Waiting for the Tree of Knowledge to Spread a Few Branches My Way


I have so many questions about this strange life of mine and the even stranger world that surrounds me–and so few legitimate answers.  I keep waiting for wisdom to find me and unravel the mysteries that continue to plague and perplex me, but so far I’m convinced that wisdom isn’t even looking in my direction.  I’m not a patient person, so if you know the answer to any of the questions below, please feel free to enlighten me and put an end to my waiting . . .

Why doesn’t everyone else understand the concept of “jinxing”?  I don’t like people asking if I’m having a good day–if I respond positively, then I can almost guarantee that before the day is over, bad things are going to happen.  (To be clear, wishing me a good day is okay; asking if I’m having one is not.)  Today I listened in disbelief as two sportscasters talked about a pitcher having a no-hitter going in the sixth inning; sure enough, as soon as those words had escaped their mouths, the batter hit a homerun over the left-field wall.  Baseball is a game rife with superstitions, and the sportscasters should have known better–and that pitcher should have the right to wing a fastball down their throats for jinxing his previously perfect game.

Where do my earrings and shoes disappear to?  Not all of them, mind you, but individual items of a matching pair–why can I find one and not the other when I know (I KNOW) that both earrings were placed in the same drawer in the jewelry box and both shoes were placed on the same shelf in the closet?  I am convinced that someone is sneaking into my house when I’m not there–not for the purpose of stealing from me (because I probably have a couple items more valuable than a single earring or a lone tennis shoe, and they haven’t disappeared) but for the simple purpose of messing with me and making me believe that I’m losing my mind.  It’s an evil, evil plan, and it’s starting to gain momentum.

Why is it that the more times I remind College Boy to call me when he arrives safely back on campus, the greater the odds that he will forget?

How is it possible that I have in my refrigerator a bottle of mustard that expired in 2008?  I know I’ve cleaned out the refrigerator a couple times since then–did I just assume that the mustard was good and didn’t bother checking it (or did I simply not care enough ever to look since I’m not a mustard eater)?  Or was the mustard already expired when I bought it?  I wonder how old the ketchup is . . .

And speaking of refrigerators, what was going on in my head the day I left the phone on the second shelf between the milk and the potato salad?  (Even more interesting would be knowing what was really going on in the head of my friend the day he left a shoe in his freezer.  I know what his story is; I’m just not sure I believe it.)

What is the purpose of ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes–other than to create scratchy discomfort and spread sometimes life-threatening disease?  Sure, someone might argue that they provide an abundant food supply for larger animals, but I’m willing to bet that if every tick, every chigger, and every mosquito were miraculously eradicated, there would still be enough other bugs and insects to take up the slack in the food chain.

Why do city folks move to the country, presumably for its peacefulness and its simpler way of life, and then complain about all the city luxuries no longer available to them?

When I was in elementary school, cafeteria cooks and mothers everywhere served boiled spinach drenched in vinegar and honestly expected their young charges to gag it down (and to be grateful for the opportunity since all the starving children in China weren’t so fortunate).  Why did it take so long for someone to figure out that spinach served raw in a salad was actually quite tasty–and that spinach mixed with mayo, sour cream, artichoke hearts and cheese (with a hefty portion of tortilla chips on the side) was even better?  An earlier discovery of these simple truths could have prevented countless temper tantrums and gag reflexes gone awry.

Why do the people who complain the most about a particular situation frequently know the least about it?

Tonight I saw for the first time (and hopefully last) a Jack in the Box commercial in which a young man announces to his mother that he is getting married.  When his excited mother asks who the girl is, the son responds, “It’s not a girl . . . ”  The mother’s momentary look of concern is quickly replaced with joy when the son completes his statement, “It’s not a girl . . . it’s bacon.”  And then his pronouncement is followed by photos of the happy couple, the young man with his bacon bride.  Okay, I like bacon, too, but seriously?  I’ve never once envisioned my bacon decked out in a wedding veil–and seeing it so dressed does not make me want it more.  Stupid.  Who comes up with this stuff–and how much does that person get paid?  I want that job.  And the Jack in the Box commercial was almost as offensive as the Hardees one in which a perspiring Kate Upton is getting all “hot and bothered” in the back seat at the drive-in with her Southwest patty melt.  Disgusting.  (And whatever happened to the good ol’ days when a shirtless construction worker made every woman alive want to pop open a can of Diet Coke?  Now, that was advertising at its finest.)

