My adopted home state of South Carolina is once again proudly in the news:
Last Wednesday, a 48-year-old woman from the small town of Clover accidentally shot herself in the mouth while trying to kill a rat.
No, the pest hadn’t climbed in while she slept, mouth agape. The woman told sheriff’s deputies that she was sitting on her patio with a .22 caliber revolver in her lap, waiting for the rodent to be lured to a piece of cheese she had placed on the ground. When she leaned over to adjust the cheese, the gun accidentally discharged.
She was rushed to a local hospital, where a doctor found a bullet lodged in her jaw. She was treated for being shot in the face.
The woman was alone at the time of the shooting, and no charges were filed. There was no report on the condition of the rat.
I wonder if anyone has ever made the following mistake:
Long interested in studying the galaxies but as yet unable to complete the GED that would get him admitted to college, the young student stumbles across the Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology. He is surprised to learn that only $300 allows him to become enrolled.
He shows up for the first day of classes, and his teacher begins with an overview of scissors work. At the next session, he learns about permanents and body waves. It’s not until the third day, when tinting and highlighting are introduced, that he starts to wonder when they’ll start talking about the origin and structure of the universe.
“You’re looking for a program that studies cosmology,” the teacher sadly informs him. “This is cosmetology.”
A new sign has been posted outside the men’s locker room at the local YMCA:
“Please report any staff members engaged in strange behavior, or other activities that do not reflect our core values of Honesty, Responsibility, Respect and Caring.”
Is this supposed to reassure members that management is trying to provide us with a safe environment for our workouts? Because I felt oddly un-reassured being asked to join in an effort to stamp out strangeness at the Y.
Also, I wondered if behavior that is “strange,” but still in keeping with those core values, is okay. The 75-year-old guy who sits naked and splayed on the bench in front of the lockers is, in a way, honest, perhaps to a fault. If the same guy starts exhibiting a “caring” attitude toward me, I guess I would regard that as bizarre.
With cool weather finally returning, I think I’ll give up the treadmill and start running wildly through the streets again.
This is the scene I encountered when going out to pick up my morning paper Saturday:
The music professor who lives in the condos across the way is not your typical resident of South Carolina. He likes to greet the morning sun each day with an outdoor session of tai chi. Right across from my driveway.
I know for a fact that this ancient Chinese martial art is a tremendous exercise for both mind and body. My wife spent several years teaching both tai chi and yoga, and I’ve seen first-hand the good it has done for her and her students.
Still, I find it somewhat unseemly for a neighbor to be half-twisted, half-crouched, and waving his arms about his torso in the middle of a neighborhood street at 9 o’clock in the morning. If I walk down and pick up the newspaper, I imagine he’ll greet me, and then what am I supposed to do? If he stops his routine in mid-Slow Power Heron Step, I’ll feel guilty that I’ve interrupted him. If he continues sweeping his limbs about him as we discuss current events of the subdivision, do I have to join in?
“I hear that one vacant lot up the road is being cleared for new home construction,” he might say as his right arm curls gracefully above his head. “Let us greet the morning star, for he is our brother.”
“I saw them doing some trench work there just last week,” I could respond. “How’s it goin’, sun?”
I refuse, however, to join him in his snail-paced dance.
My son and I were scrolling through what we call the “Channel Channel” Saturday night. This is the cable-provided listing of all programs then broadcasting on each network and in each time slot. It’s the service that basically killed TV Guide single-handedly.
There was little to choose from at 8 p.m., so I paused on the entry for “The Apprentice” and hovered my thumb over the “select” button. I’ve never before watched this much-hyped Donald Trump reality show, yet there was so little else from which to select.
“What do you think, Daniel?” I asked. “Should I do it? Should I push the button?”
“I’m not going to be the one to say ‘yes,'” Daniel responded. “You realize you’re about to consider altering the arc of your entire life, don’t you?”
“It seems like harmless fun,” I said. “Let’s give a shot.”
And so we sat for the next two hours, watching the premier episode in which eight alpha males and eight alpha females bashed and clashed with each other, while The Donald and His Demon Spawn glowered their disapproval. Gee, I thought, what they’re doing is even worse than my job — this is great!
So now my DVR is set up to catch the second episode, scheduled for Thursday night. And, for your information, I also plan on watching “Dancing With the Stars” tonight, even if it doesn’t include a performance by my neighbor.
Domino’s Pizza received generally high marks from those in the advertising industry for the campaign it began several months ago admitting that its product sucked. The chief executive himself was seen promising viewers that Domino’s had heard the complaints and was working hard to regain consumer confidence. They even badgered innocent civilians who had previously refused to eat the pizza. Give it a try, they urged the individual from billboards and sound trucks and street signs around their city. Not bad, most responded when finally confronted with the pie in question.
They also asked people to send in their own photos to prove how good the pizza looked when it arrived at their doors. One unlucky home diner found his toppings adhered to the lid of the box, and sent in a picture to show it.
This photo is now included in the latest series of ads from the campaign. “We still have work to do,” says the CEO, a full nine months after promising the pizza maker had already reinvented itself.
As for me, I’m starting to lose faith that advertisers speak the truth.
A friend at work was showing off a new spread he was applying to his graham crackers. It was a product called “Naturally More.” Included on the label was the tagline “What Peanut Butter Should Be.”
“So, it’s not peanut butter,” I said.
“Sure, it’s peanut butter,” Adam replied. “That’s what it says.”
“No, it doesn’t,” I contended. “If you read it carefully, that’s not what it says at all. It might be ‘what peanut butter should be’, but that doesn’t mean it’s peanut butter.”
We read a little more of the small type from the label.
“It features a natural recipe that, unlike most peanut butters on the market today, is enhanced with beneficial nutrients.” That doesn’t say it’s peanut butter.
“While normal peanut butter is almost exclusively monounsaturated fat, Naturally More contains essential fatty acids.” Still not officially peanut butter.
“The unique formula has a peanut butter base, fortified with flax seed and flax oil.” Close, but a “peanut butter base” does not a “peanut butter” make. And the flax sure doesn’t help.
Adam offered me a sample, and I tried it. It tasted approximately like peanut butter. Which is what it was.