By Jack Sparacino
I keep scratching my head from time to time about the borderline weighty matters of the day, the ones that if they caught fire, so to speak, might even make it onto a cable news show. Here are a few more issues that seem halfway straightforward:
1. After years of consideration and endless research, the true taste of summer is perfectly captured by peaches right off the tree and tomatoes right off the vine. It’s a tie.
2. With all the floods lately, how can it be that so many people can’t swim? How about everyone at least learn how to tread water or maybe even the dog paddle. I’ll bet lots of dogs would help out.
2a. It looks like the weather has become the news lately. Floods, droughts, tornados, horrible dust storms. I’m waiting for locusts. Or maybe just a real-life version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
3. Isn’t here some way we could have another Teddy Roosevelt or Winston Churchill or Walt Disney? Is someone working on this?
4. Somewhere out there stands (or sits) the world’s actually, positively smartest person. We also have countless thousands of people who think they are contenders for this title. How about we put them in a stadium somewhere, give them some serious problems to solve, then hand out fancy certificates to those who actually succeed in making the world a better place. The losers have to just promise to be a little more humble.
5. Meeting a celebrity who’s pleasant to talk with and likes to meet strangers is fun. It stays with you. But it’s sometimes hard to know whether to say hello to them or just respect their privacy.
6. It wouldn’t hurt if more people dressed up just a little when they went out to eat. We don’t need black tie, gowns, or top hats, but a few more sleeves would be nice sometimes. And clean hands.
7. Sometimes it’s appropriate that someone is told they’re full of baloney. Except that doing this seems unnecessarily critical of baloney since it still makes a pretty good sandwich.
8. Hummingbirds are fantastic, pretty little birds, though kind of hard to see. If they were as big as herons I’ll bet they would really cause a stir and maybe scare a few people.
9. I have an easier time remembering the names of the kids I went to school with (Dana Scott, Danita Fringer, Dean Stump…) than people I met yesterday. I’ve got a strong feeling I’m not alone in this. What do you think, Dean?
10. How on earth did we ever get along without pocket calculators? Or toaster ovens? Skateboards I understand.
11. If you’re hesitant to come right out and ask a person how old they are, you can always ask them how cheap they ever remember stamps being. In my case, it was four cents. I think that would still cover a couple of screws and washers today, just my two cents worth.
12. “Monkey business.” Sounds frivolous but I think it’s probably a reality in some cases. Monkeys that attract zoo visitors, perform on stage, or teach researchers how they actually learn and use language, for instance. “Monkey shines,” now that’s different.
13. Doing things “by the book” is absolutely essential much of the time, such as when assembling aircraft or bridges. Other times, it can be a recipe for boring, “me too” ideas or products and leave customers absolutely cold or even in danger.
14. My grandfather used to say “holy mackerel” when something really caught his attention or surprised him. He caught a lot of mackerel in his time and so have I. The expression still has me wondering where it came from. I’m open to suggestions.
15. Art Linkletter used to say that “kids say the darndest things.” So do many grownups and some dogs I know.
16. In the Wouldn’t-It-Be-Great Department: getting a telegram, a handwritten letter or a box of chocolates with no calories.
17. Someone, somewhere, could probably make a pretty good movie based on the old Dick, Jane and Sally readers some of us grew up with. I’d be happy to be the casting director.
17a. If a person had a time machine and could be a fly on the wall for a week, wouldn’t it be a treat to go back to 1939 and watch them make “The Wizard of Oz”? How about watching them dress up the flying monkeys (see #12) or watching the Munchkins rehearse their lines?
18. If someone could capture the sensation you get riding on a nice train and put it in a sleeping pill, they could make a fortune.
19. Lots of people have birdbaths in their yards. Do birds actually prefer showers?
20. Shark attacks that result in serious injury (or death) remain extremely rare, and we’re often more likely to get hit by lightning, but it seems like sharks get more than their fair share of the bad publicity. There’s an interesting book called “Close To Shore” that does a nice job of explaining the psychology of mass hysteria over shark attacks. Let’s go swimming (see #2).