Fripperies: Wisdom That’s Fallen Through the Cracks

Fifth Friday footnotes, follow-ups and far-flung fripperies:

• Doesn’t the word “plunge” just make you want to?

• We confuse precision with accuracy. And so we become wronger and wronger by smaller and smaller bits.

• Sheetrock leaves so much dust behind, I wonder if it could be collected and pressed into new sheets.

• We would do well to distinguish between tax breaks and tax-related incentives. The first rewards what’s already being done. The second makes a contemplated activity more attractive.

• Sustainability is not a virtue, not in and of itself. No new mother wants her child to sustain its original body weight. Any virtue belongs to the larger context. Sustainability is a strategy or a benchmark. Doing our part so our species survives on this planet may be virtuous, but sustainable practices are only a means to that end. Think of it as equal rights for unborn generations.

• Nobody is famous before 7 a.m.

• Here’s a tactic you probably haven’t tried. Pick a recurring task that you dread and do it slowly, just once. You may notice aspects of it that you never knew you enjoyed.

• When somebody becomes vegetarian all at once, have they quit cold tofurkey?

• How much longer will engines’ efficacy be measured in “horsepower”?

• We sometimes make choices that promote democracy, but impede civilization. Majority rule is less important than minority rights.

• Rick Santorum doesn’t stand a chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination. Do you know the last time the Republicans offered a presidential candidate with more than two syllables in his last name? (I’ll wait.) Goldwater in 1964. Obama is our first three-syllabled president since Kennedy. The last long-named Republican to win was Eisenhower in 1956 and his was already a household name. Maybe a long name on a lawn sign looks less bold. Or our attention spans have gotten that short.

• Nature abhors a vacuum. It’s not too fond of dust mops either.

• I love how often our weather forecasts are wrong.

• People who use the phrase “as I like to say” probably talk too much.

• When I shop at the TJ Maxx store and then head over to Trader Joe’s on the other side of Coburg Road, I’m tempted to tee-jaywalk.

• Americans think they’re losing weight, but really the elastic on their sweatpants is wearing out.

• Did somebody promise us that “reply all” would cure our loneliness? Because it hasn’t.

• Many book reviews are better written than the books they’re reviewing.

• Our local economy is rooted in tree farmers and liberal arts professors. Both get paid to speculate — wood products and would products. “Let ‘er rip” and “let ‘er ripe.”

• Lake Wobegone’s children are all above average. But ask anyone who’s ever charged a sliding scale admission and you’ll hear the same story. Most Eugeneans consider themselves below average.

• Why aren’t more vegetarians religious? And why aren’t more religious people vegetarians? Can’t we consider our place in creation and see both above and below us?

• Whenever I buy half & half, I feel like somebody is trying to get me to do math.

• If you have nothing good to say, pay closer attention.

• I wonder if “Hunger Games” audiences buy more popcorn.

• If your kitchen sponge gets hard, you’re probably not cleaning your kitchen often enough.

• What some call “thinking out loud” should be called talking. Talking without thinking will soon become talking without (anyone) listening.

• If you understand co-dependency, you probably aren’t.

• Do you ever use any of the power settings on your microwave besides “high”? Me neither.

• People wearing backpacks seldom know how much room they’re taking up.

• I don’t trust men who carry their wallet in their front pocket.

• Sanctimony does more harm to people than sanctity has done good.

• Every morning, I make a list. It helps me get things done. Without it, I feel listless.

• Do you order take-out too often? Count the soy sauce packets in your kitchen and you’ll know.

• Resolutions are second attempts to find solutions.

• Since I bought a fainting couch, I find myself doing much more fainting.

• You can throw away those boxes your new electronics were shipped in a decade ago. Really. It’s OK.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs.