Scavenger Hunt Exercise

It’s a white box of a building with old dressers, vanities, and couches lining the walls outsides of the front doors. I had driven by it so many times before, but this time I had finally stopped and taken the time to go inside.
As I was walking in no one was there to great me. I think I may have passed the owner outside, two people had been unloading a van with more “antiques.”
The signs advertised that this place I had never been before was an antique flea market. I could barely contain my excitement.
It was spacious, that’s for sure. The only things separating one makeshift room from the next were sections of metal chain-link fences possibly 10ft tall.
It appeared that each makeshift section was given a number, and these sections are rented out for people to use to sell whatever they want.
Some sections have themes. I remember one section being wholly dedicated to Coca-Cola and NASCAR, and another to what appeared to be hair extensions made from yarn. I wish I was kidding.
Other than the occasional themed parts, a lot of them looked the same. Glass bottles, vintage beer cans, dishware, seasonal/occasional Barbie dolls, records, etc.
Walking around there seemed to be strategically placed radios. The first one I cam across happened to be playing “Hurts So Good.” Only fitting to have “oldies” playing. In this case oldies meaning anything from the early 90’s and before.
Later I also heard bits of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Barracuda.”
I began feeling nauseated after breathing in 30mins worth of dust, mothballs, and possibly black mold, so I left. However, not before hearing the owners phone go off. His ringtone sang “I’m sitting at a bar on the inside, waiting for my ride on the outside. She stole my heart, in the trailer park…”
I was gone.


“It can be a song you can’t get out of your head, or that of the more clinical realm,” says Dr. Larry Sensenig.
The girl that is constantly picking apart her reflection in mirrors and windows, another that paints her nails every other day, and yet another who has anything and everything having to do with penguins ranging from stuffed animal penguins to handy dandy penguin decorated duct-tape. What do these three have in common?
Actually, 80 percent of the population admits to having something in common with these three women, intrusive thoughts, and whether male or female, we are all equally at risk.
Obsession is defined as “a thought or image that keeps intruding into a person’s consciousness,” in the 9th Edition of Abnormal Psychology: Current Perspectives, a standard textbook for psychology professors and students.
“We all have obsessions,” says Dr. Sensenig, a Chair of the Psychology department and Professor at Morningside College since 1974. “Haven’t you ever been driving away from your house and then thought to yourself, “Did I shut the garage door? Did I forget something?”
Little obsessions like these occur everyday, and do not need treatment. It is at the other end of the spectrum, when obsessions become diagnosed as OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
When an individual has OCD they experience extreme distress from their intrusive thoughts, and deal with these thoughts by having rituals.
TLC television network is a host to the show “My Crazy Obsession,” which takes the viewers into people’s homes and introduces them to these people’s obsessions and how extremity of it.
There is a family that boasts of approximately 5,000 dolls, a woman head-over-heels for the color pink, and a “squeaky clean couple whose idea of a date night is admiring their collection of washing machines,” according to TLC’s description of the show.
What is it that triggers these obsessions?
The girl that is constantly seeking out her reflection may have been made fun of as a child for having food in her teeth, or possibly even a bad haircut. Maybe she didn’t wear “style-ish” clothes one day, or had toilet paper stuck to her shoe.
Whatever it may have been, there was probably an event from which her obsession stems.
Same with the girl who paints her nails every-other day, and the other with her penguins. Who knows exactly where these obsessions stemmed from, but these are their ways of dealing with their “unwanted intrusive thoughts,” a.k.a. obsession.

Meet the New Boss (Leads Exercise)

In my News Feature and Writing class we’ve been discussing “leads,” the varying types, which work, and which ones don’t. For this exercise we were asked to pick a story and generate three different leads.

“Meet the New Boss” was a feature article written by Josh Eells in Rolling Stone’s August 30, 2012 issue. A portion of the article can be found HERE.

The original lead struck me as possibly being a mix of Contrast, Setting Scene, and maybe even Anecdote. Here are the three leads I chose:

Quote – “It wasn’t like he turned into Rick Ross overnight.”

Question – What do William Roberts, a corrections officer, and Rick Ross “The Boss,” an avid pot-smoking, rap mogul, have in common?

Contrast – He’s the only man alive with a diamond encrusted medallion of his own face, drops $500 on a meal for himself, and has 40 different rides to choose from on a day to day basis. What you don’t know about Rick Ross “The Boss,” legally named William Roberts, is…

Rick Ross “The Boss” on the cover of Rolling Stone’s 1164 Issue

Needs-Coke/Pepsi Story_Final

Right now, if I asked you if you needed something, what would you say?

Would it be a new car? Money? Perhaps you are needing something on a more intellectual basis like inspiration, motivation, or knowledge.

For this assignment, with the only instructions being to hand out 24 individual sodas and to record the experience, I decided to create the illusion of giving people what they “need” with the help of a Coke can, or 24.

