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Country Roads: Still curious after all these years

Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com
Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com

Children go through a stage when they can ask questions non-stop for hours. Where do babies come from, Daddy? Why is that man so fat? How do cows make milk? What’s my belly button for? If men don’t get breasts why do boys have these things? It’s a wonderful time in the life of children but after an hour or two of constant probing, it can get old for parents.

Lamentably, many kids stop asking questions as they grow older. In some cases they get the answers to their questions in school and college. Others watch television until their minds turn to mush and they lose all sense of curiosity. I have a problem – I didn’t learn all the answers in school and I don’t watch all that much television. Now in what some folks insist are my senior years, I’m still plagued with curiosity. Some years ago I saw a hat with an inscription which read, “ I may have to get older but I refuse to grow up.” That may be my problem; I’ve never completely grown up and I have retained my juvenile curiosity. This theory would answer a lot of questions for my family. Oh, I understand where babies come from and I’ve learned (first hand) why some people are, shall we say, plump. I know now how cows make milk and why I have a navel. But, doggone it, I still don’t understand why men have nipples. Do you ever wonder about such things? Why do we have to quit asking just because we’re adults? There’s a bunch of stuff I’d like to know. For instance, why do we say that days break and that nights fall? Or, why do we say “ back and forth” when we actually go forth and back? Do they have coffee breaks at tea companies? Or at soft drink plants? How is it that eight ounces of ice cream can make you gain two pounds of weight? And where does weight go when you lose it? If a bride wears white for happiness why does the groom often wear black? In the same vein, if all brides are beautiful, where do unattractive married women come from? If a man born in Poland is called a Pole, why isn’t a man born in Holland called a Hole? Why is it you can call your honey a kitten but not a cat, a chick but not a hen and a vision but not a sight? Why do we say “hello” when we answer the phone? What do people in China call their good plates?

Why does mineral water that has “trickled through mountains for centuries” go out of date next year? If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy? I’ve purchased meat at a meat market and fruit at a fruit market; so why do we shop for junk at a flea market and vegetables at a farmers market? If it takes an apple a day to keep the doctor away, what does it take to keep the nurse away? Is it impolite to tell a city person eating an omelet where eggs come from? If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have so many branches? What do you send to a sick florist?

Why is an electrical outlet called an outlet when you plug things into it? Shouldn’t it be called an inlet. Why is it that when men begin losing hair from the top of their head it begins growing out of their ears and noses?

If swimming is such good exercise, how come whales are so fat?

Where does a nudist put his key after he locks his car? If the world is getting smaller, why do they keep raising the postal rates? And if it is a small world, why does it cost so much to keep it going? Why don’t we call pick pockets pocketpickers? How can you travel to the four corners of the earth when the earth is round? It makes cold water hot so why do we call it a hot water heater? Surely you’ve had a bizarre question or two since you were a kid. Go ahead and ask. People may look at you strangely and you may not get invited to the neighborhood picnic this summer, but you’ve exercised your right not to grow up and to keep on learning. Speaking of growing up, why do our ears and nose keep growing as we get older? No big deal; I’d just like to know.

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