Things That Make Me Go ‘Hmm …’


Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age.  Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.  ~Tom Wilson

When I was a young woman (let’s say, in my 40’s), I knew I still had a lot to learn about this life and this world around me.  I was frequently confused by some of the nonsense exhibited by my fellow man (and just as often by my own lack of sense).  I wasn’t too concerned, though, because I truly believed that as I got older (let’s say, in my 50’s) I would become much wiser as well–and that the secrets to many of life’s mysteries would be magically revealed to me. 

And now that I’m “older” (not “old,” mind you) I’m still waiting for that wisdom to find me.

No matter how hard I try searching for wisdom on my own, various aspects of human nature continue to evade my mental grasp–I am confounded and perplexed, dumbfounded and bumfuzzled.  In other words, there are some things I just don’t get.

I don’t understand comb-overs.  Can someone please explain to me WHY?  I realize that, as a woman, I can’t possibly understand the potentially ego-deflating feelings associated with a balding head, but I have enough of my own self-esteem issues that I think I can at least sympathize.  And what I really want the comb-over crowd to know is that–on behalf of all the women in your world–IT’S OKAY.  We don’t mind your balding head, and in many cases it’s actually quite attractive –certainly much more attractive than the excessively long, strategically placed, sparsely distributed hairs that are doing a very poor job of covering up that bald spot.  Please, comb those hairs back into their proper place and let that baby shine.

I also don’t understand people who move to the peaceful countryside to get away from hectic, noisy city life–and then complain about all the excitement and amenities that are lacking in their new surroundings.  Shouldn’t you have realized this before you made the move?  I know we don’t have museums and concerts and baseball stadiums and shopping malls and fancy restaurants in my neck of the woods–that’s why we occasionally make trips to the city.  Quit your belly-achin’ and learn to appreciate all we do offer–rolling hillsides and blazing bonfires and chirping tree frogs and evening suns setting over the lake.  Sit back, close your eyes and relax.

I don’t understand prison inmates being able to sue for ridiculous reasons (sometimes referred to as their “civil rights”).  Now, I do understand that all human beings–even those locked up for committing the most heinous of crimes–are still entitled to have their basic needs met.  Call me crazy, but I interpret “basic needs” to be things like food, water, clothing, bedding, security, health care, education–not pornography.  That’s right–a prison inmate is suing the state of Michigan for violating his civil rights and subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment because it will not provide him with the pornographic materials he needs to address his “chronic masturbation syndrome.”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I can accept my federal tax dollars being used to keep your sorry butt alive, but I do not understand why you (and your lawyer) think I need to pay for the Hustler magazines you claim to need to relieve your “severe sexual discomfort.”  Here’s a little free advice for the state of Michigan:  A pair of $20 lopping shears from Home Depot will provide a quick, permanent fix to this problem.

I also don’t understand men who seem to think it’s okay to leer at women.  I’m not talking about simply “looking”; we all occasionally sneak peeks at others, especially members of the opposite sex–that’s an accepted (and pleasant) part of human nature.  After all, in order to properly compliment another’s appearance we have to actually have looked (and we all like those compliments, don’t we?).  No, I’m talking about those suggestive,  devouring stares that originate somewhere below the neckline and linger there (way too long) before traveling to the nether regions and back up again.  Seriously?  Are women supposed to be impressed or excited by such attention?  We’re not.  Knock it off, or Home Depot may run out of lopping shears. 

One of the phenomenons that dumbfounds me the most is the airing of “dirty laundry” in public venues.  We all have problems that we sometimes struggle to cope with, we all make mistakes that we wish we could undo–and hopefully we all have at least one good friend or trusted confidante that we can turn to for advice, moral support and empathy during those difficult times.   Is it really necessary, though, to share our problems and mistakes with the entire world?  I have been amazed by the amount of dirt that some acquaintances are willing to dish on social networking sites about their deadbeat husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, and children, but none of them shock me as much as the  celebrities who dish on themselves in their tell-all memoirs–and Florence Henderson, of all people, has rocketed herself to the Number One spot on the “Oh, My God, I Can’t Believe She Said That!” list.  In her recently published memoir, Life Is Not a Stage, Ms. Henderson (a.k.a. my generation’s favorite TV mom, Carol Brady) chose to reveal that in the 1960s she had an extra-marital, one-night stand with New York City Mayor John Lindsay–who left her with a parting gift of “crabs.”  Too much information, Ms. Henderson–and for what purpose?  I’ll never again be able to watch a rerun of The Brady Bunch without thinking about your little infestation–thanks a lot.  

