And when the strange and unlikely things that happen are the result of strange and unlikely people trying to scare or disgust people they don't know, I can generally figure out what they were intended to achieve (usually the creation of fear or disgust), because my experience of crime drama profilers has taught me a great deal about abnormal psychology (mostly that anyone who likes Blake or Poe should immediately be arrested).
But I simply do not know what to think about what my father found recently in his cereal box. He did not find a dead rat, a turd, or a manifesto in crabbed handwriting all about how Poe thought there was nothing more beautiful than the death of a beautiful woman--instead, he found:
1) Variable Winds at Jalna, by Mazo de la Roche (I had never before heard of the Jalna books, but just last week I found one in my building's laundry room, and the back cover informed me that they were "among the greatest literary accomplishments of the century." So that's something.)
2) The UCLA Story
3) a guidebook to Ontario ("includes Michigan, Quebec, and Western New York")
4) a photo of Lyle Lovett's head
5) a page with the words "your children's quarrels" and a picture of what I can only assume is one of those orange-y line-drawn 70s children.
And I when I say "found in his cereal box," I mean "found securely and professionally packaged inside his cereal box." Someone actually collected these things and managed to put them in whatever machine is used to seal cereal all up and then sealed them all up. And then went to the Hogg's Hollow Loblaws and put this on the shelf.
And, of course, when my father brought the box back to the Loblaws, the manager gave him many skeptical sidelong "we both know you put all these things in this box, sir" glances. The Loblaws manager declared that no one associated with Loblaws had ever read Jalna, and the people at Kellogg's also insisted no one there had ever heard of Jalna, but Kellogg's at least ended up giving him some vouchers.
I would almost be happier if my father had opened the box and found a turd covered in passages from Blake and grand claims about the reach and power of the Illuminati, because at least that I could understand.