Long Unanswered Questions

For background, I wasn’t the kind of kid who asked questions like, “Mommy, why is the sky blue.” At 7, I knew the answer to that (differential scattering across the visible spectrum). [This probably had to do with the fact that I learned to read not in school, but around age four, out of an old set of World Book encyclopedias.]

Instead my questions tended to hover along the lines of, “How can Ford possibly continue the previous administration’s policies, like detente with the Soviets, if he is under such heat with the fallout from pardoning Nixon?” [This probably had to do with our one consistent splurge — a subscription to the daily Dallas Times Herald.]

Recently, while engaging in the reasonably mindless but necessary chore of mowing grass, a series of previously scattershot questions came to me that I realized still have not been satisfactorily or completely answered, and about which I have wondered since childhood.

* Why is elementary school often referred to as “grade school,” when middle (a.k.a. junior high) and high schools also have grades?

* What is the name of the person who decided that “ain’t” shouldn’t be a word, and what gave him or her the authority to make that decision for me?

* Smoking causes disease in oneself and others, tars lungs and teeth, fills the house with noxious fumes, makes one’s breath stink, and costs lots of money. Why do it?

* What, exactly, is the modern function (not purpose, but practical function) of a necktie? If “none,” what’s the point of using one, really, other than to waste time and effort?

* How can it matter which hands you use to cut the meat and hold the fork, as long as you’re keeping your elbows to yourself and the food gets in your mouth without making a mess?

* How can it be anything but hypocritical for those on the left who advocate “tolerance,” “diversity,” and “tolerance of diversity,” to be so bitterly intolerant of those with opinions radically different than their own (e.g., neoconservatives and evangelical Christians)?

* Yellow Cab, Greyhound and Amtrak never “overbook.” [Neither does JetBlue these days.] Why should United, Delta or American?

* Two identically sized bottles of shampoo have the same ingredients in the same proportions, and smell the same. Only the labels are different. Why on earth would anyone pay three times as much for one as for the other?

* For more than a few months, my parents could not get away with spending more than what they earned, even if the spending was for what we believed to be necessities. How does the government?



Comments

One Response to “Long Unanswered Questions”

  1. tornado on November 7th, 2008 3:13 am

    Relaying the following comment from Chuck Doswell via e-mail…

    ——————————-

    How is it hypocritical do disagree? Being a so-called “liberal” (see: http://www.flame.org/~cdoswell/liberal_rant.html) and thereby tolerant doesn’t mean that one can’t disagree. And if there’s some bitterness in the disagreement, it’s when someone’s political and/or religious agenda is forced on those who don’t accept those beliefs – e.g., “blue” laws. The fact that I disagree with someone doesn’t mean that I’m leading a lynch mob, or trying to get laws on the books that will prevent such views from being expressed. If any groups have been actively intolerant of others (in trying to suppress the freedom of expression), its the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians!

    Chuck

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