Archive for Sunday, February 19, 2006

There’s mysteries of life I still don’t understand

February 19, 2006

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I thought by the time my kids gave me grandchildren I would understand all of life's mysteries.

Self-service gas pumps, for example. Who designs these things? How hard would it be to make them identical? Way too hard, apparently. I admit I rarely put gas in the car; my job is to use it up so husband Ray can refill it. But the other day, when I had to pump gas or walk, I chose the former.

I inserted the card in the slot that said "Insert Card." Once ... twice ... three times, after which the machine instructed me to "See the cashier," who suggested I swipe my card's barcode under the scanner. Call me simplistic, but why does the machine have a slot and a scanner if only one works?

The scanner read my card and told me I could proceed to fill my car's tank. All I had to do was select my grade of gasoline and insert the hose in my tank. Problem was, there was a hose for diesel and another for unleaded, but none for mid-grade or premium (which my gas guzzler prefers). I went back to the cashier's window to tell him the pump didn't have premium, and as I was telling him that, I looked at a nearby pump and realized that, by pressing one of three buttons, one hose worked for all three grades. But how, I wonder, can we be sure that all the gas doesn't come out of one big buried container full of cheaper unleaded?

I sheepishly told him, "Never mind," walked back to my car and filled my tank. When I managed to write a check and presented it to the cashier, I happily exclaimed, "I've finally found something I'm good at!"

What really drives me nuts is why each model of the same brand of printer requires a different ink cartridge. Surely the manufacturer can make the same cartridge work in all of its ink-jet printers. For that matter, why can't the same ink cartridge work in every brand? My supply of new ink cartridges for printers long trashed tells me that manufacturers make more money on ink cartridges than they do on printers.

There are many other mysteries of life that confound me. What is it about the KU Relays that attracts rain? Why does a killing frost occur when your prettiest flowers are ready to bloom? How come you can kiss off a white Christmas when you buy your kid a sled?

Why do you have car trouble on your way to do something fun, but never on the way to the dentist? And why does an aching tooth stop hurting the minute you sit down in the dentist's waiting room?

Why can you be traveling in a line of cars, all speeding, and be the only one who is stopped for it? And why is the patrolman all smiles when he hands you the ticket? Shouldn't he be mad that you were breaking the law?

If a dog is man's best friend, what happens when you have two dogs? Which dog do you choose to be your best friend? Is the other dog jealous? Does that make him your enemy, or will he play second fiddle and be content being your next best friend?

Why are some people so mean and spiteful? Beats me! But I've encountered a few people like that in my lifetime, and I can say with certainty that I would rather be their victim than BE them! Walking around in their skins must be very uncomfortable indeed.

Another mystery of life I do not understand - and would change if I could - is why bad things happen to good people. When I had a medical crisis several years ago, my friend Jackie gave me a book that tried to explain why that happens. The chapter I read over and over was titled, "Sometimes There is No Reason." Maybe so, but I think there ought to be. Far too often, Ray has heard me assert, "If I were in control of the world, bad things wouldn't happen to good people."

"I know," Ray usually sighs, "but you'd probably be frying bad people right and left."

Why aren't all financial advisers rich? Why aren't psychics? Shouldn't they know which stock is going to go through the roof? Why do I see so many health professionals huddled outside hospitals, shivering in the cold while smoking cigarettes?

Why does the song claim "Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you"? I don't know about you, but I think the lyricist is bragging. Still, I haven't given up finding and understanding all of life's mysteries. And if I ever do, I promise to let you know.

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