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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Egg on Their Faces



As some of my followers know, I am a school teacher. About a week ago, we had a pep assembly to honor spring sports participants. The teams would be announced, followed by some friendly competition between the teachers and some of the team’s players. One such competition was an egg toss. Each time the egg was caught without demolition, the participants would take a step back. Two of our teachers, Mr. A. and Mr. B. (for the sake of not incriminating the participants) won the contest, but were requested to continue to see how long they could last. Mr. A. launched a pop-up in Mr. B.’s direction. Mr. B., who spent many a day coaching the baseball team, found himself circling under the pop-up before holding both hands above his head like a good baseball player would but like a good egg-toss participant wouldn’t. As the inevitable conclusion played out in slow motion, I couldn’t help but wonder how those two teachers had managed to be the lone survivors. Gravity pulled that egg earthward and lack of wisdom kept those hands steadily under the falling shell. And guess what happened? We all know…how could Mr. B. not know? The egg exploded…all over his face. “Egg on your face” is an idiom which means “to be extremely embarrassed. Usually the embarrassment is the result of one's own actions.” Uh…yeah. But though the expression is supposed to be figurative language, my good friend, Mr. B. managed to take it literally.

Yes, I had a good, hearty laugh at my friend’s expense, and so did the entire school population. The incident motivated me to write about other expressions and errors I’ve been keeping track of over the last several months that are worthy of a good laugh. They are as follows—and followed by the all-important sarcastic comment. 

1.       “My grandma is having surgery on her very close veins.” (These, I assume, are veins that are very close to popping out of the grandmother’s legs. It should be varicose veins.)
2.       “Youth in Asia will kill the elderly.” (I suggest that the obvious preventive measure for senior citizens would be to stay on their own continent. Traveling sounds dangerous. It should be euthanasia.)
3.       “I can’t eat that. I’m lack toast and tolerant.” (At least it doesn’t bother the person to be without toast, but would they be so tolerant if they ate cottage cheese, for instance? It should be lactose intolerant.)
4.       “How do folks play with a wee-g-board?” (The same way they play with Polly Pockets, Squinkies, and miniature toy soldiers…with tiny, little hands on that wee, little board. It should be Ouija Board.)
5.       “I love that after my boyfriend leaves, I can still smell his colon on me.” (Is anyone crinkling up his or her nose like I am right now? This is gross. It should be cologne.)
6.       “I’m eating chicken Parma John tonight.” (John, from Parma, Italy, had this scrumptious meal named after himself. It’s a well-known fact. It should be chicken parmesan.)
7.       “I hate Hippocrates!” (This pre-first-century physician coined the Hippocratic Oath. I fail to see the reason for all the modern-day loathing. It should be hypocrites.)
8.       “I had a Filly Steak sandwich with mozzarella cheese.” (I’d pass on horse meat personally. It should be Philly Steak).
9.       “I’ve been living bi-curiously through my friends.” (I’ll just say that I saw this as a Facebook post, and it’s a really good example of how important it is to spell well. Enough said. It should be vicariously.”
10.   “I’m a genious!” (I assume spelling doesn’t count. It should be genius…genious.)
11.   “Another words, I can’t wait for collage.” (In other words, you’re not ready for college.)
12.   “Come on out wit us. We out poopin bottles in the club 2night.” (Love the jargon and texting skills, but I would think the friend might pass on the opportunity to pass bottles. Would these be bottles of colon, by chance? It should be popping—I think.)
13.   “No school on Martian Luther King Day.” (MLK was an alien? It’s Martin Luther King.)
14.   “He’s a victim of extreme violets.” (These are flowers that are extra, abundantly purple. I get that. But I don’t understand the victimization. It should be extreme violence.)
15.   “Having a wonderful time. Wish you were her.” (This was another Facebook post I ran across. It’s a good example that bad spelling could be hazardous to one’s health and happiness. It should be wish you were here.)

Do you think the writers of these spelling gaffes would feel like they had egg on their faces if the problems were pointed out to them? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure. But I am sure that Mr. B. had egg on his face. Sometimes it’s not so bad getting a good laugh at another anonymous person’s expense, especially if it encourages people to read my blog and pass it on. Thanks for stopping by.