What’s in a Word?

Do you ever lay in bed at night, trying to sleep, and suddenly, your mind decides to reach into its dark, hidden stash of almost-forgotten memories to slap you in the face with the most random shit?  I have to believe this happens to other people (it’s what keeps me sane, so don’t pop that balloon, for all our sake).

And by the way, what the hell is up with these nighttime reveries anyway??  It’s your one time to relax and not think. You’re laying there, feeling the hardships of the day seeping out of your overburdened consciousness, and you’re grateful for the quiet … glad to be away from the noise of it all.  Suddenly, your brain is like, NO! You will NOT sleep … you will instead fixate on that irritating commercial jingle you heard in third grade as it plays over and over in your head. Or how about that stupid thing you did at work five years ago? You know what I’m talking about. In the conference room in front of everyone too. That was fun, huh? Or, why does a round pizza come in a square box? Answer that one, smart guy.  Why is it that if someone yells “duck” they are helping you, but if they yell “chicken” they are mocking you? Have they ever even MET a chicken? Those things will tear you up. Tear. You. Up.  Or the old tried and true, are there birds who are afraid of heights? Poor birds.

So. Yeah.

Anyway, I bring all of this up to let you in on the crap question-of-the-night my brain decided to throw at me last night. Perhaps you’ll relate. Perhaps you’ll have an answer. Perhaps you will be kind enough to soothingly touch my arm (figuratively speaking, of course, since we are on the internet and as far as I know, we can’t actually reach out and touch someone … yet) and say, encouragingly, why, no, Wendy, you are not crazy. Not crazy at all. It will all be all right.

Is the plural of a computer mouse, mouse(s) or mice?  The crux of the problem, the answer to which I unwillingly contemplated for hours, is this: grammatically, saying computer mouses just isn’t right and the grammar-fanatic in me fights back against such misuse. But … saying computer mice … well, in a word, drives me flipping insane. It sounds neither right nor logical … just stupid.

Me at Best Buy: “Excuse me clearly overworked sales clerk, but do you have any computer mice?”  I feel as though such a request would be met with disdain if not outright confusion. Oh, of course they would know what I meant, but wonder in awe at my attempt at being “hip.” (On a side note, do we still say hip?)

It took me longer than it should have (4 hours 32 minutes) to figure out an answer to this late-night grammar puzzle. But solve it, I did. Aren’t you proud?

Simply put, I will never ever be in a situation where I have to use the plural of computer mouses  mice  mouses  mice  mouses … aaarrrgghhh!

Late Night Boogeyman

There was this movie that came out in 1989 called Little Monsters starring child-actor-of-the-decade Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in a career defining role as Maurice, the monster who lives under the bed in a world full of ghouls and goblins. Sort of like a live-action Monsters Inc. In the movie Fred Savage’s character gets taken into this netherworld and learns that those scary spirits under his bed are by and large pretty fun-loving dudes who just want to live their life and have a good time.

Why did this thought come to me? My mind is hard to shut off sometimes and one night when I was attempting (unsuccessfully) to doze off I noticed the light in my bedroom closet had been left on. I didn’t remember leaving it on and couldn’t recall even being in the closet at all that day. It made me think about just how long the light had been burning before I noticed it. And then, as so often happens to me late at night (or any other time if I want to be completely honest), my mind wandered off the rails.

Lying there in bed I thought that maybe it wasn’t me who turned it on. Maybe it was a boogeyman. And if it’s a boogeyman, what if he’s afraid of the dark? What if all these monsters children grow up fearing are simply misunderstood creatures that have been swept under our beds or crammed into our closets because eons ago humans forced out all the boogeymen so we didn’t have to cohabit ? Is it possible that the monsters under our bed are refugees? Did we put them there centuries ago and now they only come out at night when they know we’ll be asleep so they won’t run into the scary humans?  But….they’re afraid of the dark.  So once in a while as the others are huddled around trash-can fires in their ghost world, a few adventurous boogeymen (probably children boogeymen…because I doubt the grown up boogeymen can control their kids at all times any better than we can control ours all the time) step out into a human’s closet and, frightened by the shadows and odd shapes that the clothes and sundry items make on the wall, they turn on the light.  Perhaps they are just misunderstood, much like Maurice and his brood, and we should really just hand them a flashlight instead of screaming at moving shadows.

