Out Of The Box #socs #JusJoJan

By far, the meanest toy you can get for am infant or a toddler has to be a Jack In The Box. It’s fine while Jack is in the box, but when Jack pops out of the box…

It’s scary to little kids, but the older they get, the fear is replaced with glee.

I always used to hate it when my managers would encourage me to “think outside the box.” Invariably, what they meant was “think outside your box and think inside mine.”

If you have a cat, then I’m sure you know how much they love boxes. When we had more than just the one cat, we had some that liked getting in the box and waiting for one of their housemates to walk by, whereupon they’d leap out of the box and swat the other one.

My favorite Internet kitty is Maru, who loves to get into boxes. It doesn’t matter if they’re too small for him. Which are just about any box, because Maru is a very big kitty.

Linda is our charming hostess for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and also for Just Jot It January.

Now a word about Phillip Morris new king-size cigarettes. It’s America’s finest cigarette!

44 thoughts on “Out Of The Box #socs #JusJoJan

    1. I’m sure some child psychologist can come up with a bunch of $10 words to explain why being scared to death by a box playing “Pop goes the weasel” until a clown bursts through the top is important to a child’s early development, knowing they’re drumming up future business…

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  1. You nailed this prompt – so fun! My kids were terrified of the Matel Jack-in-the-Box we had until I realized it was a collectible and put it on a shelf to catch dust. The girls were then fascinated with the untouchable Jack. Maru is adorable…! My two cats adore boxes of all sizes, I should try leaving out smaller ones to see if they’d try them too. I usually only put out ones they can fit in easily. Anyhoo…I enjoyed your take on the prompt, John!

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  2. In my previous life as a church music director, I spent a very tense year in a state of constant conflict with an interim priest who was always exhorting me to “think outside the box.” In this case, “thinking outside the box” meant using different instruments and groups of instruments for Sunday worship, as opposed to just the keyboard. The man knew nothing whatsoever about music, but he was convinced that the reason I did most of the music myself was that I was hopelessly lacking in imagination, that I was unaware that there were other instruments that could accompany congregational singing or provide instrumentals. No, really? Of course, the catch is that you have to find people who are both competent on other instruments AND willing to get up there and actually perform in front of a church full of people, which is no easy task. And even after you do that, someone still has to a) choose the music (which, if you’ve never done it, is a lot more challenging than it sounds); b) arrange the music for whatever group of instruments you have (which is extremely time consuming); c) transpose the music for any instruments that aren’t in C (even more time consuming, and even less fun); and d) rehearse the musicians (assuming you can find a time outside of church when you can get them all together). Where did this clown think I was going to find the time to do all of that? I was a full-time homeschooling mother with four kids, I was up to my neck in work already, and the church gig was something I did in my spare time (unpaid), and he wanted to me take on the equivalent of another part-time job? I never was able to get him to understand why most Sundays I just played the keyboard, rather than try to assemble an orchestra, and to this day I’m sure he has unpleasant memories of that stubborn music director who refused to “think outside the box.”

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    1. I spent enough time as a music minister to know that the job you describe is that of a full-time Director of Music Ministry, a job that pays good money even in a small parish. It’s not just something you do in your spare time for free. I’m amazed sometimes at the nerve of some people…

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      1. Maybe it pays well in some parishes, but in the small, constantly-struggling parish I served, the primary qualification for the job was one’s willingness to work without pay. It definitely wasn’t a position I’d sought. The previous music person died, and I agreed to fill in temporarily until the vestry could find someone else to take over the job. Problem was, they somehow never got around to looking for someone else — a fact that really ticked me off once I wised up to it. But most of the people seemed happy with the job I was doing, and I discovered that I had some aptitude for it, so I ended up doing it for about fourteen years.

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  3. I HATED my jack-in-a-box when I was a kid. That thing scared me to pieces. I was probably 10 y.o before I could play with it and by then I was too old for it. Stupidest toy ever…

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    1. Some kids really like it. I kind of liked mine, after the initial shock of having a clown’s head pop out of a box.

      We had a company in Chicago that sold a brand of windows called Solartherm. Their commercials started with the devil’s head flying out of the background yelling “SOLARTHERM!” I would scream whenever the commercial came on, so my parents would try to change the channel every time the commercial came on. They said I would scream louder if they didn’t let me see it…

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  4. Oh I love the video of Maru. I will send the video to my daughter – her five year old will love it, I liked your translation of what managers really mean when they say think outside the box. It made me chuckle because you are right on!

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    1. Maru has quite a selection of videos out on YouTube. His Mom has been doing them since he was about three, and he’s 15 now. A lot of people will be in mourning when he heads to the Bridge.

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  5. Yes, jack in the box is kind of scaary – cute little tune and then pop he comes out. Oh the cat video is so funny, both of us were laughing out loud! πŸ™‚

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  6. OMG, Maru is hilarious! With the first box, I imagine him thinking, “Why does my butt not fit in this box? Did the box shrink?” I wonder what Maru would do with a jack-in-the-box…

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    1. Maru will get into a too-small box and go to sleep. He’s a riot! There are videos of him stuffing himself into clear plastic boxes and going to sleep. The owner has a couple more cats (Hana and another whose name escapes me) that make guest appearances in some of the videos. As for Maru and a jack-in-the-box, he’s so laid-back he’d probably look at it for a minute then try to get in the box with the clown…

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  7. The Jack in the Box is one toy I never warmed up to. Even today when whatever is hidden in the box jumps out, I am startled – even though I fully expect it. I never found them to be funny or fun. But I do love cats and we have had our many. Our current one, Lucy, is about 27 lbs and is desperately trying to squeeze herself into a Keurig K-Cup box!! I will never tell her it’s a losing battle.

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    1. There’s something about cats and boxes. They have to try and squeeze themselves into them. If you leave a pot out, they’ll try to get into that, too, and sometimes you go in the bathroom and see them resting comfortably in the sink.

      Our cat Willie was about that size, too. He loved to run out the door when we would open it, and we were like the Keystone Kops trying to get him back in the house. When we discovered that he would chase after the red dot of a laser pointer, we never had a problem getting him back in the house.

      By the way, telling Lucy that she can’t fit in a box only makes her that much more determined to get into it…

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      1. Lucy is strictly an indoor car. She snuck out momentarily one day. Now every time one of us walks toward the door – front or back – she’s right there thinking she’s going out. Not a chance, girl! I swear I can almost hear her saying “Curses! Foiled again!”

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  8. so right about this John. there is a certain age where it is terrifying and then it turns to surprise and joy. the trick is in finding that sweet spot. I like your explanation of what a manager really means by that phrase .)

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    1. When I was working as a supervisor at a food company, I was asked to recommend raises for my crew of three. I wanted to give them all a dollar more per hour (doesn’t sound like a lot, but at the time they were only making $5 an hour), and when I turned in the recommendations, my boss said “What, are you nuts?” Apparently their idea of a raise for the entire crew was 25 cents, 9 cents for the lead man and 8 cents for the other two. That’s when I learned the difference between what I considered a raise and what they considered a raise…

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