Cumberland Times-News

Columns

October 19, 2013

Age brings wisdom ... or strong opinions

 Some places, I tell you, I will never go!

 Mostly, I’m not talking places on the map, but places of expression, or position, or opinion. For instance, as you already know, I will never, never, never in my life say “Oh My God.” Unless, of course, OMG stands for Oh My Goodness, which I have used for years — hey, then I’m with you!

 Here’s another place I don’t think I’ll go to any time soon: bad-mouthing stink bugs! Hey, the poor things, all they want is what we all want on a regular basis: a nice warm place to stay in. Not that I plan to share mine with them if they get in my face, but since I never kill the bugs that show up in my house ( I collect them in a tissue and put them outside, to face certain death in the winter, no doubt ) I don’t have to worry about their famous stinkiness. At my age, I can’t smell them anyway, which is a tremendous help in sparing their lives. Plus they are stodgier than most insects which makes my vow to catch them instead of kill them much easier to put into practice. They seem to me to be perfectly equable and decent bugs, just trying to make their way in a world they didn’t ask to be born in. Sounds familiar, now, doesn’t it? OK, OK, I know — they are hard on the harvests — but then so are we.

 Here’s another promise: I will never, I repeat, never, ever, in my lifetime, buy a designer handbag! I look at them in the TV ads with disbelief, because they are, without a doubt, some of the most unattractive and stodgy-looking pocketbooks I have ever seen in my life! I find it unbelievable that so many designers, who stake their reputations on attractive and artistic merchandise, would even acknowledge that they had anything to do with these monstrosities. And the amazing thing about it all is that people fall for them in droves. Sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars! Too often, they look like satchels you would carry your bathing suit in when you go to the Y for your regular workout — and back home wet.

 And make sure that’s “your” regular workout, not “mine.” I don’t do regular workouts, not that I have any objection to your doing them. In fact, “regular physical workouts” are another place I plan not to go, if I have any choice about it. Well-meaning people can really mess up one’s priorities, but this is early notice to my family. If my life on earth is shorter by several weeks or months, or even years, because I don’t do regular physical workouts, just remember that these are the weeks or months or years at the END of my life I’m cutting short, (the ones in the nursing home), not the ones when I was 25. In my opinion, there’s a lot to be said for that difference.

 I do worry about a lot of things. This year I worried, for instance, on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the day after Labor Day, for one whole second about what that loud explosion was when the mail person came by. And then I realized — it was the sound of millions of mail order catalogs hitting the mailbox, being delivered simultaneously throughout the country, at such a rate that you could barely get all the mail out of your box with your own two hands. Have you ever seen so many catalogs in one place at one time? Until the next day, when the number seemed to double.

 Of course, unfortunately, they know what they are doing. I had long ago decided that when the fall blast of catalogs took place, I would just coolly ignore the whole thing. Unfortunately, I cannot include this among my successes. One place I would love not to go is into the world of catalogs, but they are fiendishly clever — they somehow manage to include a gorgeous blouse, or a loopy sweatshirt on the catalog cover that you just have to look at a second time. I am rarely enticed at stores, because I don’t go there much — catalogs are another thing.

 I also choose not to read about, watch shows, or go to movies about witches, devils, evil spirits and the whole zombie-vampire routine. For obvious reasons, I would say, including getting a good sleep every night.

 Here’s another place I plan not to go. I refuse to add two thousandths of a second to my clock every bed time, because “that is how much slower the earth turns on its axis each day now than it did a century ago.” (According to an article by Ivan Amato published in a recent Washington Post. And he is not talking about Daylight Savings Time.)

 Apparently this has been going on for years, Did you know that, for the Jurassic-era stegosauruses 200 million years ago, the day was “perhaps 23 hours long and each year had about 385 days”? I don’t know how they figured this out this because so far as I know there are no stegosauruses left who checked their watches at the time. But who lets a minor detail like that stop them? They go on to predict that 200 million years from now whatever’s going on then will happen in 25-hour days and 335-day years. (Hey, I don’t understand this stuff, I just read it with my mouth open.)

 OK, and here’s a final place I plan never to go. I refuse, right here and now, and for the rest of my life, to buy a banana slicer! I saw one advertised the other day in — yes, a catalog. No matter how old I get I think I can handle that job with my present resources, old fashioned as they may be. Even if I have to resort to my letter-opener — I can handle it.

 Because, in the end, I’m just an old-fashioned kinda gal.

 But I have my principles, and I plan to stick to them.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.

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