Why would anyone write a song that features these lyrics: “Crimson and clover, over and over.”  And then say them… over and over.  And then, why would someone feel the need to remake that song?  Who knew that was an unmet need?

Go ahead and click it. You know you want to hear it.

When you’re in an elevator or standing in line at the grocery store, and someone who’s standing right next to you starts coughing and sounds like a TB ward, and you step back to get as far away from it as you can, does it do any good at all? 

Why, when you can buy Jet Dry in big economy bottles, does the actual container for the “rinse agent” in the dishwasher door only hold about a tablespoon?  Why isn’t there just a giant reservoir in there so you don’t have to fill it up every few washes?  Instead, you pour it in and it instantly overflows and spills everywhere, and the dishwasher is happy and content for maybe four or five washes, then the annoying little light comes back on and you have to refill it again.  Who designed this system?  I know, this is a First World problem.  A lot of people in Third World countries don’t use a rinse agent.  Kidding! I know that a lot of people in Third World countries do not actually have a dishwasher.  But still…

toilet paperMy God in Heaven, how hard is it to change a roll of toilet paper?  Come on, people!

I saw some bikers riding their Harleys with matching jackets.  The name of their club is “Loners.”  By definition, doesn’t that mean they are clubs of one?  If they form a group, wouldn’t they be “Former Loners,” or maybe “Conflicted Loners?”

Why do men spit?  I just saw a guy happily walking down the sidewalk. He’s just pleasantly strolling, then he spontaneously hawks one on the grass.   It would never occur to me to spit in public.  And yet over the course of my lifetime, I’ve seen men of all ages, not just on the baseball field, minding their own business, and then all of a sudden just spit.  Why?

Why is it so hard to find anything in a Safeway store?  Maybe it’s just me, but the Safeway stores I’ve been in, in Maryland and Arizona, are wired differently from, say, Fry’s, Whole Foods, or Wal-Mart.  Produce is not where you expect, the deli is not where you expect, and the aisles are in some weird order that makes no sense to me.  Even if I’m there on a theoretically short, focused mission, I just wander around in there.  Also, a little background music would not come amiss.  It’s silent as a tomb in there, at least at the one near me. 

bakingWhy do we only have two working baking sheets in our kitchen?  This is a trick question because I already know the answer.   The other four baking pans are filled with LEGO works in progress, courtesy of my sons.

Why hasn’t the person who invented string cheese been given some major award, like one of those MacArthur genius fellowships or something?  This is the kind of innovation the world needs!

Why does the icemaker in my refrigerator make a sound that is identical to the one you hear in the movies, right after the previews and just before the movie starts, where they do the little ad for Dolby Digital Surround?  Every time I hear that noise from the freezer, I whisper, “All…around…you.” 

And finally, why do pinky toenails assume the shape of a ski jump if you don’t keep them trimmed?  What the heck?!

©Janet Farrar Worthington

There is a machine in the weight room at the YMCA in Prescott.  I’m not sure of its proper name, but it’s something like the Dip Machine.  You stand on this platform, and you can lower yourself down and then push yourself back up; you can also do pull-ups on it.  One day, feeling ambitious at the end of my regular workout, I did a few dips.  I couldn’t do very many.  It was really hard.

I got in the car.  About halfway home, I suddenly began to feel very uncomfortable.  I think I said something repeatedly, along the lines of, “Oh, God, ohGodohGodohGod.”  I had the most unwelcome simultaneous thoughts that, one, I really needed a bathroom and two, I wasn’t going to make it. Yes, apparently on the Dip Machine I had pushed hard enough to activate the entire contents of my colon.  The motto of the University of Arizona Wildcats football team is, “Bear Down.”  They should reconsider this.  Bearing down doesn’t always produce a harmonious outcome.

