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‘08 provided strange stories

It’s commonplace this time of year to see lists of all sorts of things: top movies, best books, most talked-about celebrities. There are serious lists (biggest news story, most significant event, most influential person) and not-so-serious lists (worst movie, fashion flubs, goofiest trend.)

It was a list along the latter line — the goofy part — that caught my attention last week. A national Web site let readers vote on the weirdest stories of the year. There were some gross ones, such as the woman who spent two years sitting on the toilet in her boyfriend’s bathroom or the family that decided to use their backyard grill to save money on mom’s cremation.

There were the oddball ones, such as the woman who was killed by her husband’s coffin as she went to his funeral or the one about the homeless woman who lived in a man’s closet for a year.

He only discovered her when he noticed some of his food was missing out of the kitchen, leaving one to hope this wasn’t an often-used closet or else he didn’t change his shirt very much.

And, the ones that makes you realize that people are, indeed, nuts, such as the man who had his friends shoot him so he wouldn’t have to go to work the next day.

Turns out the plan worked except he ended up shot and unemployed, too.

Tucked in the middle of these stories were my two favorites. The first involves a man in Illinois who loves beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon specifically. He loves his beer so much, he decided to have a casket made to look like a PRB can.

The 67-year-old plans to be buried in the can. Until that time, however, he will be using it as a cooler for — you guessed it — beer.

The second one was about a man who claimed he wasn’t burglarizing a house but rather was held hostage by a ghost inside the home he just happened to enter. The man said the ghost held him inside the home for three days, depriving him of food and water. Each time the man tried to leave, the figure would knock him down, proving that ghosts provide better protection that alarm systems.

Looking at these stories, I’m sort of glad 2008 is behind us. Maybe, just maybe, 2009 will find the world a saner place. Or maybe, just maybe, I can find someone who will build me a coffin that looks like a Diet Coke can.