Stuck in the row with the BBQ Chips

All across the nation, schools have been gearing up for the return of the students. All the way from pre-kindergarten to college, from Seattle, Washington, to Miami, Florida. Desks have been arranged, the lockers are polished, and those vending machines are filled to the brim.

It is enough to make anyone want to go back to school. Even a raccoon. And Wednesday afternoon, police in Florida were called, when such a raccoon made its way into a vending machine at the Pine Ridge High School, in Volusia County Florida. That’s about 30 minutes north of Orlando.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office posted images of that little hungry raccoon, on Facebook. The masked bandit got himself wedged underneath some Herr’s potato chips and beside of a few Welch’s Fruit Snacks. But don’t let that fool you. Clearly, he was headed for the Strawberry Pop-Tarts, which were just below him by an arm’s length.

There are some nice folks down there in Volusia County. For anyone wondering about fate of this raccoon, Deputy Danny Clifton called in Animal Control. They put the whole vending machine on a dolly, and wheeled it out to an area where that furry friend could make his escape. They opened the vending machine door and waited. It took a little prodding, but the boy busted out and ran back home to his wife and kids. Empty handed.  It was like he didn’t really want to leave.

He’s going to be in big trouble by the way. With his wife. She sent him out two hours before that for a couple of bags of Cheetos, and maybe a few Rice Krispy Treats. And all he had to take home, was a big story about a brush with the law.

Here’s a video, to prove it all. (And the actual photos, are posted below.)

In the photos, he looks a little embarrassed. Strike that. He looks mortified. We’ve all been in those tight spots before. Maybe not jammed into the third row of a vending machine, but close.

Embarrassment hits us when we least expect it. Sometimes, so much, that we never forget the moment. We didn’t ask for it, but there it was. The thing about humans is that most people have a need to belong. We want to be liked. This desire to be “accepted” then leads us to self-regulation. Which is a pretty good thing, if you ask me. I’ve known a few people who have no parameters for self-regulation. Depending on how far this goes South, it can be quite uncomfortable for those of us in the near vicinity.

But, if by chance we think that people are evaluating us negatively, our sense of “self” takes a hit. The response is typically one of two things. Completely ignore it, like it never happened. Or, completely acknowledge it, and bring it to light, either by exaggeration or humor. Either way, I think the thing to keep in mind, is that it happens to all of us. We’ve all had that moment of awkward. At some point in time. To err, is human. To get stuck in a vending machine, is raccoon.

Oh that raccoon. I wonder how long he was in that vending machine, trying to completely ignore his blunder. Munching on Doritos, and Cheese Peanut Butter Sandwiches. And the more he ate, the more he was stuck.

So just remember, whatever might be going wrong in our own little worlds today, it could always be raccoon worse.



“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
― Mark Twain


“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays


“Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, “Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves