I Don’t Know Either

June 2, 2006

Why is it that whenever you’re carrying anything bulky and heavy, like a bookcase or a wedding cake or a barrel of gunpowder, your nose always itches? Why does it always stop itching as soon as you set down whatever you were carrying? Why is it that whenever you’re using one of those self-checkout machines at the grocery it lets you get to the third item before a red light starts flashing and "Please wait for cashier" comes up on the screen? Is the machine not smart enough to know that if you wanted to deal with a person you wouldn’t have gone through the self-service line? Why is it always your favorite shirt that loses a button right in the middle? Why is it that you never realize your favorite shirt has lost a button right in the middle until five in the morning when you’re getting dressed for work? Why does your favorite shirt always have some exotic buttons, and why is it always the one shirt in your closet that doesn’t have a couple of replacement buttons? Why is it that when you get caught in the rain and you run to get out of it you sweat? Why is it that your body can perform thousands of simultaneous autonomic functions but isn’t smart enough to figure out that sweating is pointless when you’re already soaking wet? Why are riding mowers equipped with headlights? No one that I know mows their yard after dark, and if you have a section of your yard that’s dark enough for headlights chances are good grass doesn’t grow there anyway. And why is it that the human body is such a remarkable piece of work but grocery store cashiers are never smart enough to operate the self-checkout machine, meaning you have to unbag your groceries and let them be re-bagged by some guy who sees nothing wrong with putting a bookcase or a wedding cake and a barrel of gunpowder on top of a carton of eggs? And, perhaps most importantly, why did I never pursue an academic career where I could get multi-million dollar grants for doing studies on questions such as these and follow them up with dense, jargon-filled reports that take seventy-three pages to say "I don’t know"? Actually I do know the answer to that one. I missed the job interview because I was trying to find a button for my favorite shirt.

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