Category Archives: dimwit

Flick My Switch

“Flick My Switch”
I’m kind of dim.To put a finer point on it, I lack a certain natural curiosity. Of course, I want to know what’s for dinner, if Heather Mills is able to dance, and when the next Harry Potter will be released. This type of short-term, self-gratifying curiosity I have in spades.But when it comes to questioning assumptions and doing daily analysis of the things that are right in front of me, I fall short. Indeed, my personality falls into the “what is, just is” school (in contrast to the bigger “what is, well, it might not necessarily be” category). Another way to think of this would be:

If there is a pancake on a plate on the table, my brain reacts with a, “Cool. Pancake on table. Must eat it. Now.”

Other people, however, might have the response of, “How did that pancake get there? More importantly, why is it there? What would be the ramifications of eating it? And is it actually a pancake? It looks like a circular bready foodthing, but for all I know it could be slightly-overcooked lefsa. Or it could be a frisbee. Or mayhap it’s a saucy beret that I might toss into the air, Mary Tyler Moore style. Unless I touch it and smell it, I can’t be sure of its possibilities.”

Luckily, if there’s only one pancake on the table, you can rest assured that I’ve polished it off by the time the deeper thinker gets done sorting through his/her litany of questions. Poor, hungry ponderers. Good thing you have all that food for thought to keep you sated.

The earliest instance of my living-upon-unquestioned-assumptions occurred with my parents. My dad was named Donald, and my mom is Maxine. Until well past the age of 9, I assumed that all moms had names that started with “M,” and all dads had names that started with “D”–so that their job titles corresponded with their first intials. It was the Rule of Parenting. Then I met my friend Margaret’s mother Theresa, and that pesky “T” name made my foundations shake. “Couldn’t you just call her your ‘tom’ instead of your ‘mom’?” I asked.

And it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized, consciously, that the seasons, well, they would just keep spining ’round and ’round. There was one year in particular when I thought, “Look, it’s winter now. ‘Bout this time last year, wasn’t it winter?” Suddenly, feebly, the bulb flickered on. Once I slowed it all down and made some notations on a Post-It note, a pattern emerged: for every year of my life, there had been a spring followed by a summer followed by a fall followed by a winter. I could, therefore, extrapolate that this succession of seasons might continue into future years, as well. This most definitely affected my shopping; realizing that Land’s End was clearancing swimsuits suddenly made much more sense, for there was clearly a chance that summer-like weather might be back the following year, so buying a swimsuit would not just be a fool’s enterprise.

Then there were the revelations that took place once I got married, and my husband moved to the town where I’d been living for more than three years as a singleton. He, with regularity, would head out on an errand or for a run and then come home and, in a single remark, open up a whole new world to me. One day, he walked in and announced, “Hey, you know, that cemetery here in town is a great place to run; it’s well-paved, flat, and away from traffic.” I looked blankly at him and replied, “Cemetery?” “Well, yes, Joce, there’s a cemetery in this town of 23,000 where they bury the deceased, you know. And it’s right off the highway there.” My blank stare remained until he continued, “It’s over by the Shopko.” OOOOHHH, over by the Shopko. Why didn’t he just say so? But who knew there would be a cemetery in my town? I must have been watching coverage of Princess Diana’s death the day the town gave its seminar entitled “Yes, We Bury the Dead ‘Uns Here in Civilization.” At least, harumph, I knew all about the tragically-deceased ex-princess’ burial. I saw her casket and everything, and her self-righteous brother made that island-dealie to inter her on. Maybe if they’d shown live coverage of someone in my town getting buried–over there by the highway–I might have had an inkling about that cemetery business.

Even my long-suffering husband had to sigh loudly when he witnessed, a couple years after CemeteryGate, my discovery that sunflower seeds come from–GET THIS–sunflowers. Until that fateful day, I only knew they were dropped by a stork into the sunflower-seed-packet-patch and, instead of the options of “boy” or “girl,” I could choose between still-in-shell or already-shelled. Or if I were in a town without a packet patch handy, I could head into the Gas ‘N Chug and buy some. I may be dumb, but I can make a convenience store purchase; many of the dumbest people I know make convenience store purchases. However, who knew that these things in the bag weren’t named “sunflower seeds” due to some manufacturer’s whimsy? Who knew that they literally could be shaken out of a sunflower and then either eaten or planted to grow more sunflowers? This a-ha moment took place after we’d grown sunflowers in our yard, when I one day saw a hail of small objects plummet out of some of the huge yellow heads. “My, my,” said I, “but those little things look a whole lot like the sunflower seeds I buy at the store.” Hey. Wait. A. Minute.

Gazed upon through loving eyes, my pockets of ignorance are charming. Blinder-free, though, we can all agree I’s a dimwit.

What, you need further evidence (beyond the fact that I am *still* astonished that Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold’s marriage didn’t last)?
Okay, so last week, I was out for a run, listening to an NPR story about the new baseball stadium that will be built in Minneapolis in a few years. The pundits kept talking about the Minnesota team–you know, The Twins–when suddenly, I skidded to a stop, right there in the gravel. The Twins. Yea, I’d heard that name for years. My brain bulged out of my ears at that moment, though, as it changed shape one more time. How surreal is it that Minneapolis and St. Paul are called The Twin Cities, and then they have this baseball team called The Twins? Could it be…is it possible…that…there’s a correspondence? I always just figured you have to call a team something, so, sure, why not “Twins”? In the world of sports, there’s The Wild–and I’m guessing they’re kind of, um, like that. It’s not as though they live in Wildville or anything. (Do they?) And also, there are The Rangers. Could it be they all work in a national park, and I’m just now figuring that out?
Quite frankly, I could give you more examples of how I blithely trip through my days, but I have to leave now. See, there’s a pancake on the table over there. Must eat. Now.
Patooooooey. Friggin’ beret. Sorry I poured syrup on your hat, lady. But maybe next time don’t leave it sitting there on the table like that.

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Oh, by the way, can anyone explain this to me: every time I click on the button that says “publish” here in Blogger, a bunch of new words shows up on my blog. What’s that all about?