When I Take My Sugar To Tea

In my most recent Saturday Evening Post column, I made the observation that most things are improved when you cover them with sugar. But I wasn’t talking about eyes.

This weekend I was making a cup of tea, as I do around a half dozen times a day, when I noticed some sugar on top of the plastic bottle. As I’ve done many times before I quickly blew on it to get the sugar off of it, but this time the sugar, instead of falling away from me, went directly into my eye. It was one of those sugar-related eye injuries you keep hearing about but never think will ever happen to you.

I rinsed my eye out and it’s not red and doesn’t hurt, though it doesn’t quite feel 100% yet. I’m going a few days without a contact lens in that eye to see how it is then (I actually have great vision even if I wear just my left lens – I’m like the Six Million Dollar Man that way). In the future I’ll be more careful with my sugar-dispersing activities. Or maybe I’ll just switch to packets.

The next issue of The Letter is coming next week. Funny how you get busy with other things and then you realize there’s something you haven’t done in four months.

Winter, Still

This isn’t fake news. We’re getting a major snowstorm tomorrow.

We might even see the biggest snow totals of the year, possibly 12 inches of snowflakes (they might even be 12 inches of liberal snowflakes, but that’s a conservative estimate). The name of this storm, by the way, is “Stella,” because we give snowstorms names now, apparently.

I was supposed to have jury duty, but they’ve canceled it. Governor says to stay off the roads.

We can get into a seasonal mindset rather quickly. Because of warm temps a couple of weeks ago and the lack of snow on the ground and the fact that we put our clocks ahead an hour this weekend, I was mentally prepared for spring. Now I have to go back to February “do I have enough rock salt?” mode. But I have plenty of that, along with tea and candles –  and I haven’t put away the flannel shirts yet – so I’m all set.

It’s comfort food weather, and my forecast calls for periods of pasta, with a 100% chance of pie.

Humans

Humans aren’t built to experience things at the speed of social media and 24-hour news. They not only overwhelm us they infect the way that we think about things, how we react, how we anticipate, even what we come to expect from one another.

So

(This is a rewrite of a post I did in 2013. I have to post it again after seeing the dolt – a beautiful dolt but a dolt nonetheless – that did it twice in the span of about 20 seconds tonight on Jeopardy.)

Somewhere along the line, while we weren’t looking, they changed our language.

We see the obvious culprits, the people who have ripped apart sentences and words and maybe even basic communication itself by doing nothing but text all day long (because they would rather use their phone for any other purpose than to actually talk to someone), completely forgetting about capitalization or basic punctuation, reducing everything to an LOL, a BRB, a “U” instead of you (because it’s too much trouble to type those two extra characters), tortured abbreviations, and maybe a 🙂 (emoticons have taken the place of emotion). We’ve seen the word “the” taken away from us. Suddenly everyone is saying “prom” instead of “the prom” and “hospital” instead of “going to the hospital,” like we’ve all suddenly become British (I’ll have some bangers and mash, and put them in the boot, please!). And we have the truly bizarre habit of using the word “so” to start a sentence, which can be fine if used correctly, but not when you’re simply answering someone’s question. Some quick examples:

Interviewer: “Where were you born?”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So I was born in New Jersey…”

Interviewer: “Tell us about your new app.”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So what this app does is…”

Interviewer: “Do you like pecan pie?”

Hip Entrepreneur: “So the first time I had pecan pie…”

Was there anyone who was the subject of an interview before the 2000s who answered questions like this? Of course not. When people were asked “What do you do for a living?” the answer would have been “I’m a writer,” not “So I’m a writer and I write about…” It’s really the weirdest thing in the world. It’s happening all the time now. You might not even hear it at first but once you do, it becomes very noticeable. It’s a verbal tic that tech and business people, most in their 20s and 30s (I first noticed it with Mark Zuckerberg years ago) but sometimes older, have adopted. Or maybe it’s not even a verbal tic. Maybe it’s actually the way people think you’re supposed to talk. I’d rather people say “um” at the start of a sentence. At least that’s a sound and they’re not inserting an actual word where one isn’t needed.

Communication is weird now. If we’re not starting sentences with the word “so” for no reason, we’re keeping our phones next to us while we eat dinner, getting irritated if people use periods when they text., or we think that people are wasting our time when they take the time to say “thank you.” If this is “progress” I don’t want any part of it.

Keep an ear out for it. You’ll be amazed how often you hear it. It might even start to bug the hell out of you because you’re noticing it and for that I apology in advance.

 

Wisdom

toothachegum1Toothaches are bad.

I know, I know, what a profound observation. To clarify: I hate tooth pain more than pain in other areas of my body. A sprained ankle or a bruised arm or a cut finger, while certainly irritating, can be dealt with. You stay off your feet for the day or you don’t use the arm as much or you put on a Band-Aid. But a toothache is one of those things you just can’t get to. You can’t “stay off your teeth.” The pain shoots up and gives you a headache, and you have to eat and drink liquid on the other side of your mouth, which never quite works because food and drink inevitably wander over to the side where you tooth is hurting you. Your days and nights involve a rotation of Advil and Anbesol and probably some other cures that being with “a” and you wait to see if the pain goes away because it’s “one of those things,” and then you realize the pain isn’t going to go away and you have to call the dentist.

Having said all that, I have a terrific dentist who saw me on short notice. He said it wasn’t too bad and gave me some antibiotics (“a”). Everything should be fine (until the next time it hurts – it needs to come out at some point). It feels a lot better than it did a few days ago, that’s for sure.

By the way, “wisdom teeth” should really be called something else.