LET INGA TELL YOU:
From time to time, my husband has observed: “It must be really hard living inside your head.” Alas, this is often true. I wish brains could have an off switch where you could say, “OK, we’re done for today! Do not even THINK of contacting me again until at least 7 a.m.”
But my brain just never wants to quit. Around 2 a.m. I wake up and start pondering both ponderables and imponderables. They just won’t go away no matter what tricks I use to get them to shut up.
Now, both the good news and the bad news is that a lot of these issues can be answered without even getting out of bed if you have your Smartphone plugged in on the bedside table. But looking things up in the middle of the night is a slippery slope. Once your phone has seduced you to turn it on, you suddenly need to check the weather, email, your favorite advice column, the latest news. Then you’re truly never going back to sleep.
Here are a few things I have recently pondered late at night:
1) What is the difference between flotsam and jetsam?
2) Why don’t Eskimos have scurvy?
3) What did the appendix used to do before it became an obsolete organ?
4) When TV commercials get cut off in the middle, which they often do, does the advertiser still have to pay?
5) Why do international political conflicts among countries always seem reminiscent of youth soccer teams?
6) What percentage of the bandwidth is taken up with selfies?
7) Numerous books have been written by people who purport to have come back from heaven. Why hasn’t anyone come back from hell?
8) What does the dog think when it sees you naked?
9) Is it truly darkest before dawn?
10) Why can’t a woodchuck chuck wood?
11) What IS a woodchuck, anyway?
12) How can there be fat-free Half & Half?
13) How many angels CAN dance on the end of a pin and why exactly do we care?
14) How can so many writers all be “New York Times No. 1 Bestselling Authors”?
15) If you really like Couple A and you really like Couple B, why do Couples A and B never hit it off at your dinner party?
16) Can you have two colds at once? If you already have a cold then someone you know has a cold too but with different rhinoviri, can you get their cold as well?
17) Why do dogs sleep so much?
18) How did early man keep from freezing to death in cold climates, even with fire?
19) Are clams really happy?
20) Why is the plural of moose “moose” and not mooses or meese? (Think tooth/teeth, goose/geese)
And most puzzling of all:
21) Why does melted cheese taste so much better than the same cheese at room temperature?
I think you’ll agree that no one could sleep with all that circulating among their circuits. There is not room to answer even all the answerables on this list, but here is the result of my (daylight hours) research on a few:
• Jetsam is debris deliberately thrown in the water; flotsam was not. There is enough Vitamin C in raw meat and fish to prevent scurvy. The appendix’ possible function was to help early humans digest plant cellulose, like tree bark.
• Most dogs that sleep 22 hours a day have nothing else to do. Woodchucks are actually the same as groundhogs and are herbivores who have no interest in chucking wood.
• The phrase is actually “happy as a clam in high water,” i.e. high tide where it is protected from hungry humans. Clams’ actual mental state has never been scientifically assessed, even by NIH.
• Moose is likely derived from an Algonquin language that didn’t have plurals; also, the English language just has tons of annoying exceptions designed to annoy foreigners learning our language and native speakers as well.
• It is only darkest before dawn in the human psyche; scientifically, it is darkest at the midpoint between dusk (sundown) and dawn (sunrise). As for Hell, it probably has those tire shredder things so that once you’re in, you can’t back out.
• Yes, you can have two colds at once; it’s called “co-infection. The “fat” half of Half & Half was replaced with corn syrup.
• That Couple A and Couple B didn’t hit it off at your dinner party is truly one of life’s imponderables.
• International political conflicts have exactly the same dynamics as youth soccer teams: constantly changing teams and alliances.
• Humans have evolved to prefer smoothness, gooeyness and warmth in food, the essence of melted cheese.
• You don’t want to know what the dog thinks when it sees you naked.
Now go to sleep already.
— Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in La Jolla Light. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org