post was still a reasonably unbiased paper, before it became the tool of the neocons that control it now.  So long ago that its investigative reporters still investigated politics and corruption and didn’t simply reprint GOP talking points.  So long ago that the Post only cost a quarter.

The trauma haunts me to this day.

I was late to work that morning and flew through the Metro’s turnstile and down the escalator. Of course I’d just missed a train. But at least I had a moment to catch my breath and buy a newspaper.

I looked at my watch:  9:45.  Shit.  I had a 10 a.m. meeting.

I walked over to a newspaper vending box and inserted my last quarter, pulled down the door, took out a newspaper, and let the door go.  They have a spring-loaded gizmo so they automatically close.

Google Image

Google Image

What happened next appeared dreamlike, in slow motion.

The door closed ever so slowly but inevitably.  And just before the door’s final slam, the strap from my purse fell  off of my shoulder and down; down to the inside of the machine’s door.  The door closed with a slam, with my purse strap closed inside.

I was trapped.  I couldn’t get my purse strap out of the machine.  I couldn’t get the attention of the Metro guy because he was too far away, and I didn’t want to leave my purse unattended.  I didn’t have another quarter to re-open the box.

Worse, I was alone, it was late morning by commuter standards.  There were no other commuters in sight. No one was coming down the escalator. No one to rescue me.  No knights in shining armor.  Nobody even wearing a three piece suit.

So I started to laugh. The silliness of being held hostage by a newspaper vending machine made me laugh so hard that tears streamed down my face.  I laughed so hard I snorted; I cackled.  Had there been any children present they would have been terrified of me.   I couldn’t breathe and began frantically trying to catch a stray bit of oxygen now and then.

After several minutes, a few people came down the escalator but they avoided me.   Clearly they thought I was a lunatic.  They bought papers from other machines because I was laughing too hard to ask them to please, please release me.  Laughing too hard to explain just how funny life can be.  Laughing too hard to explain just what I was laughing about.

Eventually, exhausted, I spied one lone man coming down the escalator, and asked him to please, please help me out.  Please buy a paper because I really did need to get to work.  He bought a paper, and I was freed.

When I finally got to work, I went into my meeting late.  My makeup was smeared, and I looked like I’d been crying.  Everybody was worried about me.

“What happened to you, Elyse?” They all asked. “Are you alright?”

Instead of starting to tell the story of what had happened, I immediately started laughing-crying again, so that it took a while for me to explain that I had been held for ransom by a Washington Post newspaper box.  Not much work was done because everyone was too busy laughing.

“You’re the only person I know who has adventures everywhere they go,” said one of my co-workers.

“So, Elyse,” asked my boss, the head of the department, “how much ransom was paid for your release?”

“A quarter.”

He roared with laughter again.


So you see, Governor LePage is right: newspapers can in fact be dangerous.  You never know what’s going to happen when you try to pick one up.


Filed under Criminal Activity, History, Humor, Stupidity

92 responses to “Newspapers are Dangerous

  1. Outstanding! I’ll take a backseat to your Post story any day! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a fantastic story Elyse – I don’t know what you look like, but I can picture you stuck there, laughing hard, enjoying the absurdity of the situation. Glad I got to catch up on these older posts, thanks to that TwinDaddy dude.


    • Glad you stopped by, Trend.

      This experience really is one of my favorite. Of all the stupid things that have happened to me, this one is right there at the top. I am laughing just thinking about it.

      TwinDaddy is da man. Or da bomb. Or da storm trooper. A good guy all around!


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  4. Elyse, I started out my visit to your blog by attempting to read your most recent post, “Talking Turkey with Mom”. But I still haven’t read it yet, because I hit on the link to the story about the guy in Maine “hunting” from the comfort of his collapsible Coleman chair, and then having his hunting rifle dumped into a stream by a beaver because the “hunter” drove home, since he didn’t want to do what a bear does in the woods. Lol 🙂

    And how could I ever resist hitting on a link that reads “I was held for ransom by The Washington Post”? Now THAT is what I call one hell of a hook! It’s also a very uniquely funny story, and another very worthwhile “diversion”.

    I will now attempt to read the post that I originally thought I was going to read first, but believe me when I tell you that I am not complaining about the two detours I have taken here on your blog! 😀


    • Glad to help distract you, Chris! Glad you didn’t mind the detours! It’s always amusing to me to see who ventures off to the other posts. But this is one of my very favorite stories. I mean, I should have known that the Washington Post would become a neo-con rag way back when the paper held me for ransom!


  5. I’m sure that was quite a sight. What can you do but laugh? Now I know to be careful of those boxes.


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  8. I live in Maine. LePage is an idiot!


  9. And some people still think there ISN’T a vast, right-wing conspiracy designed to keep those with dissenting opinions from voicing them. Ha! I’d like to see those naive fools explain THIS blatant attack on you by a vending tool of the Great Machine.


  10. Great story, Elyse. One of the best things about blogging is that it allows us to discover other people, all struggling with the large and small moments of life. You’re definitely not alone.

    I wonder if anyone at the Washington Post ever watches All the President’s Men.


    • Thanks, Charles.

      Based on the current content of the Post these days, which makes me want to re-cancel my subscription daily (which was cancelled years ago), I’m pretty sure the folks at the Post are wishing Tricky Dick was back. Which Dick that is — Nixon or Cheney is anyone’s guess. It really is a shame what has happened to a once noble newspaper.


  11. Screaming funny yet again, my friend. Giggled through and then again reading some of your answers to comments, lol. Thanks for the laughs, Elyse. So glad you were freed!


