Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

Sign up and read my novel for free.


Tag---You're It!

July 3, 2017

Many families have quirky habits not shared by other households, special words or favorite activities that bond a family together. Here at Casa Chatterbox we have such a quirky habit—okay, it’s really just me! I’m taking a risk that you won’t judge me harshly for admitting to such an aberration, but we’re all friends here, right?


I can’t recall when it first started; I think it began with a stereo/turntable Mrs. C. and I purchased in the 70s. I didn’t give it any thought until months later when it was pointed out. By then it seemed too late to rectify the situation. People figured I was making some sort of statement; if I were, I don’t know what that statement was. I had no idea back in the 70s that my particular aberration would become something more than a quirk.


No, I don’t have a closet filled with plastic doll heads, and I don’t collect fingernail clippings. My aberration has to do with gifts. I acknowledge that I’m hard to shop for. I don’t really enjoy receiving gifts because I usually short circuit and have an odd expression on my face that makes people think I don’t like the present. For this reason, my late in-laws always gave me booze. Evidently anything over twenty proof cancelled out that odd expression on my face.


So here it is—I have a fetish for tags, have great difficulty removing them. Our home is peppered with items I’ve received as gifts—items with tags still attached. I don’t keep these tags because I want people to know what things cost (most are only manufacturer labels) nor do I expect to return these items for a refund; the sailboat was given to me by Mrs. C. on my fortieth birthday, fifteen years ago.




Sailboat with Tag




Sofa with Tag




Dyson Vacuum Cleaner with Tag




Blanket from Yellowstone with Tag



Now that I’ve lost weight and enjoy receiving clothes it’s probably only a matter of time before I step outside of our house with tags still attached.


Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, or in this case the tag doesn’t fall far from the gift. Recently while visiting our son we noticed a leather shaving kit we gifted him several years ago. The tag was still attached.


What about you? Do you have any quirks you’d care to share?



Follow my blog with Bloglovin  





Okay, that's a little odd. But, who am I to talk? I take selfies with a plastic skeleton Mrs. Penwasser bought at COSTCO. And I felt the need to buy "him" a girlfriend.
By: Al Penwasser on July 3, 2017
He's called 'Bones.' She's called 'Bright Eyes.' I may not be well.
By: Al Penwasser on July 3, 2017
That is one weird fetish. I would love to analyze what makes that work for you. I used to shake my hands by my sides when I was trying to get calm when I was younger, but I no longer do that. I collect books of poetry, but that is hardly weird. I re-fold anything my husband folds, but if you saw how he folds...guess I am pretty bland.
By: Tabor on July 3, 2017
I'm obsessed with a bulldog college mascot I've never met. ha
By: PT Dilloway on July 3, 2017
I refuse to watch a TV show in real time--even sports. I record it so I can blaze through the commercials. With sports, I delay my start time by half an hour so I can avoid the commercials and time outs.
By: Arkansas Patti on July 3, 2017
Sorry... I have't been called up to any fetish team.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 3, 2017
I'm made of quirks. I don't leave tags on things, but I do leave on the stickers that movers put on my furniture. Some pieces of furniture have three stickers. A couple of pieces have five. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 3, 2017
Mrs. C refuses to remove those plastic sticky things that cover electronics so they won;t get scratched before they are sold...drives me nuts.
By: cranky on July 3, 2017
Well, that's just plain weird. At least it's harmless. Does Ancestry.com show you're kin to a Miss Minnie Pearl? Carry on. :)
By: scott park on July 3, 2017
No ! I'm too super random chaotic to have repetitive behaviours, However, enjoy your tags.
By: red Kline on July 3, 2017
Perhaps in your tender early youth you caught glimpses of Minnie Pearl. My mother used to keep manufacturer or warning stickers on items in the house and even on the car. I did not inherit that quality however. I'm glad to see you too are the proud owner of a Dyson!
By: Tom Cochrun on July 3, 2017
Well. That habit is quite...um...interesting! I don't think I have any quirks. Which I guess pretty much says that I'm NOT interesting.
By: Val on July 3, 2017
That's a minor habit to have, and it does no harm.
By: messymimi on July 3, 2017
Our cats would have those chewed off in no time, ingest the plastic hanger things and cost us a fortune in vet bills!! So what do you do with things that need washed? This comes to mind because I just bought some things at the thrift store with paper tags attached, and I forgot to remove the tags when I washed them, and ... (whispers) the tags disintegrated ...
By: jenny_o on July 3, 2017
I collect bird skulls. whenever I come across a dead bird I cut it's head off and put it in a fire ant bed so they can clean it off for me.
By: Ellen Abbott on July 4, 2017
Well, since I make tags for gifts, I think it's ok even though I would be getting the scissors out when you weren't looking and snipping it off the sofa:) I know someone who collects flyers. I collect shot glasses. I bet we love have a quirk but many don't realize it.
By: Birgit on July 4, 2017
Hmmm...that is weird. I can almost see leaving the tag on the sailboat, but on the couch? And the tag on the blanket - doesn't that interfere with being comfortably covered by the blanket? I have a (somewhat) similar quirk - I like clever or cool labels on wine bottles and have bought many bottles of wine just because I thought the label was fun.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 4, 2017
My house collects dust. Does that count? I do try to remove it occasionally.
By: Kate on July 4, 2017
nope- to my knowledge I do not have any quirks.....nor does my sweetie pie.... Your tag habit is interesting-before I had finished reading your post I thought perhaps it was so you did not re-gift anything back to the same person that gave it to you....but nope that wasn't the reason why. It truly is an obsession with you...but certainly not a weird one! Cheers and Happy 4th!
By: Kathe W. on July 4, 2017
I have a couple of weird ones. I count my steps when I walk, but I only go to 8 and then start over. When going up or down stairs, I have to know how many stairs there are, so I can end on 8 at the last step. I will actually stop and count stairs so I know what my count needs to be when I hit the first step. Second, I am a completionist. If I own ANYTHING that is part of a set, I must have the entire set. Even if I will never use the other parts. For music, any album I buy means I have to have every album ever produced by that artist. If I buy a movie, I have to have all the prequels and sequels. The same with books.
By: Brett Minor on July 4, 2017
What a shame you aren't a reseller on ebay, all those tagged items would get you more money if you were to sell them. Actually it's quite trendy to wear clothes that are tagged, if you are in your teens.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 5, 2017

Leave a Comment


Return to Blog Main Page

Join 3000+ in the Bull Pen
Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!


Order from your favorite book retailer

Another Easy Way to Follow

Type Your Email Here:

Visit our Store


-0001 (1) 2011 (5) 2012 (76) 2013 (200) 2014 (155) 2015 (140) 2016 (140) 2017 (79)

RSS 2.0   Atom