More random thoughts from a retiree

in Voices by

By Jack Sparacino
I don’t use the word “culture” every day, but that appears to be the theme in some of my recent musings. See what you think.
1. Maybe we need a special language committee to make a ruling on how we’re really supposed to pronounce certain everyday words.  Once and for all, is it to-may-toe or ta-mah-toe?  Pea-can or puh-cahn? New Orleans or Noh-lans?  Missour-ee or Missour-ah?  Boston or Bahstan?  And so forth.  When they’re finished, maybe they could earn bonus points by publishing an official list with pictures of all the weeds (pronounced WEEDS) that make their way into gardens so I don’t pull the wrong stuff.
2. The ability to e-mail your friends anywhere around the world, at any time, at virtually no cost, is a wonderful thing.  But what’s happening to our penmanship as a result?  Mine has gone from bad to worse.
3. Is it time to bring back old timey exclamations?  You know, like “heavens to Betsy,” “land sakes,” or “Jumping Jehoshaphat”? Anyone for “leapin’ lizards”?  No?  Horse feathers!
3b. I also wonder if doilies are due for a comeback.  Maybe not soon, since a lot of us don’t seem to know what they’re actually for.
4. It’s getting harder to remember the day when gas station attendants greeted you pleasantly, pumped your gas, checked the oil and wiped your windshield.  All that service, yet that was when gas cost a lot less, too!  Where are those guys working now?
5. Are there any limits to what you can make with local shrimp?
6. Some people here, mostly natives, tell me with all seriousness that the weather never gets too hot for them.  I don’t recall anyone in Syracuse or Chicago saying that about the snow and cold so perhaps they’re just not as resilient as Lowcountry types.
7. About 100 acres of pizza are consumed in the U.S. every year.  That’s 350 slices per second and over 32 billion dollars a year in sales. And 93% of Americans eat AT LEAST one pizza per month.  Can pizza flavored gum, water or toothpaste be far off?  Lipstick, anyone?
8. Saving money is great, and lots of people are really good at it, but you can’t be too cheap about some things, like good shoes, mattresses, dental care and tires.  Just can’t safely shortchange our feet, backs, teeth and traction.
9. Of all the things a person might be snobby about, the worst one might be what anyone else does for a living.  If it’s honest work done for satisfied customers, it’s valuable.  And good.  Period.
9a. Will the inventor of bobblehead dolls please bounce forward and answer a few questions.  (Yes, you may nod.)  What’s your next invention?  How’s your neck rotation?  Can you see behind you without moving your feet?  If a person’s likeness shows up on a bobblehead, that’s a compliment, right?
10. Frog legs are not my favorite dish and who in the world first said they taste like chicken?  Maybe we should give the frogs a break.
10a. When our son was 5 and enthralled with Ninja Turtles, we ordered “snapper” soup in a Philadelphia restaurant.  After it was served, we quietly learned they meant it was made from snapping turtle, not red or yellow snapper as in fish.  He’s 26 now, and it might be time to let him know he liked the soup back then even though we sort of glossed over what it was made from.  I think we’ve passed the soup statute of limitations.
11.  How come so many people enjoy bottled water … but not canned?  (With all due respect to canteens.)
12. If you’re not sure where you’re going and you get off course, are you lost?  Does this apply to people under 25 or so trying to chart a career path?  Aren’t they too young to be lost?
13. It seems curious to me that almost all the wine sold commercially is made from grapes.  What’s wrong with using melons, cherries, pears or peaches, for instance?  Um, pineapples?
14. Amidst all the wonderful attractions of the Lowcountry, we do have a villain.  Actually, I prefer to think of them as bad employees which deserve to be, yes, FIRED.  Fire ants inject a toxic venom called solenopsin. My first encounter with fire ants was in Augusta.  I took a bag of trash to a container by the side of a river, and within seconds of standing there felt intense stinging on my bare ankles.  Since Augusta, I’ve been attacked by fire ants three times in our backyard.  Plenty of others have been attacked and the performance report is pretty clear on this.  Fire ants are a menace and it’s time for them to go!  Maybe we should build them a special little ant sized highway that leads out of town.  We could all “ante up” to accelerate the process.