Sideswipe

A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe: February 15: S'cool bus

Colm and Jo from Manurewa cracked up at this "school bus" outside the Colville General Store.

Death chant butts in

Unlike most countries, cigarettes are sold in singles in India and most shops that sell them have electric lighters attached to the wall for their customers to use. An anti-smoking campaigner fitted the lighters with a device which plays the Indian death chant every time someone lights a cigarette. "Raam Naam Satya Hai" is chanted when a dead body is carried to the funeral pyre. Most smokers observed in this experiment couldn't bring themselves to light up.

What we believed as kids ...

1. One of my friend's parents convinced me Watchman's Island (the tiny island you can see from the Harbour Bridge) was Fiji ...

2. As a young boy during the late 1940s early 50s, my neighbour, a young man around aged 19, told me the beautiful glass stoppers out of Worcestershire sauce bottles were fossilised giants eyes. I believed him. For many years as a teacher, I would take a couple of these these "giant's eyes" and used them as starters for children's creative writing.

Some of their stories were excellent!

3. My mother always used to tell my sister and me she had eyes in the back of her head ... I decided to test her and poked my tongue at her one day when she was cooking tea. Much to my surprise she told me off for doing so. Years later I found out she had seen my reflection in the oven window ... for ages afterwards I was always wary of what she could see even if she wasn't looking.

4. As a result of a motorcycle accident in my teens I have long straight scars running all the way down both thighs. I explained to the kids that I had false legs and the scars were from sewing them up. I told them they could do anything to them as I wouldn't feel a thing. For years I suffered with my leg hairs being pulled and my legs being kicked. I never reacted - though at times it hurt like hell.

Bombs away

Harold Hadley jnr, 19, was charged with a bomb threat at Jones County Junior College in Mississippi. Friends and family point out that Hadley is a notorious wind-breaker and that when he wrote that he "passed a bomb" in the library, it was probably just methane and not explosives. (Source: News of the Weird)

- NZ Herald

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