Thursday, January 8, 2009

The legend of Flat Stanley (A Horror Story)

There are a few things in life that upset me: Spiders, rude people, unruly children and spilling my coffee to name a few. But nothing gets my blood boiling faster than hearing the name Flat Stanley. On the surface, Stanley sounds like something innocent, but I am here to tell you that he is evil and has the power to tear your family apart.

Flat Stanley was the brain child Dale Hubert, a third grade teacher from Ontario Canada. Back in 1995, he decided to start this project to inflict pain on unsuspecting parents and students as well. The concept is simple: You take a picture of Flat Stanley and decorate it. Then you cut it out and there you have it….Flat Stanley. Then you send it to other people and they take stupid photos of them with Stanley or you take him on vacation with you in order to ruin your vacation and Dale should be shot or better yet put in a pot of boiling oil and slowly fried and tortured and and and Ha Ha….Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha….Whahahahahahahahaha

Sorry this happens every time I start to talk about Flat Stanley. I’m ok, really I am. So where was I. Oh yes….. The legend of Flat Stanley.

It all started on a warm spring afternoon. It was the last day of school before spring break and my wife went to pick up our youngest son. She parked the car and waited for our son to exit the building and he soon did. As usual, he broke into a run towards the car as soon as he left the school property. He hated that school and the people in it but that is another story for another day. As he got into the car, my wife made the statement; Yea, 5 whole days with no school and no homework, I know you are happy. Our son said, yes, but I do have to do this Flat Stanley Project and he handed the folder to my wife. Inside was a cutout of Flat Stanley and some instructions for completing the project. It sounded simple enough. Take Stanley with you during the break and take photos of your family with him. I guess Stanley is on his way to Orlando Florida. (Insert thunder sound here)

The next morning, bright and early, we headed out on vacation to sunny Florida. It was just my wife and I, our two boys and oh yea, Stanley. What could possibly go wrong? (Insert thunder sound again) We made it to our first stop which was Shoney’s for lunch. Everything was going just fine. We had our lunch and then decided to take our first family photo with Stanley. I managed to take a quick photo without anyone seeing much to my relief. Then it was time for everyone to take a quick bathroom break before hitting the road again. Soon we were back in the car and ready to head out but someone was missing. Stanley was missing and we all ran back in and franticly hunted for him. Turns out he was in the car and had slid under some paperwork. Whew that was a close one.

The rest of the trip down was very slow. There were traffic jams and detours and we arrived late, tired and aching. Stanly had a few mishaps including a near brush with death when a coke was spilled on him and he accidently got folded in half. We were able to straighten him out and dry him though so not all was lost. We all just went to bed early, tired and aggravated.

Day one of our vacation started and all was well. We were heading to Wet and Wild so Stanley couldn’t come along. Paper and water just don’t mix. So my son and I got up early and took some photos of Stanley in front of the Wet and Wild sign then we returned him to our hotel room. We stayed at the park until noon then went back to our hotel room to eat and visit with Stanley. We spent the afternoon back at the water park and tried to come up with other photo opportunities for our little friend. By the end of the day, I had heard enough about Stanley and if our son hadn’t needed a good grade on the project, we would have simply tossed him in a trash can. Not to worry though, we had enough photos for that day so we concentrated on dinner and forgetting about our little friend.

Everyone wanted something different so I got some fast food for my wife and youngest son and my oldest and I decided to go out to dinner. We both like Japanese and there was a restaurant just down the street so that is where we decided to go. There is nothing like a Japanese steakhouse to take your mind off your problems. Well we got seated with a family with young children and they were unruly throughout dinner so no relaxation there. I ordered some Saki to try and help me forget. Just when I thought everything was going to be ok, I heard some commotion at the next table. They were all moving to one side of their table to pose for a family photo. Everyone was smiling and happy and that’s when I heard the small child speak. “Wait, we have to get Stanley in the photo.” They were doing it too. I spewed Saki from my nose and I left the restaurant in a really bad mood. Enough is enough I thought

The next day we headed for Wonder Works because my son wanted to go there. The entrance takes you through a dark spinning room and my wife immediately got an attack of Vertigo. Inside, she had to sit while the kids played and I took photos of Stanley including one on a bed of nails. After she was feeling better and the kids were bored, we headed out to find something else to do. Next door was a putt putt golf course so we decided to do that. We all had a great time until we got to the end and you know who was missing. It was beginning to rain and we all ran around like mad men looking for Stanley. We finally found him just as the bottom fell out and we all ran soaking wet and angry under a covered area. My wife and I began to argue and soon we were shouting and the kids were crying. Stanley just lay there with that stupid smile on his face knowing that he had successfully ruined another family vacation. After cooling off and calming down, we decided to head back to the hotel and rest a while.

As we waited for the shuttle bus to arrive, evil thoughts began to run through my mind. I thought about bringing Stanley back to Wonder Works and this time impaling him on that bed of nails. I thought about matches and paper shredders and I even thought about letting the tram run over him just so he could have tire marks on his body. It would be a sign of defiance to the teacher. But no, we refrained from such violence and decided to put Stanley back in the car. His vacation was over and he spent the rest of the day cooking in the car because it was so hot outside.