Other questions continue to plague me as well, such incomprehensible mysteries as

  • why is it so hard to find clothing with vertical stripes instead of horizontal when everyone knows that vertical stripes are more flattering and slimming?
  • why, when we smell or taste something incredibly offensive, do we feel the need to have others smell or taste it as well?
  • why does “unknown caller” keep calling my home phone, even though I have not (nor will I ever) pick up the phone?  If “unknown caller” knows me and needs to talk to me, he should have realized by now that he is first going to have to speak to the answering machine–and if “unknown caller” doesn’t know me (I’m talking to you, Mr. Telemarketer), he should have realized by now that he is wasting his time repeatedly dialing my number.
  • why do some guys stand around with their hands INSIDE the waistband of their pants?  (Ewww.) 
  • why are those two little words “I’m sorry” so hard to sputter? 
  • why do brake-riders tend to migrate into the passing lane and STAY there?
  • why do manufacturers use such tiny type on package instructions that a magnifying glass is needed to distinguish between 1/3 and 1/4 cup–and yet leave so much empty space on the package that there would have been ample room for larger type?
  • why, when we stumble over our own two feet, do we always turn around and glare at the floor or sidewalk, convinced that some previously unseen obstacle must have rolled into our path to trip us? 
  • and why is it so hard for some men to go to the doctor when they’re sick–or even when they just need a checkup?  Gee, I’m really sorry that the idea of “turn your head and cough” makes you uncomfortable or the thought of an inserted, gloved finger makes you queasy–may I share with you a vivid description of my yearly gynecological exams?  No?  How about my yearly mammograms–can I tell you what THOSE feel like?  Suck it up, big boys, and take care of your health.  For some stupid reasons that I can’t adequately explain, we women would like to keep you around for a little while longer.

Maybe by the time I become an old woman (let’s say, in my 90’s) I will have finally gained enough wisdom to answer a few of these questions–or I will no longer remember the questions–or I will no longer care.  By then I may be living it up in a retirement community somewhere, cavorting with the comb-over crowd and appreciating the occasional leer.  If I’m lucky.

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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16 Responses to Things That Make Me Go ‘Hmm …’

  1. brainrants says:

    Good post. Laughed at the combover part. He should just schwack it all off and be bald.

  2. notquiteold says:

    Why do men call it “babysitting” when they’re taking care of THEIR OWN CHILDREN?
    Why do I want curly hair when my curly-haired friend wants straight hair?
    Why can’t I bring my own candy into a movie theatre? Why do I have to smuggle it in like it’s dope?
    Why do people pay for bottled water?

    • And I have thought about every one of those! I made the mistake once of asking my husband to “babysit” our boys when they were little, and it made him furious–he was their father, by golly, and it wasn’t “babysitting,” it was “caring” for his own chldren. Thanks for stopping by …

  3. juliemangano says:

    Great questions — and I don’t understand them either. Especially Mrs. Brady’s revelation, which was probably just a ploy to sell more books.

  4. emjayandthem says:

    That was a fantastic list and I could soo relate.

    A friend works in retail and gets samples all the time. She gave me a new L’Oreal skin product to try .. something with “YOUTH” in the title …I felt like a dork holding it at arm’s length just so I could read it. All that small print … grrr.

    Fun post, MJ

    • Exactly! I had to buy a magnifying glass just so I can read directions on packages (this on top of already wearing bifocal contacts!), and it really irks me when there is plenty of empty space to make that type bigger!

  5. Thanks for the laughs. I really appreciated the one about men and doctors. My hubby says nothing can be wrong with him if he never sees the doctor. They might want to put him on cholesterol medication.

    • Interesting … even though you have commented on my posts before, this one fell under “spam,” and I missed seeing it until just now. The one about men not wanting to go to the doctor is, in my experience, so true and so frustrating (and probably a chief reason that so many women outlive them!).

  6. bronxboy55 says:

    Sometimes knowing the right questions to ask is the most telling sign of wisdom. I think you’re already there.

    But please don’t ever mention lopping shears again.

    • You got it! It was funny to find out, though, how many of my female friends own “those things”–and know exactly where they’re located and are more than willing to loan them out! Creepy guys beware!

  7. John Bradley-O'Neill says:

    Mrs. Brady’s announcement to the press re her crabs floored me! Ha! NOW we know what Carol was up to after she handed out the kids lunches, the six trooped off to Filmore Junior High and Westdale High, and Alice had visions of Sam the butcher and a side of beef dancin’ through her gray steel wool coiff while vacuuming and dusting Chateau Brady! Well, now that we know Mike Brady played for the other team, it doesn’t surprise me in the least – now that I ponder it – that Carol Brady would seek some lovin’ elsewhere.

    Oh! The inhumanity of it all Sherwood Schwartz must be rolling in his grave.

    P.S: Honey, take it from a Canadian guy, your writing is superlative, and you’re quite a pretty woman to boot, eh!

    And by the way, what DID happen to Tiger?

    Cheers!
    Johnnie Rotten of the North

    • Why, thank you, Mr. Johnnie Rotten of the North! You paint quite an amusing picture–even so, I wouldn’t mind returning to those days of innocence when we didn’t know (or need to know) everyone else’s business! Thanks for stopping by …

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