Questions!

Unless you’re four years old, Seth Rogen or the Big Lebowski, you don’t have a lot of time to lie around the house and wonder why.  Adults, who aren’t permanently affixed to 4/20 self-medication, learn to take a few things on faith.  After all, “why?” is a pretty open-ended question and much if it, without herbal encouragement, isn’t worth the trouble.  For example, I don’t know why there are 8,000 different kinds of pasta, and, honestly, I don’t care.  I’m sure somebody knows the difference between linguini, fettuccini and all of other “inis,” out there, but it ain’t me.  However, there are times when our inner child does escape on a Friday morning and, over a second cup of coffee just wonders why.

During automobile commercials, when the car speeds up, why are the wheels turning the wrong way?  I’m no fan of physics, but that’s impossible.

The Ancient Greeks believed in a pantheon of gods who lived on Mount Olympus.  Mount Olympus is only 3,000 metres high.  Why didn’t somebody just climb the mountain and look?

When anti-religious people get upset about religious symbols like burkas and crucifixes, why doesn’t anybody ever mention yoga pants?  Honestly, we should do something about yoga pants.

Why television advertisements for hearing aids don’t have subtitles.  It seems to me they’re missing their target audience.

Why, after a murder, it’s always some jogger who finds the body.  I don’t trust joggers — uh — or people who walk their dogs, either.

Why single women in romantic comedies all have crap jobs but fabulous apartments full of cool furniture.  And how — exactly — are they paying for all this?

Why vegans always announce they’re vegan at parties.  Are they worried somebody’s going to accidently drop a pork chop in their drink?

Why English actors can sound like they’re American but, when American actors try to do a British accent, they all sound like they’ve got a carrot up their nose.

Why do people use the phrase “funny as hell.”  By all accounts, Hell isn’t the least bit funny.

Why Nala from The Lion King and Maid Marian from Robin Hood aren’t Disney princesses.  I think it’s a clear case of species-ism (specaphobia?)

Why a stress ball isn’t for throwing at people who stress you out.

Why algebra?

Why everybody cheers for the early bird but nobody has any compassion for the early worm.

Why people watch horror movies.  I fail to see how scaring the bejesus out of yourself passes for “entertainment.”  And that goes double for scary rides at the State Fair.

Every year, charities spend thousands and thousands of dollars making television commercials to solicit donations.  Why don’t they take the big money they’re spending on film crews, transportation, actors, actresses and TV time and just give it to the people they’re trying to help?

Why don’t psychics ever win the lottery?

And finally, two of my favourites:

If Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is correct and there is natural selection, then why, after 50,000 years of human history, are there still so many stupid people kicking around?

Why, when you can pretend to be anything you want on social media, people choose to be stupid.

Boundaries!

We need some new rules.  Let’s face it, folks: we live in childish times.  Our opinions are no longer thoughtful and measured but instant and shrill.  Our discussions are loud and unruly: our voices are pouty.  We whine and complain, and we’re constantly throwing temper tantrums when we don’t get what we want.  (Take a peek at all the Lockdown protests.)  In short, we’ve become a bunch of bratty children.  So, it’s time we set up a few boundaries.  Here are some suggestions: feel free to add to the list.

Like fishing, hunting and driving a car, people must have a license before they’re allowed to use Social Media.  They must pass a test that proves they’re actually smarter than a four-year-old before they can have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account.

If you’re having a serious political discussion, you cannot refer to ex-president Trump.  It’s been eight months.  He’s gone.  Give it a rest!

Grown men must not wear short pants if they are more than 5 metres away from a beach, a playground, a picnic spot or their own backyard.  (Guys, what don’t you understand about “grown man?”)

Baseball caps must be worn the right way round.  Look, ya moron! Wearing them backwards actually defeats the whole purpose of the hat.

Old men on loud motorcycles must seek professional help for their penis anxiety.

A baby stroller is not a weapon.  Therefore, it cannot be larger, wider, taller or heavier than the mom pushing it.  And dads, the mall is not Charlotte Motor Speedway — and neither is the grocery store.  Slow down!  Your kids are getting wind-burnt.

You can no longer claim to be “spiritual” just because you have a foreign language tattoo.  (The only thing you can claim is you have bad taste and too much disposable income.)

“Like,” “Awesome,” “You know” “Totally” and “Amazing” are banned from polite conversation.

The phrase “plus size” is also banned.  It’s just a sneaky way of reminding ordinary women they’re not supermodels.

The words “for” and “about” are no longer interchangeable.  “I’m embarrassed for it” and “I’m embarrassed about it” are completely different.  The first one isn’t even English.

Vegans must wait at least 5 minutes before announcing their status to strangers.  This rule does not apply to vegetarians (who normally don’t get all pissy about their culinary habits, anyway.)

If you’ve been in 3 or more movies, you’re no longer allowed to talk about poverty.  You’re riding around in a limousine, for God’s sake!  What can you possibly tell anybody about being poor?  (This goes double if you play a musical instrument for money.)

Professional athletes can no longer be paid more than the GDP of Malta.  They’re kicking a ball, not curing cancer. Let’s get some perspective.

From here on, celebrities have to be famous for a reason.  (And a photo-shopped picture of your ass on Instagram doesn’t count!)

And finally

Actors, actresses, singers and musicians who visit poor countries — for whatever reason — are no longer allowed to bring orphan kids home as souvenirs.

Happiness

One of the things I love about Americans is that, when they set up their government, they took the trouble to guarantee the right to life, liberty and (this is the best bit!) the pursuit of happiness.  They didn’t go nuts and say Americans have the unalienable right to BE happy; all they said was they have the legal right to try.  Not everybody does that.  For example, in my country, the government doesn’t give a damn if I’m happy or not.  They’re far more concerned that I keep my mouth shut when I’m pissed off.  Anyway, happiness is a relatively recent invention.  Before those good old boys from Virginia came along, survival was the biggie.  Singing in the sunshine and laughing every day took second place to making it through the winter, the war, the plague, the drought, the fire, the flood, the famine or any of the other 1,001 calamities that used to regularly wander by.  However, now that happiness is on the menu, everybody wants a slice, and nobody’s sure if their piece is quite big enough.  Here’s a quick and dirty guide to find out whether you are happy or not.

Do you own a rocking chair?  It’s scientifically proven that rocking chairs release enough endorphins to fill a room.  Add a sleeping baby or a cat on your lap and you’ll practically drown in the stuff.

Do you have a pet?  Dogs are better than cats: cats are better than fish: a platypus is the best, but even a well-loved houseplant will change you from a miserable self-centred bastard into a caring, sharing person of quality.  Thinking about something other than yourself will always make you a happy person.

Do you live west of the Vistula River?  For some reason, Europeans are happier than the rest of the world.  I don’t know why.  It must be the cheese — or the wine.

Do you have lunch money?  Money will not make you happy, but if you don’t have any — uh — you’re kinda screwed.  And constantly getting screwed will definitely make you grouchy.

Do you get earworms?  Ohrwurm in German.  (Those people have a word for everything.) These are those stupid songs that get stuck in your head and won’t go away.  Yeah, they’re annoying, but washing the dishes to “Barbie Girl” by Aqua isn’t all that bad.  My personal favourite is “All About The Bass.”  And, quite frankly, it’s impossible to be depressed if your brain is playing “Call Me, Maybe?”  (Are any of these in your head yet?)

Do you procrastinate?  The truth is procrastinators are cockeyed optimists.  They actually think that sometime in the future, they’re going to get their act together and clean out the closet or vacuum behind the refrigerator.  They probably won’t — but believing in a better future is one of the key components of happiness.  Therefore, procrastinators, by definition, are happy people.

Do you laugh at stuff that’s not supposed to be funny?  This is the stuff that catches you off guard and you giggle — even though you know you really shouldn’t.  Stuff that’s inappropriate.  Stuff that buttoned-down people might even find offensive.  Stuff that you really can’t repeat to anyone except your most trusted, trusted friend.  Here’s the deal: being silly in the face of all the pompous ass seriousness in our oversensitive world is a sure sign that you’re happy.

But I’ve saved the best for last:

Are you in love?  If you’re in love, you’re happy — full stop.  Unlike “relationships” that you have to “work at” so hard they eventually just turn into a total pain in the ass, love is the real meal deal.  If you look across the breakfast table and can’t think of any other place you’d rather be, then you’re in love.  And folks, if you do that often enough, you’re not pursuing happiness anymore: you’ve caught it.

Given these troubled times I thought I’d reprint this from May, 2018.