Well we finished the project and after paying 30 dollars to have the film developed, our son got a C on the project. It really didn’t matter at that point. At least the horror was over for us. We took Stanley out back for one last adventure and as we put the match to his little feet and watched him go up in smoke, we realized that life is too short to spend a vacation with Stanley. So if you are ever told to do the Flat Stanley Project, make sure and put up a good fight. It would be better to take ticks on vacation than Stanley!

Now for any of you that are stuck with the project and have to send Stanley to friends or relatives, here is a form letter you can use:

Dear (insert name)
You are receiving this letter because you are the only one that I thought would be gullible enough to go through with it or I just hate you. (You decide which it is). Anyway, here is what you have to do. Take a bunch of stupid photos with this stupid character and then spend a fortune getting the photos developed and send them to me with Stanley. My Child’s education depends on it. But don’t let that influence your decision to do this or not. In case you are wondering, there is no official scoring method but here is what I know about the grading scale:

Photos with Stanley in the Bathroom = F (too nasty)
Photos with Stanley in cheesy family poses = D (been done a million times)
Photos with Stanley ruining a vacation = C (You are a sucker like me)
Photos of Stanley with a celebrity = B (And it better be someone big, see Buzz below)

But we are hoping for an A so here are the options we want you to choose from:
Photo of Stanley with a pr*stitute (in a compromising position gets an A+)
Photo of Stanley at a funeral (inside the casket with the deceased gets an A+)
Photo of Stanley in Mars (with a Martian gets an A+)

Please pick one of the above three choices and hurry, Time is running out.

Your ex friend (Insert Your Name)

Have a great day,

PS, For more information on the subject, Google “Flat Stanley Project”. If you dare. Wahahahah.

PPS. This post was my son's idea so blame him if it is too long


Monogram Queen said...

To think... I almost bought Madison a doll at Hamricks called "Flatsy"!!!! Hmmmm... maybe I shall ...and send Flatsy down to a visit with dear old Uncle Greg!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Our friend's son mailed us Flat Stanley last school year. The girls had to take hime places and take you said. I left Stanley in the evelope on the bar for the girls to pick up and do what they were supposed to do. Of course Stanley was forgotten.

A.J. goes through the mail on the bar and throws away the envelope and no one thought anything of it because we had forgotten about it about 10 minutes after we read the letter.

After about two months...and yes we still had forgotten about Stanley, our friend asked us about Stanley. Fortunately she thought the project was completely stupid in the first place.

I told her I had totally forgotten about it and so had the girls and apologized profusely. I also told here I wasn't quite sure where Stanley was. We laughed about it, she told us to forget about it and we're still friends and I'm quite sure Stanley is right where he belongs!

Scarlet said...

Your son's idea was fantastic! I loved reading about your adventures w/ Flat Stanley.

What's funny is I'd LOVE to do the Flat Stanley project. I think I might do it just for giggles. Seriously. I could take him on an airboat ride through the Everglades or bellydancing w/ Shahar. Oh, I think it'd be a riot! :)

My ADHD Me said...


Oh yes. We had the pleasure of having Flat Stanley twice. Lucky for us, we had to mail him to someone else.

I think one of them got sent to Hawaii but he never came back and has been considered MIA for about 10 years. He was last spotted drinking Mai Tais on the beach.

The other one returned home in a 51 page book! Included 60 pictures and 3 postcards!! Also included a journal of his entire trip. Started at the Virginia State Capital, then to Boston, Mass, and then to Quebec! (Interesting seeing Flat Stanley sitting in the seat of the Speaker of the House at The House of Delegates)

I think these women had a blast doing it. I don't remember the grade and it isn't marked in the book (I checked). plus, I don't see how they could have graded it...all we did is mail it away.

P.S. It still beats trying to help out with Physics homework!!

Chatty Kelly said...

Aww - I loved Flat Stanley. We still have him in his little cardboard sleeping bag we made him. Our Stanley was mailed to Iowa and Hawaii. One Flat Stanley (in the class) flew with a fighter pilot and one went to the White House and returned with an autographed photo of George Bush. My daughter's class had their picture in the local paper because of it.

Fond memories with Stanley. I think you must have gotten a flat Bob or something. He isn't as much fun as Stanley. LOL!

Sister Angie said...

Ok, I'm typing LOL and really meaning it. Why have I never heard of Flat Stanley? Does Saki in the nose create a burning sensation? Thanks for the mid-morning laugh, Greg.

Greg C said...

Well maybe it was his twin or something like that but ours was a very bad boy, and evil I tell you, just plain evil. :)

God's girl said...

Oh, I totally missed out on this! All my boys did was a "Zach-bear" and a "Dylan-bear" when they were each in 2nd grade. It was a little balloon weight in the shape of a bear, and it went around from person to person and returned to school at the end of the year. I'm soooooooooooooo sad...or am I relieved? Or do I really know? Hmmm... I don't know, but you are too funny!!!

