Saturday, November 24, 2007

“The Miracle Bread Experiment”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: The following story is absolutely true. It proves that in America, money can come from anywhere. Even the dinner table.

America is a nation plagued with addictions.

Examples are everywhere in our culture. Hard drugs lead to a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair. Alcohol, cigarettes, and fatty foods humble even the most disciplined personalities. Gambling and adult entertainment entrap us without chemical stimulation. Naked avarice permeates every level of our society.

But one ultimate thriller exists that can overpower any of these with a siren’s song no one can resist.

It is ‘The World’s Online Marketplace’ – eBay!

In the Icehouse, eBay has long been a favored tool for acquiring guitars, books, records, and collectable trinkets. But thoughts of using it to vend items never fully developed. I remained fearful of learning the process, and more afraid of losing part of my collection.

Yet Soccer Fairy, our nine-year old, exploded my apprehension during a recent spaghetti dinner. While twirling noodles around her fork, she made an observation about a slice of Schwebel’s traditional Italian bread:

“It looks like a mouse!” she exclaimed. Her eyes were wide with the glow of discovery. It was a gaze not seen in our household since the premiere of ‘Spongebob Squarepants.’

Liz, my wife, agreed. “Wow, it really does.”

I played the skeptic. “Come on! You’re stretching reality…”

“Don’t be a poo!” my spouse replied. She raised the bread slice until it was against light from our dining room fixture. “Admit it. This is a mouse!”

“A Miracle Mouse!” The Fairy added.

I groaned. “Okay, it’s a mouse.”
Liz lowered the slice dramatically. “Just imagine what this could be worth. We should put it on eBay!”

Soccer Fairy bounced in the chair. Her blonde curls danced as she cheered. “Yes! eBay eBay, put it on eBayyyyy!”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Sure, we could list it… if I knew how.”

My wife brushed crumbs from her pink blouse. “Oh Rodney! It can’t be that hard! Look it up when you’re at the computer!”

I tried to protest. “Well, you’ve got to register as a seller, upload photos, and write a description…”

“This would be the perfect way to learn!” she interjected. “Like a trial run!”

The Fairy agreed. “eBay! eBay!”

Dinner was over, and my new chore was about to begin! I took a seat at the computer, and started to write:

A small manifestation of higher power? 0.01 Opening Bid

Item Specifics

Weirdness: Slightly Unusual
Item Type: Schwebel's bread slice
Subject Area: Miracle artifact

MIRACLE 'MOUSE' BREAD SLICE - Discovered during a recent family dinner by our nine-year-old daughter. We took this as a manifestation of higher power. Slice of Italian bread looks like a mouse in crouching position. This gentle sign seemed to indicate that we were being protected.

We regret having to part with this incredible item, but must raise funds to support the household. After prayer and consideration we have decided to offer our 'Mouse Bread' to someone else who desires a blessing from above! We are certain that it is a gift worth sharing.

A personal certificate of authenticity will be provided. There is no reserve. Shipping & Handling is $2.50 USD.

Happy bidding, and may blessings be yours!

After posting the item for sale, I spent several minutes pondering my entry. The routine hadn’t been difficult to master. But doubt made me uneasy. Would anyone really be interested in this dubious item?

My answer came quickly. The first bid appeared in only a couple of hours. Messages followed, regarding the slice of bread. I struggled to reply with serious prose:

ITEM # 140177142144 - Question & Answer

USMOUSIE: I'm a little concerned about mold.

ROD: Thanks for your question. The bread slice has been naturally dried to preserve its integrity as a miracle artifact.

USMOUSIE: You've got a great kid and she has a great parent : ))

USMOUSIE: I was shocked to see a bid on it so I go to see who it is and it's
my mother! She's in Holland now and I sent the link to her as a
joke. Now she is buying it for me. Ha ha! Don't tell her I
know ;; ))

P.S. - What on earth does she think I'm going to do with it?!
Probably give it to my pet mice to eat!

ROD: Bidding could get frantic at the very end. Watch carefully if you desire this item! Thanks for your interest.

The final hours of availability elapsed with incredible speed. A woman from New Mexico won the item for one penny, plus the cost of shipping. It was indeed marked for shipment to a second woman, in Brooklyn, New York. The mother – daughter transaction was complete. I added my own thanks when finalizing our deal.

Miracle Mouse Bread
Subtotal: US $0.01
Shipping and handling: US $2.50
Total: US $2.51


We were amused, and happy.

“Congratulations!” Liz gushed. “Our experiment was a success!”

I nodded in agreement. “It worked. Somebody actually bought a slice of bread!”

Soccer Fairy bowed her head, silently.

“Okay, so why the gloomy face?” my wife asked, patiently.

“We only got a penny?” our nine-year old complained.

“She’s right,” I laughed. “What about the college student who sold a bag of sugar from his kitchen on eBay? He got more than that.”

My wife wrinkled her nose. “Bids probably came from his friends and relatives. I’ll bet it was a stunt to get on CNN.”

The Fairy giggled. “Can we try selling something out of the cupboard?”

“Take your pick,” I agreed. “It might work better than the Italian bread…”

Liz frowned. “No!! Don’t get any ideas!”

I opened a bag of pork rinds while waiting for dinner. My snack was crunchy, and delicious. But then, a familiar vibe made me stop. I raised a rind to the light…

“Does this look like a bird?” I asked.

My spouse shook her head with puzzlement. “What?”

“A dove,” I repeated. “This is incredible! It’s another sign. Peace, love, joy. A dove says all of those things. And the holidays aren’t far away!”

Silence filled the room.

Finally, Liz stomped her heel. “No! Aren’t you ever satisfied?”

Soccer Fairy resumed her chant from the previous week. “eBay! eBay! eBay!”

I forgot about dinner. There was more work to do in the Icehouse!


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