Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strings Are Alive and Other Obvious Truths



There was a time that I considered writing a short-story book. I was going to call it Strings Are Alive and Other Obvious Truths. Well, time has slipped by and I never gave it much thought until just recently when I came upon an Internet article about “Mr. Obvious,” and it got me thinking again. I began to think about things that are obvious truths, starting with the fact that strings are alive. I’m certain of it. Take for an example that when I coached basketball, I hung a whistle and a stopwatch around my neck. I also had a carry bag to store all my coaching materials such as my scorebook, my practice schedules, pencils, and my breath mints (you know—the essentials). There was a zippered pocket that I’d individually drop the stopwatch and whistle into every day after practice, and the next day when I took them out, they would be jumbled into a knot. They hated me (or loved each other), and they would wind themselves up into a twisted bunch each and every night. If I threw them on the floor in my closet, they’d come up in a knot. If I threw them in a drawer or put them in my pocket, to my chagrin a knot would transpire. They were entwined just as if they thought they were Christmas lights. Why do we bother winding Christmas lights in nice, neat rolls each year? They will return the next Christmas season knotted up worse than…well…an extension cord. I bought a 100 foot extension cord just recently. It was wound perfectly—no tangles anywhere, until I tried to unwind it. Then there were knots everywhere. It was in so many knots, it might as well have been the jewelry in my wife’s drawer. It doesn’t matter what necklace my wife pulls out, several others come with it, tangled as if their measly lives depended on it. And lives they do have because no inanimate object could do what all stringlike objects do—twist, tie, and snarl themselves into messes that a mere mortal like myself can see no way to undo. Yes, they are alive—and they are also evil.


So what other obvious truths exist in the universe? A few of them follow:


1.   Strings are alive. It’s worth saying again because there is no denying this obvious fact.

2.   Joggers are not having fun. Just look at their faces. Are they smiling and laughing, or are they grimacing? I’m still waiting for a jogger who’s merrily skipping along, laughing, and eating Pringles chips or a Butterfinger bar. If it was fun, that’s what they’d be doing.

3.   Employees hate meetings. Employers must know this. Aren’t the vast majority of employers former employees? Have they forgotten what it was like? I’ll give money that when they were an employee daydreaming their way through meetings, nodding off and wondering why there were no donuts to eat, that they were saying to themselves, “When I become the boss, I’ll abolish meetings. I’ll send memos with typographical errors instead.” But then the time comes and they are determined to torture all the poor underlings. Isn’t it apparent that their employees are miserable? I say yes—obviously.

4.   Hot beverages are hot—sometimes scaldingly hot. Yet, people never learn. Blisters, burns, pain, numbness, lack of ability to taste, difficulty in swearing—these are a few of the unpleasant symptoms that should remind people that hot beverages are hot. And numbing the pain with ice or anesthetics or cough drops works fine until said person with no taste buds eats something acidic or salty (about 75% of their food choices) or he or she chomps on the numb mouth muscle. Yet people don’t seem to comprehend the obvious and continue to scald themselves on a regular basis.

5.   Clowns are creepy. Research has proven this to be true, and especially true to children. Yet adults persist on “entertaining” children with unnerving clowns and plastering the helpless kids' wallpaper with the scary creatures. Listen closely. Clowns are for rodeos. Clowns save cowboys’ lives and get the crap kicked out to themselves for wearing those disturbing costumes. Even bulls know clowns are creepy.

6.   Going bald is upsetting. Even for men. Yes, I’m laughing at my mild attempt at humor. Baldness makes men feel old. It makes men feel less attractive. It causes men to lose self-esteem. But it is no excuse for toupees and comb-overs. Seriously.

7.   Women are tougher than men. Way tougher. Oh, they may cry while a man fights off the tears to uphold his masculinity, but they have babies. If men had to have babies, humans would be extinct. I once took a direct hit to the testicles by a softball whizzing at approximately 70 miles per hour. The swelling was incredible. The pain goes without saying. My wife kept laughing at me (well, to be honest EVERYONE was laughing at me including the nurse at the emergency room who suggested I put ice on it). I didn’t want ice. I wanted to die. I also had a kidney stone. I’ve been told this is God’s way of showing a man what childbirth is like. I honestly am grateful my wife gave birth to my children because if I had to do it, I would never have been blessed with the awesome daughter I have. My son would have been an only child. I’ve heard that a broken femur is the worst pain imaginable (how it could be worse than passing a kidney stone I’ll never know) and childbirth is next on the list. What would it be like to give birth with a broken femur? Only a woman could know because men would die.

8.   High heels make your feet hurt. Take all of your weight ladies and smash it down on the balls of your feet, squashing your toes together, and curling your feet inward in a fetal position. Obviously, it’s going to hurt. If men wore high heels just one time, they would be debilitated, but at least they’d have the sense to not wear them again.

9.   Weathermen (should I call them meteorologists?) in Michigan are wrong 90% of the time. Is there any other job in the world where a person gets a free pass and can mess up nine times more than they are successful? Even a baseball player is expected to get a hit 30% of the time. In Michigan, they don’t even need to be close, yet their jobs are safe. On the other hand, what’s the challenge of those same workers in Arizona? “Let’s see, I finished level 321 in Candy Crush, just in time to tell you tomorrow is going to be hot with low humidity.”

10.  Cords, ropes, laces, chains, ribbons (you name it) are alive. I’m telling you, it’s true. It’s not just strings; it’s anything shaped like a string. They’re alive. You can test my theory, and you’ll notice that I’m right. It’s obvious.