Cumberland Times-News

January 14, 2012

By now, we should know all the answers

Maude McDaniel, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News


Here I had expected that, by the time I reached this advanced age, I would know all the answers there were to know, or maybe even more. But apparently it was not to be, for, lo and behold, I seem to have still more questions lining up, like all those thousands of blackbirds on the lines in front of the M&T Bank on Industrial Boulevard.
The only difference between us is that all I want, please, is some answers, whereas probably the birds are waiting there to make deposits.
The “Occupy” folks. There are several things I don’t understand about them, mainly what it is that they want. Nevertheless, I approve of them because there are certainly an awful lot of things in this world that should be changed, and, if I’ve got it right, they, or at least some of them, are in favor of changing them and that’s wonderful! But I do worry about two things: 1. How will they know when they have got what they want? and 2. Where do they go to the bathroom?
Now that’s frivolous, I know, but not when you have to go to the bathroom. I also wondered that about the New Year’s Eve Times Square crowd, and indeed all the Arab Spring crowds and other public demonstrators around the world, but I suppose that at my age I worry more about this kind of thing than your average young demonstrator with iron kidneys. Actually, I don’t personally expect to have to worry about it in the near future, since there seem to be a dearth of demonstrations in Cumberland, so I will go on to more important questions, like:
Are shoestrings supposed to lace all the same way or alternately? I used to think it was alternately, but recent developments (and looking at teen shoes) have put doubt into my mind on this issue and I am too old for such inner conflict. Also, do they lace over the holes or under them?
And if I have mentioned this before, forgive me, but have you ever seen seen a line of work that is more self-congratulatory than show-biz? The gowns are pretty, of course, but if they never hold another Oscar or Emmy or Tony or Golden Globe or Peoples’ Choice show to hand out awards for the best performances and music and clothes and everything, I would not complain. Not unless it would work for another column, of course — then all promises are off.
What is the philosophy behind matching funds? Apparently, somebody (rich) starts the ball rolling by offering to match whatever amount of money somebody (poor) is contributing for a certain cause. My questions are these: If he offers more than gets matched, does he withhold the rest of it from the cause? What if they collect more than he will match? Are they then told their contributions will not be doubled? Why doesn’t he just give what he can to the cause and let others do the same — do people actually give more money if their contributions will be matched than they would give otherwise?
Maybe somebody will make a study of these matters someday, or maybe somebody already has. Maybe the Occupy people will eventually deal with it. Or maybe nobody is as nosy as I am.
Over and over again I have heard that about 90 percent of one’s body heat escapes from the head. Why then do we bother with the heavy coats and the layers of sweaters, when all we need is a really warm hat?
Will someone please explain Cialis to me. No, no, I get the main idea, but what is there about it that causes walls to collapse inward, and trees to grow in the family room? Or romance to blossom in the produce department of your local supermarket, for heaven’s sake? Frankly I would worry about my house insurance if the commercials are true. And why does everyone then go out to fairs and up in hot air balloons immediately after taking it? Not to mention (as I already have in past columns, I think) the point of the twin tubs with a view at the end of the commercials — what was that again?
Why does it seem so obvious to me and no one else that soccer is dangerous for children without helmets, and even possibly with them?
And what is it with crossing your arms these days? I watch a lot of cooking shows and it seems as if you can’t be a good chef any more unless you can achieve a really mean armcross. (It’s starting to spill over into other shows too.) The facial expression helps — surly, defiant, and nasty — which does not seem all that hard to produce for chefs there days.
Still, it seems that the secret of superiority is this: cross your arms higher on your chest than anyone else in the crowd. This may work against women, who, for obvious reasons, tend to low armcrosses. But, with a little determination, women too are able to accomplish the high armcross, and, in the end, thanks to nature, they come out more impressively than the men!
Also, never tell me to “Enjoy.” I know it’s meant to be friendly, and has a long cultural history, but I always feel as if I am being ordered to do something I might not do on my own. It’s much less bossy if you say, “ I hope you enjoy this,” rather than the short, curt, command, “Enjoy.”
Don’t agree?
So, don’t.
Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.