By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
There are any number of subjects in my daily life that give me pause and cause me to wonder. I wonder what folks really want, I wonder what folks are really thinking, and I wonder what kind of fool some folks must take me for.
I just got one of those (Free Shipping!) brochures from that steak company up in Nebraska. You know the one — you buy from them once and you are inundated with follow-up offers for the rest of your life. Also you end up with a boxes of “Gourmet Franks” that nobody wants and bulky styrofoam shipping coolers in your garage. I thought I got away from them, but this brochure was forwarded from our old Texas address by the good old U.S. Pony Express.
One “Premier Grilling Collection” from the brochure caught my eye right away. They listed the regular price at $226 and offered the sale price of “Now only $89.99.” Every item in the multi-page offer had “regular” and “now only” prices. You have to wonder two things about this offer — who sets the “regular prices” and does anyone ever buy from them at the “regular prices?” And I really resent it when they offer a “Free Gift” with each order. Aren’t all gifts free?
Do you ever wonder why “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing? How about “flammable” and “inflammable?” What is the difference between a “nook” and a “cranny?” Why do people use the expression “good grief?” Is there such a thing as “bad grief?” What happens if you get “scared half to death” twice? I know you have often wondered what the difference is between a hamster and a gerbil and I am going to tell you. There is more white meat on a gerbil.
Do you ever wonder what would inspire people to take jobs like: tightening up the toilet paper dispensers in public bathrooms so you can’t ever get more than one square; packing the coffee filters so tight you can’t ever get just one at a time; cleaning the windows on business envelopes; being a bartender at the Betty Ford Clinic; and (I saved the best for last) how about a job proof-reading M&Ms where you have to throw out all the “Ws?”
There are lots of “do you wonders” around the house. Why do folks constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized? Why is it that the easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement? Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use, the bubbles are always white? Why is it that taking a shower can make the doorbell ring? Why is there a “Permanent Press” setting on most irons? Considering all the lint you get trapped in your dryer, if you keep drying your clothes will they eventually just disappear? Why do folks (like The Little Woman) keep running over a string a dozen times with the vacuum, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it back down to give the vacuum another chance?
I also have questions about the English language as well. What if there were no hypothetical questions? Is there another word for “synonym” or “thesaurus?” Why is “abbreviated” such a long word? Whose cruel idea was it to put an “s” in the word “lisp?” Why do doctors call what they do “practice?” Why is an investment specialist called a “broker?” Why do airline attendants use negative terms like “terminal,” “final approach,” and “airborne momentarily?”
There is just a plethora (there’s that word again, Ron) of unanswered questions on various and sundry subjects. Does the welfare office have an “Un-employee of the Month?” If you are in your car traveling at the speed of light and you turn your lights on — will anything happen? When cows laugh, does milk come out of their noses too? Why is it that a baby will never sneeze unless his mouth is full of cereal? If God sneezes, what do you say to him? If you die in the middle of doing something really good, can you get into heaven on a technicality?
Why do they lock up the gas station bathrooms — are they afraid someone will clean them? How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs? Why do the plastic garbage bags never open on the end you try first? How come you never hear father-in-law jokes? How come there are never any recipes for leftover lobster? Why does sour cream have an expiration date?
How come hot dogs still come 10 to a pack and hot dog buns still come eight to a pack? I have repeatedly written to Mrs. Baird’s and Wonder Bread bakeries and the Hormel and Oscar Mayer packing companies asking them to get their act together, but to no avail. As it is, the lowest common denominator is 40! Maybe the good folks at Collin Street Bakery should look into this problem.
I have two final questions: why did I spend half a day writing this rant and why did you stick with me through the whole mess?
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org