The Grilled Cheese Madonna
by Christopher Cihlar
I admit it. I’m an eBay dealer. I buy stuff at yard sales and flip it on eBay for beer money, or to clean out my garage, or occasionally on a bet. I’ve sold toys, computers, fine art, rusty hardware, and the World’s Ugliest Green Vase. But nothing I’ve done comes close to this collation of body parts, ghosts, and celebrity DNA posted for fun or profit. Author Cihlar gives a page or two background on these auctions, along with the lot number, just to let you check if you want.
The stories all stand alone, which makes the book good for flipping through, but tedious to read in one go. Certain eBay rules are repeatedly referred to, and then not always correctly. Cihlar repeatedly states the “Ebay does not allow listing items with human DNA.” Ebay does allow such items as hair jewelry, and nowhere in their rules does the term “DNA” appear.
So what good stories do we hear about? There’s the famous grilled cheese sandwich, the woman who named her daughter “Goldencasinodotcom,” the Pope’s car, various purportedly haunted items, and a few dying cities in the far west. Some of these auctions were legit; some were bogus, just like there are legit and crooked buyers and sellers. Nearly all the transactions on eBay are legit, and to the satisfaction of all parties, but on anything this notorious and anonymous, some weird stuff is sure to slip past the guards.
Grilled Cheese Madonna is moderately entertaining, and says more about the silly stuff people will do for bragging rights than anything else. And if there’s a moral lurking here, it’s “Beware of what you buy online, just as you would at a flea market.”