Things I Don’t Understand, Pt. 5

9 09 2008

I haven’t done one of these since last spring, so I guess I could do another one…

1. Erasable Pens
Back in fifth grade, these were on the list of required school supplies for the year. So I got some. The problem was, whenever we were doing something that might need to be erased, like math problems, the teacher made us use pencils. So we wound up using the pen part, but not the eraser, which is the part we paid extra for. On top of that, even when you did try to use the eraser, it left a big gray streak on the page so everyone would know where you screwed up. Which seems counterproductive. So what’s the point?

2. Safety Scissors
This goes back even further than fifth grade. We all used these in kindergarten. Little scissors for little fingers with rounded tips and colorful handles. The rounded tips made them “safe”, since you couldn’t stab someone with the blunt point. What the manufacturers failed to realize was that the point of the scissors isn’t the business end. The blades are still as sharp as ever, which they need to be so you can cut your construction paper or remove the braided pigtails of the girl who sits in front of you. But they’re still knives, albeit smaller ones with no point. So these “safety” scissors sound like an excuse to put deadly weapons into the hands of America’s children.

3. Scented Sharpies
If you give a kid a cookie, you can’t expect him not to eat it. If you give a kid a toy, you can’t expect him not to play with it. So if you give a kid a marker that says it smells like cherry pie, you can’t expect him not to end up higher than a kite. So why make flavored markers and then turn around and tell kids to “just say no”? Seems like mixed messages…

4. Glue Bottles
Apparently I have craft supplies on the brain…anyways, how do glue bottles work? Glue is meant to stick to things, to hold them together. But why doesn’t it stick to the inside of the glue bottle? Does it not work until it leaves the bottle? Are the bottles magic? If we have the technology to make magic bottles, why are we only using them for glue? Why not toothpaste that only becomes minty once it hits the toothbrush, or taco sauce that only delivers that extra kick once it’s on your chalupa?

5. Toothpaste Tubes
Speaking of toothpaste, why does it come in those weird tubes? Any other bottle can be squeezed from the middle to the user’s heart’s content. Mustard bottles, ketchup bottles, glue bottles (see above), water bottles (see below), all of these can be middle-squeezed. But stupid toothpaste tubes don’t work right if you squeeze them from the middle. Instead, you have to squeeze from the end, which is entirely awkward, and requires you to set your toothbrush down on the beard stuble trimmings lining your sink. Yumm…

6. Bottled Water
Actually, not all bottled water. Just some kinds. And it’s not the water itself I don’t get. It’s the names. Such as:
Poland Spring — Apparently, it’s actually from Maine
Earth Water — As opposed to Mars water?
Ice Mountain — There’s no way that’s an actual place. Don’t all mountains have ice on them?
Pure Life — A favorite of monks, nuns, and popes. Sinners should look elsewhere for hydration
Roaring Spring — The Wikipedia page shows a tranquil creek. So where does the roaring come in?
Zephyrhills — The name looks like an STD. Or the drug they give you to cure it.
Deja Blue — “Hey, this tastes just like that tap water I just had…”
Bling H2O — For when water just isn’t pimp enough
Deer Park — Although it was a crappy movie, the opening scene of The Tuxedo places a weird image in my head when I see this brand…

7. Snapple Fact #131
”Penguins have an organ above their eyes that converts seawater to fresh water”. Okay, fine. So penguins have a Brita filter in their head. I can live with that. But why? They don’t breathe water like a fish, so that’s not an issue. Is it just so they don’t have to stop for drinks when they go krill hunting? And if so, where does the salt go? Do they hock up a salt tablet every few days or so, like an owl does with fur and bones? Can they spit salt crystals at each other for the fun of it? (Snowballs would get old pretty fast, but no one would see the flying salt chunk coming) Or do they just eat it? And if they do, why separate it in the first place? Wouldn’t it just redissolve in the stomach? And if so, why don’t we hear more about penguin heart attacks on account of their enormously high sodium intake levels?

8. Surfboards
Don’t get me wrong. I love surfing. But I don’t understand it. Its a big floating chunk of fiberglass that you stand on. Waves are constantly determined to throw you off the side, and if that’s not enough, we’ll coat the board with a nice layer or three of wax, since something like wax could never be slippery when wet. As much fun as surfing is, I’d still like to meet the guy who decided that riding a floating death stick would be a good way to spend a weekend. It just doesn’t make sense on paper.

9. Jai Alai
Most sports can be reasonably explained as the evolution of a natural human activity. Soccer is the easiest example of this, since it boils down to kicking a small object. Bowling is simply rolling a ball at a specific target. Football involves transporting an object from point A to point B. But jai alai? It involves wearing a wicker basket-like device on ones hand and slinging a goatskin ball back and forth in an enclosed space at speeds of up to 188 mph. How does that even remotely sound like a good idea? At least Spanish bull running thing could have once been a rite of passage or something. Jai alai sounds more like a rite of idiocy.

10. Kangaroo Nomenclature
Male kangaroos are called “boomers”. Female kangaroos are called “flyers”. Oddly enough, kangaroos never go boom or fly. Nevertheless, their names suggest otherwise, although a six-pack of Foster’s may be suspected as the cause of this confusion. Also, why are kangaroos always depicted as female? They always draw a pouch on the belly for some reason. Which probably means boomers can get away with a lot more, since no foreigner would ever believe in a pouchless kangaroo.

11. Sudanese Justice
Be warned, this part gets pretty weird. Apparently, a dude walked in on his neighbor doing unspeakable things to the dude’s goat. He did what any Sudanese dude who was sufficiently creeped out would do and went to the local authorities. The authorities, in their infinite wisdom, decided that, since this creep was doing things to the goat which are usually reserved for one’s wife, then this man should marry the goat. As such, the creep paid a dowry to the dude and is now married to the goat. Mr. Alfini, one of the authorities, noted, “We have given him the goat, and as far as we know, they are still together.” Well, duh. How could a goat sign the divorce papers? If you think I’m making this up, the story is here

Okay, after that goat thing, I’m just not feeling motivated to do any more. Feel free to comment and let me know if you have ideas for the next one.

-dave