Things That Go Bump

September 6, 2002

My parents are planning to move out of the house they’ve lived in for many years, and where I spent my so-called formative years­ "formative" meaning that I finally learned to sleep without the light on. I’ve decided to place the following notice in all the major scientific journals and those magazines you see by the register in the grocery store but never buy:

Attention cryptozoologists: a unique opportunity to study a new and completely undocumented species has arisen in Tennessee. The species, referred to by the name "snuckles" by the only known witness, has only been reported in one place: the former bedroom of a small boy who has now reached adulthood. The habitat will henceforth be referred to as "Spare Room". Note: this matter is extremely urgent as the impending sale of the house in which Spare Room exists may change its ecology significantly enough that snuckles could be threatened with extinction. Although it is not known when exactly the current wardens of Spare Room and surrounding territories will vacate for another preserve known as "Florida", it is certain that this move will include the removal of a sub-habitat known as "child’s bed" where snuckles apparently spend most of their life cycle. Very little is known about snuckle ecology, although the witness has described three main types: yellow with blue eyes, red with black eyes, and black with red eyes. The last type is the only type described as dangerous; although there have been no attacks reported, black snuckles appear to thrive on fear they create in small children. (Note: it may be worthwhile to investigate other bedrooms or other habitats similar to Spare Room as snuckle populations may also live in these areas.) A previous attempt to collect snuckles by an untrained field worker known only as "nice lady from church" failed to produce any tangible evidence of the creatures. The shoebox in which the worker claimed she had placed a number of snuckles was destroyed. Researchers should note that snuckles avoid bright light and may have adverse reactions to it, although reports indicate that nightlights in the shapes of Bugs Bunny, Charlie Brown from the long-running "Peanuts" comic strip, and Spider-Man did not affect the creatures’ nightly hunting expeditions.

Researchers should also take precautions against another undescribed animal, an eel-like creature known as a "rivvet" behind the bookcase. Like many snuckles, rivvets are believed to be harmless, other than their tendency to knock extremely fragile and valuable objects off shelves. Researchers are also warned of a single, humanoid creature, possibly related to the Sasquatch, found in the closet. This creature is described as dangerous, temperamental, and to be avoided at all costs. Researchers should take precautions such as arming themselves, going to the bathroom before they go into Spare Room to avoid exposure to the closet door, and running in and out of Spare Room as quickly as possible, preferably hurling themselves the last few feet to the bed. Researchers are also warned that under no circumstances should the attic door be opened after midnight.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

(If the things under your bed don’t frighten you any more, here’s something that might.–CW)

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints by Quantas pilots and the corrective action recorded by mechanics. By the way, Quantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

P stands for the problem the pilots entered in the log. 
S stands for the corrective action taken by the mechanics. 

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire. 

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. 
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft. 

P: Something loose in cockpit. 
S: Something tightened in cockpit. 

P: Dead bugs on windshield. 
S: Live bugs on back-order. 

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent. 
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground. 

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. 
S: Evidence removed. 

P: DME volume unbelievably loud. 
S: DME volume set to more believable level. 

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. 
S: That’s what they’re there for! 

P: IFF inoperative. 
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode. 

P: Suspected crack in windscreen. 
S: Suspect you’re right. 

P: Number 3 engine missing. (note: this was for a piston-engined airplane; the pilot meant the engine was not running smoothly.) 
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search. 

P: Aircraft handles funny. 
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious. 

P: Radar hums. 
S: Reprogrammed radar with words. 

P: Mouse in cockpit. 
S: Cat installed

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