A scene from a marriagePublished 11:08am Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Column: Tales from Exit 22
I told my wife that women talk more than men do. I showed her a study that found that men use about 10,000 words per day while women use roughly 20,000 words per day.
My bride mulled over that information and said, “Women have to use twice as many words as men. That’s because they have to repeat everything they say to a man.”
I ordered the special and drifted off into a pleasant state of salivation as I waited for the meal to arrive. The waitress returned with bad news. They were out of the special. I was Charlie Brown about to kick the football. She was Lucy, pulling the football away at the last moment. She recommended another meal. The replacement food was divine and I enjoyed epicurean delights of the utmost degree while other diners talked on cell phones. Jimmy Fallon said, “A new study found that the average child is more likely to own a cell phone than a book. I guess that would explain why he’s average.” I am a cell phone user and a book lover. A woman in the booth adjacent mine was talking on her cell phone when it slipped from her hands, fell into her coffee cup, and dumped the hot beverage into her purse. I felt sorry for her, even after I heard her exclaim, “Oh, no! Not again!”
I remember my senior prom like it was a long time ago.
I don’t remember what the theme was. I think it involved a plucked ostrich, black licorice and dynamite, but I’m not sure. The band was Wilford Brimley and the Impenetrable Mustaches. I shuffle-danced to the music with my lovely date, trying to be cool without knowing how. It was the end and it was the beginning.
I want patience and I want it now
I wanted things I didn’t have. That was because I didn’t always want the things I had. Bertrand Russell wrote, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”
We were without things, but we had plastic silverware. We had the good plastic silverware when I was a boy. It came with take-home dinners and my mother thought the plastic utensils too good to throw away. She washed and reused them until better silverware appeared. She had perfected deferred gratification.
Walter Mischel is a psychologist who offered a marshmallow to each of a group of preschoolers. If a child could resist eating the marshmallow, he or she was given two marshmallows instead of one. Mischel discovered a correlation between the marshmallow experiment and the children’s future achievements. A child who waited for the second marshmallow was more successful in school and career.
I’m going to wait for the second marshmallow and eat it with the good plastic silverware.
The fellow told me that he puts sugar in his coffee but he doesn’t stir the mixture. He likes the sweetness at the end. He said that sugary concoction helped him run the marathon that he started.
“Started?” I asked.
“I ran for a couple of miles and I found myself securely in last place,” he said. “The guy just ahead of me was taunting me. Saying things like, ‘How does it feel to be last?’ I let him know. I dropped out.”
A traveling man
My wife and I visited Israel. Israel is not much larger than New Jersey, our fifth smallest state. We stayed in Jerusalem. Each morning, I wandered outside and found the newspaper vendor. I wanted a newspaper to read with my breakfast. The vendor was an 80-year-old fellow with 12 children. He sold various newspapers that were arranged on the sidewalk, each stack held in place by a large rock. Before I purchased my International Herald Tribune, the man lifted me off the ground to show me what a diet based on falafel could do. He claimed that chickpeas made muscles as if no other food was capable of doing.
He told me that he wanted to visit the United States. He wanted to spend a week in this country and visit my home in Minnesota, the Grand Canyon, Alaska, Yellowstone, Disney World, Hollywood, Yankee Stadium, etc. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he couldn’t see all that he wanted to see even if he was Superman.
He told me that when he comes to Minnesota, he would deliver my newspaper.
Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.