Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ain't It the Truth?

I've been reading a collection of Erma Bombeck's columns, which I checked out from the library.  It's rather extensive for a gathering of the "best" or "favorites", but I was glad to see my personal favorite included.  When I first read it at the age of ten, I thought, "This is it.  This is me."  It's still as true as it ever was.  Here is an excerpt from "Third Child" (November 5, 1981).

"...third children have no history.  There are no footprints of them in the baby book, no record of their baptism, no snapshots of their birthdays, and no report cards to show they ever were.  Their childhood diseases are uneventful, their first words fall on deaf ears, and toilet training is a lonely affair with no one to applaud their efforts.  The third child learns early that he is odd man out and has broken the family symmetry.  Kitchen chairs come four to a set, breakfast rolls four to a package, and milk four cups to a quart.  Rides at Disneyland accommodate two to a seat, the family car carries four comfortably, and beds come in twos not threes.  The third child is the one who gets called the other two's names before the mother finally remembers his.  He goes through a lifetime of comparisons:  'You're not going to be as tall as your brother... as smart as your sister... as athletic as your father."

With minor variations, all the above is true for me.  In my case, it was my grandmother who went through my father's and brothers' names before arriving at mine (I did note she went chronologically), and I was forever being asked by teachers, "Are you so-and-so's brother?" (as if they'd ever met anyone else named Chlorophyll).  Occasional pictures were taken of me in my childhood, but generally only at events where multiple family members were present.  My older brothers, I think, used up most of the film in the world before I was born.  I think there actually are more pictures of my Carvel birthday cakes than there are of me on my birthdays.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

Here's a sample of the books I've read recently:  a memoir by Bob Hope, Neil Patrick Harris's autobiography, a memoir by Katherine Hepburn*, and Noctila, the Death Owl.  If I ever do something crazy, not only will my neighbors say they were surprised because I was a quiet guy who kept to himself, but librarians will say, "Yeah, but you should see some of the weird stuff he checked out of the library."

* I don't know why three celebrities whose last names begin with H.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Shall We Play a Game?

Lately, I've been bringing snack sacks of a brand-name, cheese flavored cracker to work, to help me hang on through that long period between breakfast and lunch.  The crackers are imprinted with letters because the packages have the licensed name of a popular game (involving letters on tiles, you know the one).  I pondered if I could actually make words with the crackers in a bag.

The first day I tried, I started pulling out D O T N...  Except that I pulled out the T and N at the same time, so I legally could switch them, and that looks like "don't".  The next letter was E...  Wouldn't it be funny if I spelled out "Don't eat me"?  That didn't work out.  Here are the letters I ate on two consecutive days.  I haven't been interested (or bored) enough to try rearranging them into any words.  Would you care to try?

Day 1:  D O T N E G F N Y W F R E S V R E M C L G E P I H G R E A C

Day 2:  I Y I Y N N R R I A L B R O I R X A A T B N I T I S X L E R

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

I Wouldn't Mind Candy on Date Night

I probably do this every year, but as I handed out Halloween candy last night, I reflected how some things have changed since I went trick-or-treating.

This year, there were a preponderance of skull masks of various sorts.  One's child looked like he had masking tape on his head.  It was an effective costume, but I hope there was a cap or something (a skullcap, perhaps?) between the tape and his hair.  Superhero costumes abounded, and Star Wars was a perennial favorite.  There was more face painting and fewer masks this year.  Store-bought costumes have gotten more elaborate (and probably more expensive), but it's amazing how effective a simple drape of cloth around a mask can be.

I wanted to say that there were more parents this year, but that would be a big "Duh!" because no parents accompanied their children when I was of the proper age.  Still, it was nice to see how many of the parents were in costume.  I have to give the prize for cleverness and effectiveness to the man whose toddler was dressed in a koala costume and riding on his father's back, as baby koalas do.  The father wasn't a big koala, but what sold me was the artificial branches & leaves that made it look like the boy was in a tree.

At one point early in the evening, I thought, "Gee, you're cute, but your son looks a little Goofy."