I am not obsessive compulsive. I do not charge my Fitbit watch at an outlet by the bed to avoid missing steps in the morning. And I do not manually add the 36 round trip steps I make daily to and from my charging station to any step count. This should prove I do not have an obsessive compulsive disorder. But I remember a suspected sociopath volunteering that test results indicated he was not a sociopath. That made him seem more like a sociopath. If he took a test in a magazine, maybe even he was worried that he was a sociopath. If he took a test as part of a medical evaluation, that suggests our concerns were more than just idle gossip. And, of course, sociopaths could be expected to give phony answers on any test just like they project falsely in real life to disguise their condition. So maybe I could also be in denial about being obsessive compulsive. I am looking for a validated test because OCD people are surely more reliable test takers than sociopaths. Everyone should believe test results verifying that I am not obsessive compulsive. In fact, I will show them results from multiple tests.
A popular radio commercial questions the logic of the word shampoo which has two syllables that are both negative words. The latter syllable is something no customer would like to visualize in their hair. The May issue of National Geographic reports on findings by Canadian psychologists who analyzed 45,000 English words to determine what makes some of them intrinsically funny. A chart accompanying the article has an x axis on how a word looks and sounds and a y axis on what it means. If I read the chart correctly, the word slobbering has a very high composite humor score. Five word-form categories of funniness are low probability letters, oo sound, consonant plus le, k, and y. Six funny-word subject categories include sexuality, profanity, bodily functions, insults, partying, and animals. Puking is funny because it has the the oo sound, the letter k, and associations with profanity, bodily function. and partying. Two of my granddaughters find the word butt-cheek hysterical and never tire of using it as in, “Gapi is a butt-cheek on a stick.” I do not know where it ranks in funniness but I am really upset that I was never informed that you could make a living studying this type of stuff.
I have been called the world’s most selfish person. I could defend myself by becoming less selfish. But instead I did research to find someone more selfish. I have settled on Joseph Logan Thompson. His son Ernest nominated him as “the most selfish man I ever knew, or heard of, in history or fiction.” When Ernest turned 21 in 1881, his father presented him with an itemized bill for $527.50 for all the expenses incurred in raising him, including the doctor’s fee for his delivery. Ernest paid off the “debt” and severed all ties with his father. I like to tell this story by adding that the startling thing is the impact of inflation over the years. That makes it looks like I missed the startling idea of a parent billing a child for his birth. Even so, Joseph’s selfishness probably helped Ernest by keeping the bill low. Few children today could hope to pay off a bill covering the expenses of being born and raised. I do not know if interest was involved nor do I know the father’s side of the story. I am somewhat wary of children telling stories that define their parents! Ernest did well for himself, becoming the famous author and wildlife artist Ernest Thompson Seton. Now I am considered the world’s second most selfish person. So my research continues to find a replacement for that designation.
E. coli outbreaks from beef have been trending downward since Bill Marler filed a lawsuit against Jack in the Box in 1993. In the June issue of NW Lawyer, Marler is quoted as saying this positive result is a combination of government, industry, and consumer action. He says the big problems now are actually leafy greens, uncooked fresh fruits, and vegetables. I seize blurbs like this every day, do some sloppy research, and start typing my daily Blog, knowing I can wring some flippant remarks out of such a topic. But this time I was wrong. I wrung my hands in frustration over how boring stool tests are and how unfunny E. coli is. But I did get amused with Present, Past, and Past Participle forms. Some are dull like Ring, Rang, Rung. But I just used Wring, Wrong, Wrung in a three sentence blitz above. And for some reason that is funny.
In the old days, the pool of Presidential candidates was limited by the prerequisite of being a Senator, Governor, and/or Vice President. A famous actor like Ronald Reagan needed to take the intermediate step of being elected Governor of California. Automobile executive George Romney still had to punch his ticket as Governor of Michigan. First Lady Hilary Clinton had to add Senator from New York to her resume. But Donald Trump demonstrated that in the age of social media, a candidate can bypass the stranglehold of the political machinery that controlled paths, access, and funding. Being an outsider to a system widely viewed as corrupt can actually be a positive. So the Republicans in 2016 and now the 2020 Democrats field more than twenty candidates each. You can be a mayor of Miramar, Florida, or South Bend, Indiana. You can be an author of spiritual books or the creator of a nonprofit fellowship program. If Trump is reelected in 2020, each party will probably see twice as many candidates competing in 2024. We should develop a debate playoff system. We could qualify 64 candidates and have a double elimination debate bracket, two candidates facing off at a time. The tournament could entertain for many months. Seedings could be by age. Bernie Sanders will be 83 in 2024 and Joe Biden turns 82, so they might be the top two seeds. Betting revenues would be immense. Candidates could select speechwriters, fundraisers, and other campaign staffers in a televised draft over several days. Hopefully I will become famous for coming up with this idea.