I wrote down needs that people would really have to consider, for instance: a second chance, time, faith, courage, etc. Then, upon realizing I was planning to hand these out on a hill to a bunch of young adults who had been tailgating all afternoon in preparation for thefirst Morningside football game of the season, I decided to throw some other “needs” in the mix. These “needs” went along the lines of: chaser, more beer, an athletic bone, sleep, etc.

The reaction of these 18 to 23 year old Morningside College students and their responses to what a “need” meant to them, interested me.

So I walked up the massive hill with my crate of Coke cans, and as I’m trying to keep my footing halfway to the top, I see a woman running towards me.

“Is that beer? Do you have beer?” she asked.

“No, but I have a refreshing Coke,” I responded, trying my best to sound convincing. I found this to be a great opportunity to figure out how the rest of the students would possibly react.

The woman gave a disappointing, or maybe disapproving, sigh and walked away.

That is when I thought, Oh great… These people don’t want refreshing Cokes! They want alcohol, booze, more beer! How are they going to take to this project?

However, I continued my trek up the steep hill, and decided I wasn’t backing down. More so because that was one giant hill, and my apartment seemed forever away.

Curiosity arose as I walked up to the group of hill-goers, or as they like to refer to themselves “Allee-holics,” a student formed group named after our Allee-Verdoorn gym on campus. They have deemed themselves the unofficial, slightly obnoxious, cheerleaders for all the sports games (especially football, basketball, and volleyball).

I hadn’t quite thought through my approach, should I walk up to people and ask them to pick one, or should I just set the crate down and let people respond to it however they want?

I opted for the first approach, at least at first. I went up to a group, two guys and one girl I knew from the soccer team. She wasn’t drinking, so I figured she could use a Coke.

“Whaaat is thisss?” asked the first boy in a suspicious almost criticizing tone.

The girl in the group recognized what I was doing and tried to explain, which I was thankful about.

“Take what you need,” she said, “You have to pick something that you need right now.”

Then, she reached for the can that read “More Beer,” which I found to be pretty fitting since it was known that the women’s soccer team, which she was part of, was having a dry-season (zero alcohol).


In the meantime the second boy in the group had been reading them over. He had selected the can that read “A Second Chance,” but after having read the rest of them he put the can back.

“Time,” he read, and opted for that can instead.

With my cursed inquiring nature, and the fact that this was all an assignment for my News Feature and Writing class, I asked him why he had changed his mind.

“Because with time, I wouldn’t need a second chance. I would just have more time to do things,” he said.

I don’t know if I would have used that choice of words, but I think I understood what he meant.

The first boy had selected during that time the can that had read “Sleep.” With his bloodshot eyes it definitely looked like he could use more. Or, that could have just been the effect of the amount of alcohol he had probably ingested prior, either way.

After the group of the three walked away, I found people just pointing and staring. I’m not one to enjoy being the center of attention, so I thought I would now go for the second approach.

The Allee-holics had been done grilling for sometime, so I sat the crate on a ledge protruding from the grill. Then I placed the sign that read “Take What You Need” above the crate, and walked away.

For a while the crate was ignored, even avoided. However, the more alcohol intake, the snoopier people became.

Sooner or later, a couple girls walked up to the crate, looking it over. There was laughter, one girl trying to tell the other, “Oh no, you definitely need this one.”

They eventually chose and walked away, satisfied with their choices and a free Coca-Cola. One girl even showing their friends which one she had decided on.

Then, as if someone had heard me verbalize my worst nightmare, a crowd of intoxicated guys swarmed the crate. I tried my hardest to remain calm, maybe they were just curious and were just going to take one each and walk away, pondering to themselves what it really was they needed out of this life.

Yeah, who was I kidding?

They read them all, however, and were making jokes trying to give each other the ones they deemed most fitting for each guy in the group. Laughter was radiating from the area surrounding the crate, but the football game was still underway, so not many people noticed them.

I kept glancing over at the group, but at the same time trying to remain invisible to them so I could take a few mental notes on what they were saying and doing. Then, right as I thought I could breathe again, and my project was going to be okay, it took a bit of a turn.

One of the guys grabbed the sign I had made that read, “Take What You Need,” and blew his nose with it. At first I was furious. Then, in the midst of trying to calm myself down and hold myself back from stomping over to the obnoxious bunch to give them a few choice words, I pondered… Maybe that was exactly what he needed, something to blow his nose on.

I let it go, and they eventually all walked away. There was one soda left in the crate, and I was more than ready to be done with it. Besides, there was no longer a sign to explain what was going on anyway.

I thought my efforts to be somewhat successful depending on how you looked at it. It came down to me needing people to take the sodas off my hands so that I could accomplish an assignment, and these parched Morningside students sitting atop a hill on a hot day needed a refreshing drink. Perhaps I got through to them to think about their individual needs, perhaps I did not. Either way I got some kind of a story out of it; I got what I needed.