Why do doctors and nurses–and especially mammogram technicians–tell their patients that, “This won’t hurt a bit” when they know this simply isn’t true?  Wouldn’t it be kinder to inform us that, “Yeah, this is going to hurt like the dickens for a minute or two, but then it will be over and you’ll still be alive”?  Isn’t this better than reassuring us with false words–allowing us to relax our guard–and then shocking our nerve endings with plunging needles, probing fingers, flattening paddles and unexpected, torturous pain?

How many maroon, silk robes does Hugh Hefner own?  I mean, every time I see him on television he’s wearing a maroon, silk robe–does he wear the same one over and over, or does he have a whole closet full of them?  If it’s the same one, how often does he wash it?  And if he has dozens of them, has he ever considered experimenting with different colors–perhaps a sultry blue or sexy black?  And since he’s turning 86 years old today and still attracting the young hotties, why hasn’t there been a run on maroon, silk robes by other men just in case the robe is the key to his luck with the ladies?

When the upper classes back in the Middle Ages originated the concept of “dumb blondes,” did they realize what a lasting impact their ignorance would have?  It seems their royal highnesses protected their pasty complexions from the sun, while the commoners who worked outdoors often had tanned skin and sun-bleached hair as a consequence.  And since these commoners seldom were given the benefit of a formal education, their darkened skin tones and lightened hair colors became equated with a lack of intelligence.  That stereotype has now been around for over 600 years; isn’t it time we tossed it once and forever aside and replaced it with much more enlightened thinking, something perhaps along the lines of, “Blondes have more fun”?

How could anyone possibly think that white sauce is better than red?  Eat whatever you like, but you’ll never convince me that alfredo is better than tomato atop my spaghetti.

Who was the first person to realize that coffee beans that had passed through the digestive track of a civet (a mongoose-like animal) made a delicious cup of joe?  Kopi Luwak is derived from coffee beans that have been eaten by the civet, fermented in their stomachs, and then excreted in their dung.  The roasted beans are known for their smoothness and bitterless aftertaste and have become the world’s most expensive coffee (often selling for over $200 a pound).  I have a few questions for that first person who picked up one of those beans from the ground, wiped it on his pants leg and then popped it into his mouth:  1. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? 2. How did you market your idea?  I’m not a coffee drinker–so maybe I’m missing something here–but somehow I just don’t think, “Hey, you’ve got to try these dung-covered coffee beans–they’re delicious!” would be all that convincing to me.  3. Since others are now making millions from your “innovative thinking,” have you been justly compensated?  (And I’m not talking about a lifetime supply of civet coffee.)

Ahh, the mysteries of life.  I have at least another million questions (well, maybe half a million) still bouncing around up there, and each one of them is every bit as important as the questions above.  Critical, actually.  I’m still waiting for the light bulb to finally click on, for the doors to the temple of wisdom to swing open, for the tree of knowledge to spread a few branches in my direction.  It may be a long wait.  I guess in the meantime I could clean out the refrigerator and look under the bed (again) for those missing earrings and shoes . . .

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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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18 Responses to Waiting for the Tree of Knowledge to Spread a Few Branches My Way

  1. Jamie Adams says:

    LOL… What a whack job to have left their shoe in the freezer. perhaps, this person had a logical reason for it. And as for ” I’m not a patient person” …. No? Really?!?!?!!! Lastly, are you sure you weren’t drinking coffee when you wrote this? You seem pretty fired up!

    • The “whack job” claimed that he put his shoe in the freezer because it had gum on the bottom of it, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to just rub an ice cube on it instead of sticking the shoe in the freezer and then forgetting where it was? And I’m working on that patience thing; it’s just that some people really know how to TRY my patience! And no, I’ve never drunk a cup of coffee (it must be the Diet Dr. Pepper coursing through my veins)–but a package of Kopi Luwak will soon be headed your way, my friend!

