On a recent night while I was getting my kids ready for bed my 9-year-old asked “Who is D.S. Cooper?” After a moment of thinking about it I asked, “Do you mean D.B. Cooper?” and he said yes. (A week later one of my kids brought him up again by saying, you know P.G. Cooper? So we’re still working on getting the name right.)
My kids are at the age where they ask me a ton of questions and I (and Google) do my best to answer them although bedtime is often when I am most exhausted and therefore less willing to try to answer whether I think a normal person or a person turned into a zombie would actually be stronger.
The questions are often sometimes very random—we’ll be just eating ice cream outside on a nice sunny afternoon and one of them will say something like, “Who was the worst person in history?”
In this particular instance, I was able to figure out my kid was asking about D.B. Cooper because it was referenced in an episode of Loki. I explained the basics of what I knew about the famous hijacker who had jumped out of a plane and had never been found, and then both my kids were intrigued and began asking more questions. And after an internet rabbit hole search, I found something that surprised me — that in the 6 months immediately after the D.B. Cooper incident there were 13 more copycat cases.
They were so frequent that I feel like if you were flying on a plane during that time you probably thought, welp, there is a pretty good chance that at some point on this flight, the person sitting next to me is going to stand up and demand some money and parachutes. I also later read that after the U.S. had more than 130 hijackings in 4 years (!) the public was finally ready to get on board with things like metal detectors in airports.
So the moral of the story is, sometimes Googling internet rabbit holes when you are tired is worth it because you will find out interesting info. And also, sometimes these rabbit hole-type things can even be turned into pieces. So you’re not just Googling, you are percolating potential writing ideas and/or informing your children of important historical topics.
Keep reading for the April edition of my monthly recs round-up.
Funny stuff and other distractions:
I related to the above Reductress headline a little too much.
Some social media algorithms seem to be showing me funny cat content recently and I’m honestly here for it.
This piece in which Jena Friedman asked male comedians questions she typically gets as a female comedian is *gold.* The piece is an excerpt from her recently released book, which is now on my TBR list.
This month I listened to Now is Not the Time to Panic on audio and liked the story of friends who create a piece of art that turns into a panic. I appreciated some of the funny asides from the book’s narrator woven in and was also particularly interested in the author’s note at the end about how the unique phrase that much of the book is centered around came to be.
I also recently finished Wendi Aarons’ book of humorous essays I’m Wearing Tunics Now. I liked learning about her humor writing career trajectory and I think Gen X women will particularly appreciate this one.
Happy almost book birthday to Karen Debonis whose memoir Growth comes out next week. I read an advanced copy of it and blurbed it, and I found the medical mystery element of Karen trying to get an accurate diagnosis for her son compelling. I also appreciated her discussion of being an introverted mom (which I can obviously relate to!).
Writing things to check out:
Substack has started a Twitter-like application called Notes, which I’ve been trying out. I’m honestly kind of here for it as Twitter seems to be a slow-moving tornado where maybe a few fences and cows have flown away and you know the worst part of the storm is coming but you're just not quite ready to go down to the basement yet.
Appreciated learning some behind-the-scenes info on Belladonna submissions in this newsletter.
Slackjaw editor Alex Baia recently shared some common humor writing mistakes.
Museum of Americana, which has a humor section, is open for submissions until the end of this month so you’ve got a little bit of time to get a submission in.
Writer friend Andromeda Romano-Lax recently shifted her writing newsletter over to Substack and had some great tips on querying (and she may have also given a kind mention to this very newsletter).
Guess whose kid recently studied the Titanic? This newsletter has been brought to you by history.
A few final things:
I could use a couple more tips for a future newsletter I’m planning to run about balancing parenting and writing. If you have a tip or two you would like to share on this topic, hit reply and let me know.
For real, though: Do you think a normal person or a person turned into a zombie would actually be stronger? Feel free to discuss this important question in the comments.
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What does it say about me that: a) I was not aware of D.B. Cooper and b) most of my internet rabbit holes are along the lines of “did B.J. Novak father Mindy Kaling’s kids”?
Thanks for the shout out! And the cool hijacking stats!