The other day it came up in a conversation Juliette and I were having that when I was a kid I would sometimes hollow out dill pickles and drink soda out of them. Usually Vernor's, if memory serves. You might be wondering what sort of conversation we were having that this would be a relevant bit of information to add. Unfortunately, I don't remember. And, of course, the larger and more obvious question would be, "Why did I do that?"

Now, I could try to explain it in a way that made sense, something about the flavors or convenience or something, but we both know that that would be a load of horse puckey. Really, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. For whatever reason, I really liked pickles when I was a kid. And I liked drinking soda. And when I visited my dad's house, he always had plenty of both. I was probably eating a pickle one Saturday afternoon and noticed that I could eat some of the seeds out of the middle of the pickle without breaking the surrounding skin, making a cup-like shape, and from there it probably just didn't seem like much of a leap to see if I could hollow out the whole pickle, and then see if it would hold liquids. It's probably the same sort of impulse that led me to try biting the ends off of a Red Vine and using it as a straw. Or maybe not--I know a lot more people that did the Red Vine straw thing than the pickle soda cup thing. (I suppose it was really more like a pickle shot glass, but this is a silly enough story as it is.)

OK, yes, I did a lot of weird things when I was a kid. But what I think is so great about little stories like this are that everybody has at least one. Everybody can remember themselves or their younger siblings or their friends doing stuff just as weird as drinking ginger ale out of a hollowed-out pickle. Probably weirder. And there's something wonderful about that universality, something that makes me feel a little closer to someone when I hear about their childhood quirks. Or even their present-day quirks, really. I think we could all use a little more of that, or at least a good chuckle.

So, tell me: what's your story?



I used to take those jelly bracelets and put them in my mouth and pretend I had a retainer. One time I even did that at school and told my teacher it was my retainer. I don't remember what her reaction was but I'm sure she mentioned it in the teachers' lounge that day.