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Mom's comments, and other things in life

September 06, 1998

Following is a smattering of conversations, strange information and unusual occurrences.

- My mom, with whom I now live, put some bacon in front of me one morning. It was salvaged from her buffet breakfast.

"Scooter grabbed one of the pieces," she said. "He didn't eat it, so I just wiped it off and put it back on the plate."

Scooter is my male cat.

"Ma-um!" I exclaimed.

I began examining the three slices warily.

"Oh, just eat it," she said a bit testily. "You won't know which one it is anyway."

- I was driving down our road in the outskirts of Waynesboro, Pa. with my mom one day when I spotted a squirrel that only had a small stub of a tail.

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"Maybe it's a Manx squirrel," she said.

- I talked to some men outside the Smithsburg Town Hall recently while we waited for the mayor and council to get out of executive session, and the monthly meeting to begin. We were discussing the male obsession with groundhogs.

I told them about the guy at work who has been trying for two years to eliminate a crusty old groundhog who sucks his flowers underground and is undermining his very home.

He's tried everything from an electrified watermelon to a shotgun, to no avail.

"They're very sensitive to electrical charges," an experienced groundhog hunter said. "They won't go near them."

I was afraid to ask him how he knew that.

About that time, another man said he had once laid live wires in a grid - to kill ants. He said he put the device on the edge of his bathtub. Immensely curious, I asked why.

He looked at me like I was nuts. "Because I had ants in my bathroom," he said. "Why do you think."

I took a low-key approach to the conversation, since he seemed to be getting a bit defensive.

"Uh, isn't that a little dangerous, putting live wires on your bathtub?" I asked.

"That's what my wife said," he replied. "She was afraid it might drop off into the water while she was taking a bath."

"Imagine that," I said. By that time, I was frankly at a loss for words.

Destroying insects and groundhogs is a man thing. It's a challenge to their masculinity. Their libido is dependent on the destruction of the offending lifeform.

- Mom and I were sitting in the kitchen this morning watching tiny hummingbirds whir up to our feeder. One was smaller than the rest. Its beak was much shorter than the others.

"Maybe that's just a young one," mom said. "Maybe his beak hasn't grown yet."

Hummingbirds were darting in and away from the feeder at dizzying speed. "If this keeps up, we're going to need an air traffic controller," mom said.

- I was at a friend's house when her 8-year-old daughter started rummaging through the kitchen cupboards. She sighed in exasperation. "If they're gonna treat me like a kid, at least they could leave some junk food around the house," she said.

- I got a news release today about a new chewing gum that increases the performance of your brain. BRAIN GUM, as it was described in the release, cost $59.95 for 144 pieces. The release didn't say how big the pieces are, but for those bucks, they ought to be the size of a yardstick.

BRAIN GUM contains Phosphatidylserine, also known as PS, according to the release. PS is extracted from soybeans. It takes 1,200 soybeans to make one piece of gum, the release said.

I think I'll pass.

(P.S. "Normal aging, stress, drugs and poor nutrition can cause a 50 percent reduction in cognitive ability in healthy adults," the release said.) The release said.

The release said.

The release said.

Uh, I'm sorry. I'm confused.

What did you say the release said?

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