Item: We ate breakfast at Denny’s the other morning with our daughter, Cocoa Bean, and our son-in-law, Skipper. Right off, my wife bumped her head against that low-hanging lamp, and then she knocked over her mug of coffee when reaching for the bowl of creamers. I was Googling on my phone at the time, and when I realized what had happened, I simply peeled open and unrolled, with one hand, the silverware on our side of the table and dropped the paper napkins on the hot liquid to stop and sop up the flow from further dripping into Skipper’s lap. Then I went back to see if there’s a place that will sharpen axes and machetes, which I’ll need for the extensive yard work I have planned for the new house. Our waitress squeegeed the coffee onto a round tray (hey Maestro: Squeegee!) and someone else came out with a mop and bucket. Shortly after that, our waitress brought my wife another mug of coffee, and I asked if Denny’s had ceramic sippy cups. They do not. During the meal, our waitress informed us that someone else, another adult, not a kid, had also spilled a drink. Well, I started thinking that this place needs to better accommodate the elderly, or near-elderly. First, get rid of the low-hanging ceiling lamps. And second, replace those narrow-bottomed, wide-topped mugs with wide-bottomed, narrow-topped mugs. I know they exist; I’ve used them before, mainly in Germany. Such heavy-bottomed vessels are almost spill-proof. Please make our life and yours simpler.
Item: I’ve noticed that food is again a victim of greed. For the first time in at least a couple of decades, I bought a bag (a bag, not a box!) of Cracker Jacks. The popcorn was too big, the caramel coating was too dark, the peanuts were the wrong shape, and the prize was some sort of app I could only get if I scanned the non-toy with my phone. Corn Chex is not as fluffy and it’s crumblier. Hormel’s corned beef hash no longer has texture but is more like soft dog food. And Armor’s potted meat has the consistency of ketchup; after spooning out half for a sandwich and discovering it was unusually watery, I shook the rest of the can and found I could pour it out like the re-homogenized ingredients of Heinz’s best condiments, including mustard. Will this nonsense ever end? Probably not. America is going to hell in a squeeze bottle.
Item: The diameter of the universe is thought to be 93 billion light years. Yet the farthest galaxy we’ve taken a picture of is 13.7 billion, for a probable total of 26.4 looking both ways. Is the difference of 65.6 billion due to some calculation astrophysicists made to account for time? After all, that faraway galaxy didn’t travel at the speed of light, so it’s spent a lot longer getting there. And why can’t light go faster? What’s holding it back?
Item: The sanitation folks will not take a plastic garbage can. You can leave a note on it expressing your desire for them to take the weathered thing full of cracks and holes, but they won’t do it. Nor can you put your old can in the little recycle tub; not only will they not accept it, it looks ridiculous. Nope, you have to take the old cans to the dump yourself.
Item: When I was active duty, I always wished that our annual pay raise was kept secret from the rest of the country. On the very day of the raise, prices in every store, including AAFES, went up, so it made no difference. Now I’m wondering if fifteen dollars an hour becomes minimum wage, what will milk and bread cost?
Item: If it turns out that we don’t build the border wall, can we use the money to get rid of oak and pine trees in Florida? That won’t eliminate all the pollens that make us sneeze, but at least we won’t have that yellow crap on our cars and patio furniture.
Item: Never get close enough to touch your nose to what you’re smelling, especially if it’s a rotten dishrag. The reek is hard to get off of your hands, and it takes up to six hours for nostrils to naturally remove that bitter stench.
Item: It is reported that livestock produces 14.5 percent or more of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions that stoke global warming. Can we add Beano to their feed?