I have a very short commute. No more than five minutes on the slowest of days. However, despite the early morning hour and my distinct hatred for coffee, my mind springs to life generally before the rest of my body. For some strange reason, my senses accumulate an uneasy amount of information in my brief drive, and these observations send me pondering.
So many “things” in life actually struggle to make sense, and, if you stop even for a moment to reflect on the true meaning of something, you may just start to confuse yourself as much as I have. For quite some time now, I have endorsed the philosophy that there probably is no real truth; instead, all opinions and expressions are simply personal representations of perception. Keeping my brain functioning with this as its guiding ideal, I can better comprehend those difficult questions that people seem to repetitively bring about: Why do we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway? How do you know when you are running out of invisible ink? Was Robin Hood’s mother Motherhood?
Yet my drive to work has provided me with legitimate mental stimulation-the type that makes you ask a question you had never before generated. Below you will find random ideas, odd reflections, strange perceptions, and other indefinable stuff; however, each piece has popped into my mind during recent drives, and each has made me cock my head to the side like a dog hearing a high-pitched noise. I am not positive I understand all of them, although I have thought deeply about the logic invested in each. But, I do know that some scare me more each time I break them down. Here goes.
1. Why do some drive-up ATM machines have brail on the buttons? This one scares me to no end. If an operator of a vehicle, and I do not care what kind it is-a car, truck, unicycle, scooter, tank–needs the assistance of brail to withdraw money, how in this green, green world did he pass the driver’s test? I believe that handicapped individuals should maintain the same rights and opportunities as anyone, but some limitations need to exist. Blind people can ski, they can run track, they can play golf, but in no way should they ever slide behind the wheel of a car and say, “Let’s take a ride to the bank.”
Now, I did stop to consider why the bank may have left the brail on the buttons. Maybe they mass produce all of the ATM buttons, regardless of drive-up or walk-up, so they all look this way. If so, it is a cruel joke played on all those blind people out there in passenger seats who have to hear their driver friends say, “Wow, Billie, d’you see this? They got brail on the buttons. What’d ya say? Oh yeah, you can’t see this. You’re blind.”
I also thought that they left them there for people who walk up to utilize a drive-up ATM. But, then I thought that this was another cruel joke. Who would let a blind person stroll around in busy parking lots and streets to withdraw money they cannot see to count? Banks have made some serious mistakes lately, but this one is just mean.
2. Why is it so much easier to get a gun license than a driver’s license? To purchase a gun, depending on the state, you have to undergo a background check and experience a waiting period of approximately three days. To get a driver’s license, you need to apply for and receive a permit, practice with an experienced driver and/or attend driver’s school, and take both a written and practical examination. Then, once you get the license, the new driver must adhere to regulations about how and when he can drive as well as the number of passengers he can carry. This process takes months and involves training so that you will emerge as a comfortable, equipped young driver who hopefully remains responsible.
With a gun, you have no forced training as to how to operate the weapon. Of course, the most responsible people do, but it is not mandated. Why? The majority of America’s automobile accidents involve little to no injury, with the damage being cosmetic to the car. But, if you have a slip up with a gun, I’m pretty confident it doesn’t always result in a bruise on someone’s shoulder or a chipped tooth.
3. Why do doctors call their place of business a practice? I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be any person’s guinea pig. When I step into a doctor’s office, I want treatment from a highly professional, intellectual person who has been there before. Thus, the question begs itself to be answered: What precisely do they need to practice?
Practice implies making mistakes and learning from them to create a better product next time. If I go in and complain about a stiff neck and a raging headache, I do not want the doctor to look discerningly at me, rub his chin once, and say, ‘I think I know what it is. Let me try something. Sit tight, I’ll be right back.” And upon his returned he pushes ahead of him a set of cardiac paddles and an idiot’s guide to basic proctology. “This should shock you out of that funk you’re in,” he says.
4. If the police arrest a one-armed man, how do they handcuff him? I smile each time I think about this, envisioning an officer wrapping an amputee’s arm around his back while reciting the Miranda rights. He grabs the man hard and says, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and…hey, where’s your other arm? Stop playing hide-and-seek with me or you’re gonna get peppered!”
Seriously, what do they do? Handcuff him to his own belt loop? What if he does not have a belt loop? Do they secure him to a street pole and wait for back up to bring a prosthesis to finish the job properly? Do they cuff officer and prisoner together so that when they arrive at the station they can compete in the jailhouse version of a three-legged race? Who knows?
5. What is a male ladybug called? I don’t even know if one exists, but, if he does, what a terrible fate. A man bug, in all his winged strength and vibrant reds and blacks, stricken with an entirely feminine name, must fly through life with that ever-present feeling of embarrassment. If he encounters a dragonfly named Lenny or a bee named Rex, how can he live with himself? I feel for him.
If we all could band together and rename the male ladybug, what would that new designation be? Manlybug. Bug with penis. Beer drinking bug. Refuse to ask for directions bug. Testosterone bug. Hair on my chest bug. Rogaine-addicted bug.
Whatever it is, I just hope it is strong and cool, for he has suffered too hard for too long.
6. Why don’t lumber distributors label wood by the actual size? For example, a 2×4 is not two inches by four inches. Instead, it is actually 1 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches. Doing measurements for any set of plans would become so much easier if you could deal in whole numbers rather than having to use fractions with each piece. If you think about it, not many other parts of life could function in such a manner. How would a pilot like it if the control tower told him that he had two miles to the runway, but as he closed in he realized it was really only a mile and a half, and now he was about to set down on top of a mini-mart? How would the President of the United States like it if his intelligence community said a foreign adversary had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, …never mind.
Actually, this conversion could really work for me. I would love to owe someone fifty dollars and, when they show up, hand them thirty five-not so sure they’d appreciate that interpretation. I’d like to run a marathon and begin celebrating wildly after the twenty-third mile because my translation was different; this is really the only way we’ll ever beat the Ethiopians.
Some of these are not entirely thought out, and still many more exist inside my brain. I suggest we all keep our eyes open to the oxymoronic and ironic ways we live life. Oddities exist and bizarre things occur, and sometimes its just plain fun to speculate about the ridiculous. The beauty in life is sometimes within its contradictions.