I grew up in the 1950’s with Doo-wop. Now I am growing dewlap. In the 1960’s I rocked to the Rolling Stones. Now I grow kidney stones. In the 1970’s I slipped into Disco. Now I slip discs. In the 1980’s I transitioned to heavy metal. Now I get metal implants. In the 1990’s, I finally caught up to Hip hop. Now I contemplate hip replacements. In the twenty first century I have given up on music trends. I have also given up much of my hair. My loss of hearing makes it difficult to hear the music anyway.
My brother’s friend Rich allegedly smoked my first big writing award which I earned as a high school senior. My later awards were invented by my brother while he promoted my novel under his various pseudonyms. My English teacher, Mr. Agostino, presented me a fancy cigar for submitting the best essay in the class. This was a thrill because no prize was promised. My winning story revolved around a 6’10” high school basketball player who could barely jump and was humiliated when he muffed a dunk attempt. Hollywood stole my idea 28 years later with a Woody Harrelson movie titled White Men Can’t Jump. They changed just enough to thwart my claim for plagiarism. I coveted that cigar and displayed it prominently in my room for many years. I do not know how long it was missing before I noticed. And I do not remember who implicated Rich in the unconscionable act. I was crushed because logically my brother must have been complicit, although I cannot be certain anyone knew the cigar was special. I wonder if I would have eventually smoked it at some significant time. I had to let the incident go so I never investigated. I was thinking fondly of Mr. Agostino recently since he had encouraged my writing. Cursory inquiries did not lead to him but he definitely did not become famous as a critic of fine literature. I did learn that you should smoke the cigar! What are you saving it for?
For decades I have carried a card in my wallet that says: “I am a very important Catholic. In case of emergency, please call a Bishop.” It may be time to purge that card in favor of all the credit cards and customer loyalty cards I have to pack with me. For one thing, the joke does not really come to fruition until I am dead or dying. Secondly, when I show off the card prior to my death, it does not get as big a laugh as when Catholics actually carried cards that said: “I am a Catholic. In case of emergency, please call a Priest.” Thirdly, calling 911 might be a better first option if you want the best chance of surviving the emergency. You will have plenty of time after the physical survival to keep all the promises you made when you were bargaining with God for more earthly time.
An extreme hiker who lives in the wilderness near me is known for the Suffering Index he uses to rate local hikes by calculating things like elevation gain per mile and insect bites per hour. Half the hikers who use the Index find the higher suffering routes as desirable tests of fitness. I represent the other half of his readers who study the ratings in an effort to avoid suffering. The College Board is so impressed that they have adopted key elements of the Suffering Index into their new SAT “adversity score” program. They calculate 15 factors on an Environmental Context Dashboard which addresses a student’s home life, community and school system, and local crime and poverty rates. The total on a scale of 100 adds up to a disadvantage level. According to Time Magazine, students do not see their adversity score or know how it influences their admission results. I assume exceptions will be made for those who participate in bribery programs.
Time Magazine recently quoted Michael J. Hicks, an economics professor, on the Trade War with China. They highlighted his quote in red ink in a sidebar with bigger type. Hicks said, “Almost no company isn’t going to import something from China.” I have to work hard to make sure I understand his point which I think is: “Almost every company is going to import something from China.” I cannot be sure for two reasons. First, we have now popularly interpreted double negatives as simple negatives. For example, the phrase I don’t got no money is generally taken to mean I don’t have any money. Secondly, I cannot be sure because I did not actually read the article which looked really boring. But I think I can make the Hicks quote less boring: “Almost no company isn’t going to import nothing from China.”