Becky said...

Since Flat Stanley is made of paper con the Prostitute be an inflatable woman?

Great post... had me rollin'. I'll be sue to avoid FS in my home school adventures. :-)

Sandy said...

Another hilarious post by Greg. I am still laughing over this. The thing we have to do for our kids when they are in school to fulfill their requirements!! Is this something that goes on across the country. I haven't heard of this, so it must be happening between the time my last kid graduated and my one grandson is in 1st grade. Is this something coming in our future!

So funny....

Sandy said...

oh yeah, before you use to visit my blog, I had a gnome in the yard that insisted on coming on vacation with us to the bay area. I have photos of him, around the hotel, sitting on the patio, lying in bed smoking a cigarette...(I couldn't help myself I had to do it)....

this reminded me of my little gnome friend.

Leslie said...

Oh my gosh!! That is about as stupid as treating an egg like it is a baby! What the heck are schools coming to if this is a required educational project for our children?!? *sigh*

Edie said...

I have never heard of Flat Stanley but I would have a blast with him! Another blogger friend of mine has been blogging about her flat little visitor this week named Stella. It seems Stella is traveling the US and pictures are being blogged. When the week is up the Host(ess) must add something to her (I think tire tracks might be frowned upon) and send her to another blogger. I was really hoping to get her but I don't think it's going to happen. The Hostess that had her took her to Six Flags over TX, and Southfork Ranch. It was a lot of fun watching them entertain her.

If she doesn't make it my way maybe I'll create my own and you can be the first Host!! LOL!

Wanda said...

I had never heard of of Flat Stanley... But many years a cement duck disapeared from my front porch, and for over a year I got post cards from the duck from all over the country...some with pictures.... We never did find out who stole my duck, and took so much time sending me post cards.

Enjoyed so much this legend...


Beverly Lewis said...

I heard someone refer to Flat Stanley the other day and didn't have a clue what they were talking about. If it wasn't for blogging, I would be so behind the times! I guess he hasn't visited the woods in NW Florida and we don't need him to. Have a great weekend!

Kristen said...

Greg, this is beyond hilarious. Thanks for the morning laugh!!! I consider myself warned for when my son starts school this year.

What the heck is up with your son getting a C on the project? Ridiculous! For all that effort and expense, it sounds like he deserved an A+!

Edwina at The Picket Fence said...

Greg, thanks for reminding me of Flat Stanley, my daughter brought him home and we had to do some of the same things. (the things we do for our kids:)

Dorothy Champagne said...

Never heard of Flat Stanley - but I homeschool. HMMMMMMM...

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Ah, we did the Flat Stanley thing, too, but I don't remember it ruining our lives! This was a really funny post, Greg. I can't believe so many of your readers have not heard of this project. It's legendary.

I would never "Flat Stanley" you, but I have to tell you, you just totally inspired me for a carnival. Yes, you did!

Best line: Flat Stanley in a casket.

Jamie Dawn said...

Ha, ha, ha... this post had me chuckling.
So, poor Flat Stanley got burned from the feet up.
I'd say he had it coming for all the trouble he caused.
I think a video of Flat Stanley being burned from the feet up should be worthy of an A. Just enclose an essay on martyrdom, and that would do it.

skoots1mom said...

you are 2 funny! i've never heard of flat stanley but it gives me ideas of some fun to have with my youth group...

this reminds me of when i went to a school for two weeks up in Chicago...we were at bell communications research and one of the professors had a kids' toy, a stuff pig. Well, one weekend, a classmate stole him and took him home...they dresses him in local clothing, tooks pics with him, then mailed him back to the professor with the pictures...This started a fad within that class that lasted for YEARS...we knew about it b4 we went to class. This pig has been all over the world, China, Japan, Northern Canada...he even went surf boarding in Hawaii...and what was the funniest, the professor would read post cards to the class that the pig had sent home while he was off having far as I know, he's still traveling!!

Susan Skitt said...

Oh man Greg, my son (now in 1st grade) had to do that last year in K. We sent it to my sister-in-law in Maryland. At least she used to be a school teacher and was willing to help - lol!

I thought the whole idea of a boy getting flattened by a bulletin board falling on his bed was a little wierd - but hey, at least that author is making money at his writing - lol! (While torturing all of us!!!)

Anyhow, stop on by if you can. I am having a book giveaway contest :)

Happy New Year!

Marla said...

This a great adventure story with flat Stanley. You may not have had fun with Stanley but it sure made for a great story.

skoots1mom said...

thanks for coming by...
my uncles were the ones in my family always working on the should get some shots of flat stanley helping with the car...hee hee
you've got a gift I don't have... other than I used to change headlights and oil in my 280z before I became a mother and had to buy an SUV...

Mocha with Linda said...

Flat Stanley is a 2nd grade project here. We mailed him to my sister in South America, so it was a piece of cake for us. And she just had to write a letter about his adventures. She might have taken one picture. We have fond memories of Flat Stanley! Sorry it was such a bummer for you. Must have been his alter ego or evil twin! But it made a great story!

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