  2. warren gunter says:

    i too have alot of the same questions. not the earings or shoes. but i dont think its Hef’s robes that make him a stud. might be the amount of money he has. who knows, he might just be putting on an act. he could be gay. either way, he’s a lucky guy to be surrounded by such beauty and wealth. he’s a hero of mine. i agree with the folks moving here, then complaining. have a uncle that moved here from California a few years back, complaines all the time about the weather, ticks, snakes, etc. and always compares here with there. how much better things are in California. i figure that if you miss it that much, go back. right? havent seen the commercial with the bacon, but i have seen the “hot and bothered” gal eating the burger. very nice. it plays on our sexual ideas. much like your shirt-less worker. sure they are nice to look at, but whats the chances of really having one for yourself. be nice, but not probable.

    • You’re probably right about Hugh–and you’re probably right about the commercial, too. It’s an old advertising trick–sex sells. And really, if you don’t like it here in our little, remote corner of paradise, go back to where you came from! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. RayEtta says:

    Well there are far too many questions out there that don’t have any answer that I know of….but there are are a couple of things for sure. Money buys sex, without it Heff would not have turned a head even when he was younger. We always want what we don’t have. They think they want peace and quiet and small until they have it, then they want the opposite. One thing for sure where I agree, sex sells.

    • And as long as there are “too many questions out there that don’t have any answer,” I’ll never run out of blog material! You’re right about Hugh Hefner; silk robes or not, without the money in his pockets no bunnies would have ever hopped his way. And, in one way or another, we’re probably all guilty of wanting what we don’t have–until we have it.

  4. Brilliant! I found a jar of mint sauce with the expiry of April 2003 at the weekend lurking in the recesses of the fridge. Tasted alright too!

  5. John Bradley-O'Neill says:

    Hi Karen, great post, as always.

    Well, one mystery of this life which alludes me is the usage of and popularity of the thang they
    call Twitter. I have friends who teach journalism who sing Twitter’s praises, but I just don;t have the inclination to climb aboard this useless information gravy train. I also don’t quite comprehend how so many businesses ask their clients to “Follow us on Twitter!”. For example, the small, independent Italian coffee shop in my area posts this very sign in their window and by the cash register…

    Sooo, if I happen to log on to their account, what invaluable message will I receive? “Hey! Just made ten cappuccinos…the soy lattes are selling like hotcakes…we’re almost out of chocolate croissants!” People, please.

    Brave new world, indeed.

    • I have never tweeted on Twitter, either, Mr. O’Neill. Perhaps I’m missing an important opportunity to promote my writing, but I just can’t convince myself that the innundation of trivial nonsense would be a worthwhile trade-off. And you are quite safe–I only flourish my red pen on those brave souls who ask me to do so (and most of them only ask once!).

      • John Bradley-O'Neill says:

        Well, it’s a gosh darn good thing you don’t use that red pen…imagine how many computer screens you would go through?

  6. John Bradley-O'Neill says:

    Oopsie! I noticed at least three boo boos above! Get out your red pen, Karen!

  7. Gail says:

    This gave me a good laugh as I was just asking my husband last week why it is that both our sons always forget to call us when they arrive safely back to college after a visit home? You’re right…. the more you remind them to call, the greater the odds that they will forget! If you find a solution to that one, PLEASE let me know!!!

    And that Jack-in-the-Box bacon commercial has to be the dumbest commercial ever. Makes me cringe and gag everytime I see it! I can’t believe someone actually got paid for coming up with that one!

    • Gail, I’ve had (and continue to have) the same problem with all three of my sons, so if there is a solution I have doubts of ever finding it. I eventually stop waiting and call them instead–at what I hope is a most inconvenient time. And as for the commercial, I know my tastes and sense of humor can be quite different from the masses, and I accept that there are some things that others will laugh about that I just won’t “get”–but seriously, “You may not eat the bride”? Shivers of disgust!

      • Gail says:

        Yep…. that commercial is so stupid it’s not even funny! The only commercial I hate worse is the Pertussis (whooping cough) commercial. Ewwww……. it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me!

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