I guess you'd have to call today's post "part three in a two-part series," or something. It's an afterthought to my last two eBay-related posts.
A few years ago, at about the same time that my eBay ads were occasionally becoming goofy, a true eBay phenomenon occurred. Briefly: A guy with the user name Teajay101 -- Tommy Johnson, as it turned out -- put up a jar for auction, a jar which (he very seriously proclaimed) contained a ghost! In no time, his detailed listing had received thousands of hits. The final bid was for fifty thousand, nine hundred and twenty-two dollars. The winning bidder stiffed Mr. Johnson, however.
Reaction by eBayers was almost immediate. Countless other dealers put up their own spoof versions of the ad. Some were jokes. Some were actual items offered for sale. The folks at eBay were not amused, and they pulled almost all of the ads, legitimate or otherwise. (The original ad by Teajay101 was deemed okay, though.)
Anyway, I was "there" when it happened, and not to be outdone, I too put up an ad. Two of 'em, in fact.
The first -- a short one which I didn't bother to save -- was called "GHOST in a BAR," and as best I can recall, went something like this:
This ghost walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Hey, pal, why the long face?" Get it? Oh, wait, silly me! That was supposed to be "This HORSE walks into a bar..." Makes more sense NOW, huh? Sorry.
As you may expect, eBay yanked that one immediately... not that I cared.
Then I decided to offer something that would still be a joke, but would also be a real item to sell. I entitled it "GHOST IN A JAR... I mean, in a Packet!!!"
And here 'tis...
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Yes, this is a real auction!
Okay, did you ever hear that old saying, "Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you?" Well, the other night, I was doing an eBay search for "Space Ghost" items, and I found -- You guessed it! -- the now-infamous Ghost in a Jar listing.
Curious? Of course. I read the description with more than casual interest, but at that time -- at that time, I stress -- I didn't expect it to impact my life. And I might have lived on, unsuspecting, if I hadn't gone back to that search. That's when I discovered that there were now several listings for ghosts in jars, bottles, and other containers!
If these ghosts were indeed so prolific, could there be one -- or more -- in my apartment?
It took hours, but I tore my apartment apart, looking for ghosts in every covered container. I looked in jars and bottles. I checked the refrigerator; I checked my DVD and videotape cases; I looked in my lunchbox from the 1994 film, The Shadow; I looked in my vintage glass Alka-Seltzer bottle; I even lifted the lid of the head of my Robot Commando.
I was tired, and frustrated, but I knew there had to be at least one ghost in my apartment. There were, by now, dozens on eBay alone! Who knew how many more existed, that were not being auctioned?
Giving voice to that selfsame frustration, I screamed aloud, "Darn you, ghost, where the heck are you?!?" (Actually, "darn" and "heck" weren't the exact words I used... but I digress.)
A tiny voice nearby squeaked out, "Not here!"
I am not easily fooled, trust me! "Not here," indeed! I made my way to a small collection of sealed objects. Specifically, seven packets of Equal sweetener, a well-known sugar substitute. Sealed packets.... Hmm.
I examined them all carefully. All seven appeared to contain powdered sweetener, but I knew that only six held Equal, and one held ectoplasmic residue! I'm about 99% sure I've identified the right one...
And that's the one I've scanned and put up for auction. Why, you may wonder, do I want to get rid of a ghost which wasn't even bothering me in the first place? Well, I've always been one of those people who goes out of his way to avoid looking "fannish" -- I refused to see "Jaws" and "Star Wars" in the theatres when they were initially released, for example -- and since it's obvious that almost everyone else has his or her own "Ghost in a Jar" (or "in a Whatever"), I don't want one.
By the way, as stated above, I'm only 99% sure the packet I'm selling has the ghost in it, so if you buy it, and open it, and get nothing but artificial sweetener for your trouble... Sorry, no refunds!!!
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Of course, the humorless schlubs at eBay yanked that one, too. *sigh*
My next post will be the fourth and (probably) final entry in this... errr... two-part series.
Thanks for your time.