My life didn’t flash before my eyes, but I did acutely remember an unfortunate moment from fifth grade.  We had an “open concept” school building, with classes separated by portable dividers all facing a central open space.  Now, this open concept – so desirable on every single HGTV show – offers zero privacy. The restroom doors were on view from every classroom.  In this particular flashback, I was running for my life, trying hard not to throw up.  All I could see was the big, dark gray, metal wastebasket propping open the girls’ bathroom door.  I didn’t even think about making it inside the actual bathroom; all of my concentration, my focus, my life force – my chi, perhaps, maybe my chakras – zeroed in on that metal wastebasket.  I telescoped.  I was in a Hitchcock movie, maybe “Vertigo,” running down a long hall that kept getting longer; at the end, glowing like the Holy Grail, was this trashcan.  I achieved my goal, puked my guts out, and only afterward realized, to my horror, that everyone in our whole side of the school had seen me do it.  The shame!

Flash forward to that white-knuckle trip home from the YMCA: I’m simultaneously pressing the accelerator in my car and the brakes in my lower digestive system, doing every possible Kegel exercise I could remember from after childbirth.  I telescoped: this time, it wasn’t a glowing wastebasket, but a blindingly alabaster, porcelain toilet at the end of that long, dark hall; maybe angels were singing “Hallelujah” above its radiance.  Thank God, I made it, and thereby spared the possibly leather interior of my Honda Pilot from enduring a supreme violation.  All was well.

But here’s the thing:  actually, if the worst had happened, all would have been well, too, eventually. Crises like this are bumps in the road, and I’m of the opinion that obstacles and bumps are supposed to come along every now and then.  (Note: I’m not talking about serious illness here, or trying to trivialize human suffering in any way. Those are completely different subjects from the speed bumps mentioned above.)   

bad hair dayThe human body is the great leveler.  I’m writing about this now because as our country seems so polarized, maybe we should all take a minute to remember that we’re all in the same boat.  Well, the same basic frame. 

We’ve all stubbed our toe, dinged our knee, and had bad hair days (or years).  Who hasn’t desperately needed a Kleenex when there wasn’t one and just had to sniff mightily?  Who hasn’t checked the mirror and noticed a fragment of spinach or broccoli right there on a front tooth, and wondered two things: how long THAT has been there, and why didn’t anybody tell you?   

The human body keeps us humble.  Sure, some of us are better preserved than others, some of us have let ourselves go more than others, some of us have paid for some upgrades, and some of us can afford really high maintenance.  For example: Today’s news featured the hard-hitting story that Leonardo DiCaprio flew an Australian “eyebrow-artist to the stars” to Los Angeles right before the Oscars.  This artist’s services, according to her website, include: “… any tints, stains, or lightening required in conjunction with your full expert shaping.  Included is an eyelash tint as well as a glycolic infused collagen eye treatment plus a full heated paraffin hand treatment followed by a light eye makeup application.”

looking goodNo wonder these people look good!  And far be it from me to judge anyone for anything he or she does to enhance his or her appearance; you do you, I say.  At the same time, this shows how dumb it is to measure ourselves by how models or movie stars look.  It’s not real, people!   Even if it’s not airbrushed, it’s tinted and shaped!

Inside, they’re just as messed up as everybody else, maybe even more so.  Because, again:  deep down, we’re all the same.  I’m pretty sure we were designed to be that way, so that when we hear about someone experiencing a migraine, or indigestion, or hemorrhoids, or a broken hip, or something a lot worse – a heart attack, cancer, or pneumonia – we can empathize and maybe even reach out to that person.  Maybe we’ve been there, too.

Whatever our differences are, we’re all stuck in the same fragile, time-stamped, unpredictable, basic model of a human body.

Which brings us to Proverbs.  The same day I read the eyebrow artist story, I read Proverbs for the day; it was the 27th, so I read Chapter 27, and two verses caught my eye.  The first: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”  The second:  “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”

Those spoke to me for some reason, and I think it’s just to remind me not to get caught up in the sound and fury of noise, politics, and drummed-up agitation because really, it doesn’t matter a bit in the long run.  We need more flock-tending and more compassion for each other.

Also, avoid the Dip Machine, I’m just saying.

©Janet Farrar Worthington