The Gift (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #28)


I was riding in a car to my grandma’s house with my father and sister when we stopped off at the dime store. It was Mother’s Day and my dad was buying flowers for my mom.

Can there be a better place in the world for a kid than a dime store? Comic books, candy bars, plastic toys, pink superballs, squirt guns, and a mynah bird in the back that said the store’s name over and over. “Ben Franklin… Ben Franklin… Ben Franklin…

It was like a paradise. You could not have invented a store more designed for me.

And then, as we slowed for the big curve that told me without looking that we were about to enter the neighboring town, my father asked if we remembered to bring our cards. Our Mother’s Day cards.

“Of course,” said Ellen, bored. Without looking up from her book she held up her construction-paper heart. Somehow it had lace around it. It looked perfect.


My cards never looked like that. Mine looked like someone dropped glue and glitter and construction paper and a magic marker into a blender.

Her cards looked like a machine made them. Mine looked like the product of a sneeze.

But in this case it was even worse, because I had no card. For Mother’s Day! Her day.

She had two kids. I was one. And I had forgotten to make her a card. I was about to let her down.

I started to cry. I could sign my name to Ellen’s card, but that’s what I always did, and lately I’d begun to suspect that people saw through it. Certainly Mom would know. She saw through everything.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said my father. “What’s going on?”

I shook my head, unable to speak. My face had melted into tears. My mouth was stuck open.

“He forgot to make a card,” said Ellen, my interpreter in these moments. I hadn’t said a single word about the card. Somehow Ellen operated by big sister ESP.

“Oh the heck,” said my father. “Well, don’t worry. You can buy her one at the dime store.”

Buy her one! This was a treat! I could pick out something fancy, a perfect card. A card better than Ellen’s card.

I cheered up immediately. Vanilla cokes or cherry cokes (another dime store bonus), plus a perfect card, plus the flowers.

I was on my way. Continue reading


It’s The Jacke Wilson Show! Episode 6 – A Boy Named Johnnie



Holiday episode! Jacke surrenders to some seasonal melancholy and shares a story of his Grampa Johnnie, a Hungarian-American boy growing up in early-twentieth-century Wisconsin, where the forests were thick, the rivers were deep and fast, and life was rougher around the edges.

Hope you enjoy the show!

You can stream the show here:

Or directly download the mp3 file: The Jacke Wilson Show 1.6 – A Boy Named Johnnie

You can also find previous episodes at our Podcast page.

And subscribe to the whole series at iTunes by following this link:


Let me know what you think! Thank you for listening! Continue reading

Best Case Name Ever (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Another day, another Objectino.* This one straight from the courthouse…


Overheard at a legal proceeding:

LAWYER 1: What’s the best case name you ever cited in a brief? For me, I figure it’s gotta be Lone Star Ladies v. Schlotzsky’s Deli. Or here’s one for you: Fattman v. Bear. New Jersey case.

LAWYER 2: Fattman v. Bear? [chuckling] That’s pretty vivid.

LAWYER 1: No kidding. [shudders] Kind of makes me feel ill, just picturing it.

Continue reading

A Marriage at Odds (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Time for another Objectino!* This one comes straight from the underbelly of a marriage…


WIFE: [looking out the window] Oh great. It’s raining out. What are the odds that today is Saturday?
HUSBAND: One in seven.
WIFE: [exasperated] You know what I mean. It was sunny all week when I was stuck in that stupid office. What are the chances that the one day of rain we get this whole week happens to be on the weekend?
HUSBAND: Two in seven.

WIFE: I hate you sometimes.

Continue reading

It’s The Jacke Wilson Show! Episode 5 – The Gift



Hmm, Episode 5 is shorter than usual. Maybe because I had TWO embarrassing vacuum cleaner stories and I only told ONE of them. I’ll have to save it for the Director’s Cut edition. It’s one of the cardinal rules of professional podcasting: do not tell two embarrassing household-appliance stories in the same episode of a podcast. You could look it up.

What we DO have is a quick look at the Dubliners series, some thoughts about Not Knowing What To Say, and a proto-Object “The Gift.” And some (hopefully) improved sound quality, as I figure out exactly what the hell I’m doing. If you’re like me, you shrink from the overly packaged. You like things a little RAW. Well, that’s what you’re going to get. Not sleek. Not clean. Not gleaming. Raw. Ragged. Broken.

Hope you enjoy the show!

You can stream the show here:

Or directly download the mp3 file: The Jacke Wilson Show 1.5 – The Gift

You can also find previous episodes at our Podcast page.

And subscribe to the whole series at iTunes by following this link:


Let me know what you think! Thank you for listening! Continue reading

Reader Comment: More Thoughts on the Foxes

My favorite part of running this blog, by miles and miles, is reading the comments. Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they make me think, and sometimes they are very moving. Often it’s all of the above.

And then there are those that make me proud. Because they say flattering things about the writing (thank you, everyone!). Or because I’m proud to see the beautiful expressions of thought that my story has inspired.

Wonderful Reader quarteracremile responds to Object #26 – The Offering:

This is a lovely article. It always stuns me when people think of animals as wild and incapable of complex thought… Since I live and breathe animals every day and only WISH that much of humanity could compare. I’m glad you learned a bit more about that from your experiences. I wonder if you realize that the fox likely felt much the same way about your housing situation that you did… That they would have loved to live the safe, happy “grown up” fox life that they dream of… With no bb guns, no butterscotch colored dogs, no landlords ruling over their lives, without even being able to come and go freely in their own space, without being able to use their whole space as their own because of their landlords lingering presence… Of course the landlords in this case being your own family. And perhaps even that offering you a payment of “rent”, to help you feed your family, could smooth relations.

Of course, animals are not as complex. But we have a hubris of thinking we’re a lot more complex than we are. Thinking that complex emotions are anything more than glorified instincts and adaptability… And, truly, you were never in any danger (foxes, especially a healthy successful breeding pair, are unlikely to try to come close to a human unless you threatened the kits) and neither were the foxes… But neither of you knew that.

I hope you’re happier where you are in your life now… And I hope nature continues to grow on you. Animals are so insightful, loving, and thoughtful… Just because they do not dwell needlessly doesn’t make them dumb. Indeed, I wish I could dwell less and live more. So I also hope you end up living more as well as you find your inner fox.

Congrats on being freshly pressed!

Thank you! And thank you for the comment, which makes me want to be a better person. Onward and upward, everyone!

The Shirt Pocket Avatar (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Back to the workplace for another Objectino!*


Overheard in an office meeting:

MAN: I realized the other day that my shirt pockets are so thin you can see my photo ID through them. For years there’s been this little me riding around in my shirt, right on my chest, where everyone could see it. I had this idea that maybe I should use that little guy, like there’d be this little man who would say all the things I wanted to say but couldn’t. The real me would be saying, “Okay, I’ll get that to you right away, no problem.” And the little me on my chest would say, [makes tiny voice ] “Up yours, jackass.” I don’t know…am I working too hard?

WOMAN: I think you answered that question about five sentences ago.

Continue reading