Jim Goldsworthy, Columnist
Socrates is quoted as saying, “Wisdom
begins with the awareness of what you do not
know. The only thing I know is that I know
If that is true, then I am a
wise man, and I am getting
wiser every day.
My pal Maude recently
said there are many things
she doesn’t understand. Well,
there are many questions I
cannot answer ... like this:
Why do you get raindrops
on the inside of your eyeglasses,
even when you’re
wearing a hat or cap that has
It was sprinkling the other day when Capt.
Gary and I were standing outside talking. I
was wearing a ballcap, and Gary’s head was
covered by a hoodie. Both of us got raindrops
on the inside of our glasses,
but not the outside.
Why, I also wonder, do some
women like to fuss with other
women’s hair? I see this done
occasionally, and could ask
why they do it, but probably
wouldn’t understand the
(Goldy’s Rule 135: The things a woman
does that a man doesn’t understand, she does
for three reasons — the reason she gives, the
reason she thinks, and the real reason —
which she herself may not understand ...
A friend e-mailed me a collection of unanswerable
questions (original source also
unknown) titled “Why, why, why?”
• Why do people order double cheeseburgers,
large fries and a diet soft drink? (Many of
us wonder about this.)
• Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
• Why is the man who invests your money
called a “broker”?
• Why is the time of day with the slowest
traffic called “the rush hour”?
I wonder why people like to chew gum,
smoke a cigarette and drink a soft drink all at
the same time. I tried it one time at The
Famous North End Tavern, and it was awful.
It took several beers to get the taste out of my
I also wonder why waitresses always wait
until you have a mouthful of food before they
ask you if everything is satisfactory.
The behavior patterns of squirrels is a particular
mystery to me.
The fact that we refer to odd behavior
among humans as “squirrelly” leads me to
believe that our ancestors who molded the
English language and created its idioms probably
felt the same way about squirrels.
The only thing I really understand about
squirrels is that they taste good.
Squirrels are the reason we have so many
oak trees, which grow from acorns that squirrels
have buried to serve as a future food
source, then forgot about.
Forgetful though they may be, squirrels
aren’t dumb, as I learned from a nature program
that was devoted to finding ways to keep
bird feeders from becoming squirrel feeders.
The ingenuity of the people who designed
supposedly squirrel-proof feeders was great,
but the ingenuity of the squirrels who figured
out through trial and error how to circumvent
the obstacles was even greater.
Google says it can find 2.1 million results for
“squirrels figuring out bird feeders.”
Squirrels do have a certain intelligence —
one took a disliking to Capt. Gary and pelted
him, and no one else, with huge acorns from a
tall oak tree at Little Round Top. (He will say I
am dissing him by saying the squirrel was
smart enough to single him out. I am merely
noting that the squirrel was smart enough to
differentiate between human beings; humans
are rarely able to differentiate between squirrels.)
A lady tourist suggested it was because he
was wearing a blue Union uniform, and the
squirrel was gray.
What puzzles me most about squirrels is
this: Why, when a squirrel runs
across the road in front of your
car, does it stop on or about
the center line, in a place
where you’re going to miss it
— but then it turns and runs
back the way it came, and
that’s when you run over it.
I never hesitated to shoot a squirrel for
food, but it bothers me to kill one with my car.
Unlike squirrels, possums don’t go out of
their way to get run over. They just get run
If I am driving and have a passenger —
especially if it’s a girlfriend — and see a roadkilled
possum, I launch into a heated tirade
that goes like this:
“Damn these possums!
“I keep telling them, ‘Ask the chicken how
it’s done. The chicken knows how to cross the
road.’ Do you ever see a dead chicken beside
the road? NEVER!
“But do you think they’ll listen to me? Hell,
no! And the carnage continues! One dead possum
after another! Why does it have to be this
way? Why? Why?”
The usual response from the shotgun seat is
silence, and it may last a while ... perhaps permanently.
(I was told that my habit of saying,
“Hell of a waste of good land” every time I drive
past the prisons in Cresaptown contributed to
the deterioration of a past romance.)
Here’s something else I wonder about:
A nationwide poll indicated that the overall
approval rating of Congress stands at 15 percent,
which is lower than that of lawyers, the
Internal Revenue Service or even the press.
Even though Americans have a dim view of
Congress as a whole, they persist in re-electing
their own senators and representatives
(although some of them apparently are able to
see the handwriting on the wall and retire
before the voters can throw them out).
Why? Most likely, it’s because the voters
dislike their congressman’s opponent more
than they dislike their congressman (who
often demonstrates his usefulness by giving
Or, as the Yankee Government’s politicians
say about the disreputable tin-hat dictators
they consider allies:
“He may be a b*****d, but he’s OUR