  12. Hilarious, Elyse! Glad you were able to live to tell about it your capture! 🙂


  13. cooper

    I’m less worried about roving gangs of paperboxes than LePage’s quote that he feels TV doesn’t “spin” the news.
    How do we keep electing total morons into public office??? Wait…don’t answer that…


    • Yes, LePage is a piece of work, isn’t he? As I said to Darla, he’s a Maroon. Just tonight I saw that Senator Cruz (R-Stupid) said that folks should stop reading the NY Times. Because, apparently it contains too many facts and possible, correct English. Lord help us.

      I think a huge part of the problem is that we don’t teach civics. It should be required each and every year from 5th grade through high school. Folks no longer know why to care and so they don’t.


  14. Sometimes it’s best to leave those newspaper beasties in their cages… 😉


  15. Snoring Dog Studio

    That’s hilarious! I can see this kind of thing happening all the time! What a nice ending, too. I imagine that you’re a lot more careful about those machines now.


    • Glad you liked it, SDS — and I think that humans as a species do this sort of thing more than we admit. Unless we are bloggers, that is.

      And I am very wary of those machines — I haven’t used one in years. And I cancelled my subscription to the Post many years ago too. Payback is hell!


  16. Oh, don’t get me started about our ‘governor’ and I use that term VERY ligthly here. Gah! Is it enough to tell you I am keeping track of how many days we have left of this jackass?? By the way, I feel the need to tell you only like 30% of us voted for the dillwhack. (yes, that’s a word, my nephew uses it all the time and it’s fitting)

    This story had me laughing so hard! You are the best storyteller. And also? I can see that happening to me for sure. Awkward moments are my thang, baby. I’m always getting myself into weird predicaments. Well, I hope today when you venture out, you bring a buttload of quarters with you wherever you go, Elyse.


    • Darla, I don’t hold you responsible for the idiot — don’t worry. And I can’t believe this guy claimed he had a mandate — with 31%? Seriously? What a maroon.

      The most reassuring thing about posting this story is knowing that all my blogging buddies are equally awkward. It makes the world a much better place, don’t you think?

      And coincidentally, just yesterday I put a whole bunch of quarters in my car because you never know …


  17. GOF

    Priceless, and well told. Fiction just never measures up to real life. I’d like to think that I would have been the hero who bailed you out, but I probably would have opted for the ‘lunatic’ theory and avoided you. I must work at becoming a better person.


    • But this is fiction, GOF!

      Sadly, no it’s not. It’s pretty much exactly what happened.

      As for your roll had you come down the escalator, there is a window here for you. You could have accepted the fact that I was a lunatic and tossed me a quarter from a safe distance … a wise hero.


  18. That’s truly one of the best stories ever!


  19. What a great story! I would have laughed too hard to ask for help too – either that or I would have dragged that machine onto the train with me.


    • Those machines are so very dangerous that they are no longer found in the Metro or even nearby them. Apparently, I was not the only hostage ever taken.

      Or maybe they just took them away to reduce pollution. One of the two!

      Glad you like the story!


  20. Hahahaha! That is hilarious and you are worth so much more than a quarter.


  21. Now, Elyse, let’s not blow this out of proportion. They refill those machines every day; at worst, you would have been released within 24 hours. I’m sure the Metro station would have been a perfectly lovely place to spend the night.


  22. I know it wasn’t your fault, truly it wasn’t. So glad you laughed so hard about it, that it didn’t create trauma in a dream you couldn’t awake from. You need to learn Spanish as they even have a grammar for these “unintentional events” in life — Se me agarró el periódico = The newspaper got me. Se me descompuso el coche. = My car up and died on me. Se me olvidó la cartera. = I forgot my wallet. ( The wallet forgot itself on me.) Yep, you need a little Spanish in your life.


  23. I love there are others in this world like me and they are on my side of the fence. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

    I would have paid one hundred quarters to free you.


    • Val, I will be certain to tell all folks who hold me captive i the future to hit you up for the ransom.

      This really is one of my favorite stories. It is so deliciously silly!


  24. this is hilarious! i am laughing with you, elyse, not at you, because it sounds like a situation i would find myself in.


  25. Soooo great to be able to find a good laugh in life’s crazy moments! This is a fabulous post! (Get it? “Post”?)
    Glad you were freed to write another day!


  26. I thought these things only happened to me, Elyse. It gives me great comfort to read this story and laugh out loud at a sister of the mishaps. Great story. Got more? 🙂


    • Thanks, Eleanor. Welcome to the club. I think it is one of those clubs Groucho-and-then-Woody were talking about though, where they didn’t want to join a club where they’d be allowed as a member.

      I have many completely humiliating stories. I try to dole them out slowly to reduce my pain …


  27. I shudder to think of your fate had the ransom not been paid! Funny story!


    • Sandee, I shudder too. By now, many years later, I would be a shell of my former self. But perhaps I would be more up to date on current events.

      Nah, it was the Post …

      Glad you liked the story.


  28. Personally I think you are worth far more and so is this story. Hysterical!


    • Thanks, Michelle!

      I think the cover price of the Post these days is 75 cents … perhaps I could entice someone to pay a couple of bucks for my freedom.

      I actually knew some folks who had a relative in Colombia who was kidnapped. They paid the ransom — and I am NOT making this up — by credit card. I’m quite sure it was more than a quarter, though.


  29. That’s a good one Elyse. I bet you are reading your news online these days!


  30. On the other hand, if LePage was eaten by a vending machine, I don’t think there are a whole lot of people that would cough up even a quarter to set him free.


  31. This is hilarious! I LOVE this story. I hope you tell more of them.


  32. This is so funny. I’m glad to learn I’m not the only one who these types of things happen to (I broke a small bone in my nose opening my fridge door once. Yeah, smooth, I know.) But the fact that you laughed about it, even WHILE it was happening, shows what a good sense of humor you have. And to live in this world, that is something we all need.


  33. Only you, Elyse. Only you.


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