by the way...

Maybe we’ll get some answers in the New Year


Here are some questions I’ll ponder while sitting around the fireplace this January. I’m sure you have your own list.

Why is it that, when I buy a new, “efficient” scale it doesn’t help me lose weight more efficiently?

Why is it that, when I buy a can of “Oak Color” to paint my kitchen cabinets it looks like, as one friend told me, “baby diarrhea?” Does that suggest that my oak floors look like baby diarrhea?

Why is it that my kids require Blackberries? If the Blackberry people had decided to call them “Rutabagas,” the whole concept would have flopped Rutabagas are not sexy. I can’t imagine people saying, “Hey, gimme a call on your Rutabaga.”

Why is it that I’ve told 200 students in my memoir classes to carry pens when they are out and about, to write down story ideas, yet I never have them in my own handbag? And why did Mother not allow us to say “purse?” or “pocketbook?” We had to say “handbag.”

Why is it that, when I can’t make it to Yappy Hour at the Dog Park four Saturdays in a row, on the fifth Saturday when I CAN go, it’s pouring dogs and dogs?

Why is it that the minute I figure out how to use any techno-product , a camera, printer, or iPhone, a newer, “easier to use” model comes out? Except that it isn’t.

Why is it that, when I want to find one single, measly business card in my handbag, not purse, I can’t find any, yet my desk drawer is overrun with the things?

Why is it that, when my grandkids and l draw Christmas trees mine look no more creative than when I was eight years old? And their trees could be on the cover of an art magazine? (Well, I’m a grandmother. Indulge me.)

Why is it that phone companies find it amusing to invent brilliant fancy phones? Is it just to make us feel dumb? Lately I have completely forgotten the code to retrieve messages from my home phone.

Why is it that the receipts I am most careful to save for tax purposes are ones I don’t need?

Why is it that a friend will offer me one totally irresistible, freshly baked, hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie when I’ve been on a diet for 72 hours?

Why is it that a week before I fly up to see my grandkids, my back goes out and they catch me walking around doubled over, when I want them to see me as spry?

Why is it that those numbers on the bottom of containers are so infinitesimal? Hey, guys out there in Product Land: if you want us to recycle correctly make the figures bigger.

Why is it that, when I see the hazardous waste dump is open, I only have one lousy double A battery to recycle?

Why is it that when there was talk of “PAY TV” everyone was horrified, and now we don’t give it a second thought?

Why is it that every year four phone books are delivered at our curb from four different companies. One book is PLENTY, folks. Three of them go into the recycle bin.

Why is it that journalists say, “How are you feeling?” to people who have lost a loved one. Or stare into the eyes of someone near death after a 7.0 earthquake and say, “Are you doing OK?” Or look at a person’s demolished home, ruined in a mudslide and ask, “How does this make you feel?” There ought to be better phrases for times like these.

May all your questions and mine be answered one of these years.