Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

February 9, 2013

It wouldn’t kill her to do it differently

It’s taken me 80-some years to admit this, but, you know, there are some things I do that it wouldn’t kill me of if I stopped doing them one of these days.

For instance, I have subscriptions to home delivery of both the Washington Post and the Cumberland Times-News. What’s more, I read both of them pretty thoroughly. Well, I skimp on the sports and the financial news, though I do glance at the headlines. But, on a normal day, I read many of the news stories and the features as well.

I like the funnies too. One year in my youth (oh, say, around 65 or 70) — I decided they were a waste of time and stopped reading them. Well, life turned terribly dull until I went back to them again. I only read the comics in the CTN — it would take a day and a half per day to take in all the comics in the WP.

It wouldn’t kill me to drop my subscriptions, but I hate getting my news on email. There are things you should know about in this world, whether you want to know about them or not. In newspapers, they are always just the next column over — you can’t avoid them. On the computer, you have such free choice you don’t have to read a word you don’t agree with for months at a time. And, when you do, it’s an accident. This is very restricting as far as your general knowledge is concerned. In newspapers, I’m halfway through something before I realize that I don’t like it — so I generally finish it anyway.

Speaking of newspapers. I always read my horoscope. Now, it wouldn’t kill me if I stopped reading my horoscope, either. That’s because I don’t believe in horoscopes. If I stopped, I would have at least 23 extra seconds to devote to something more worthwhile. But you know what? I suspect I will continue to read my horoscope, which I don’t for a moment believe, every day of my life. That’s because it opens up whole new worlds of possibilities that I never envisioned for myself. For instance, here’s how my horoscope for today starts out: “You appear more desirable than usual.” I haven’t figured out whether this is a half-hearted compliment or a low-flying insult. Still, I call it a promising development. But then, abruptly, it abandons that subject-matter and goes on to say that “this is not the time to make promises ... do your best to appear in a good light in social settings.” Well, there you go again — I have to do all the work myself, as usual.

Nope, it wouldn’t kill me to stop reading my horoscope. But it’s not going to happen.

Also, it wouldn’t kill me to set the clock on my microwave. But there are plenty of clocks around the house, and I never look for one on my microwave. Of course, that may be because I never set it. Do you set the clock on your microwave?

It wouldn’t kill me to stop eating spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter out of the jar. I LOVE crunchy peanut butter out of the jar. And unfortunately, I do not suffer from Arachibutyrophobia, which is “a persistent abnormal and unwarranted fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.” Where are these phobias when you need them?

It wouldn’t kill me to stop getting carried away at the Fruit Bowl, either. I go in to buy candy and there are all these fruits, and vegetables sitting around — who can resist them? Not me! Of course, the Fruit Bowl people are smart — to get to the candy you have to pass through the good stuff and some of that stuff (rosy firm apples, navel oranges, Brussels sprouts, eggplant — I love Brussels sprouts and I make a killer eggplant Parmesan casserole) — looks so good! It’s all I can do to resist it. So when I have budgeted a small amount for candy and snacks, I end up buying fruit and veggies too, which weren’t in the budget at all.

It wouldn’t kill me if my mind didn’t always play tricks on me. Let me tell you how it works — so often. (Please stay with me — this gets complicated.) I once knew a girl named Jean. But she always looked like a Kathy to me so I trained myself, every time I saw Jean whom I wanted to call Kathy, to stop a moment and wait, because in her case I knew my first choice for her name was always wrong. (I do hope this is clear.) The second choice was, for years, the right one, and I learned to wait for it. Now this worked beautifully, until one day she suddenly didn’t look like a Kathy any more and I no longer wanted to call her that at first sight. But unfortunately, when I started to call her Jean, which was right, along came this little mind-hitch that said no, in her case, you always wait for the second choice, remember? Thus I would so often end up calling her Juh-Kathy. (Or was it Kuh-Jean?)

Anyway, it wouldn’t kill me if my mind started working normally, like everyone else’s does.

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

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Maude McDaniel - Living
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