That would definitely account for why my closet light is on…I mean it makes sense, right?  And if there really is a boogeyman in my closet who is afraid of the dark, who am I to get up and turn the light out on him thereby frightening him to death?  So I stayed in my warm, cozy bed, looking at the soft light beaming out from under the closet door and I pondered the various underworld creatures who might benefit from some night-lights and a little empathy.

Yes folks, this is what I think about as I’m trying to pass out after a long day. Maybe instead of worrying about spearheading humanitarian efforts to create a cross-species allegiance between humans and monsters I should just go to Walgreens and buy some Zzzzquil.

Please sir...can you spare a flashlight...??

Please sir…can you spare a flashlight…??

Train Wreck (Or, Are Birds Afraid of Heights?)

If you haven’t been able to tell from the title of this blog, my thoughts can get a little…muddled at times. Science has yet to invent the Perpetual Motion Machine, but the key to that device could be in my brain because it just runs and runs and runs all the time. No matter what the task at hand is, there’s a good chance another 5 to 50 thoughts are flitting through my brain unsupervised at the same time. Not so great when trying to fall asleep but an amazing boon when stuck in a traffic jam.

I should admit here that the things I think about, they’re not strategies to end world hunger, ways to detect tornadoes sooner, or philosophies about human evolution. Normally I’m thinking about fairly trivial things and they tend to click clack along at a pretty fast rate until they ultimately derail into completely irrelevant nonsense.

A perfect example from a week or so ago: as I was headed to a work meeting I got stuck for a while on the bridge leaving the island I live on (because some people just don’t know how to handle rush hour traffic on a bridge and as I’ve mentioned before, too many people have moved to the Eastern shore, making commuting across this bridge a mess) and as I sat there bored waiting for people to just move, I caught sight of the albatrosses, ospreys, and seagulls gliding overhead. I was both impressed with how high in the air some of these birds were (a few were mere dots in the sky) and curious as to why others were flying so low they were in danger of getting hit by cars. And some of them have indeed been hit by cars unfortunately, evidence of which is all too often seen on the bridge.

That led me to the question I spent the next good bit of time pondering: Are birds ever afraid of heights?

My train of thought first assumed that at some point in the history of all bird-dom, somewhere in the whole wide world there must surely be some bird that was born with an innate feeling of fear for gliding so high above the world. I mean, with the sheer number of birds in the world, surely, it’s almost statistically impossible for there not to be one bird that looks out over the lip of his nest and says I don’t know about this, right?

I feel sorry for that bird. His life must suck. And you know that none of the other birds have any sympathy for him whatsoever. It’s like the kid who’s afraid of roller coasters on the class trip to the amusement park. None of his friends are going to stay back with him, buy him a cotton candy, and sympathize with his phobia. No way are this bird’s amigos going to chirp out the problem on the ledge of the skyscraper.

How rough it must’ve been on that first maiden voyage out of the nest!  His parents (ready to migrate to Florida to start their retirement) probably kicked him out of the nest without much ado when he told them he wasn’t quite ready to fly yet. Falling like a squawking rock as he desperately flapped his feeble wings most likely left an indelible impression on him that flying is not what it’s cracked up to be. He was probably scarred forever and now hops everywhere, always the last to show up to any good crumb parties or worm hunts. Poor, poor, pitiful bird. I was really upset and distraught by the whole thing.

Then, the slow ride across the bridge was over and, poof, that detailed, meandering thought of the poor little bird afraid of flying evaporated out of my head to be replaced by another thought. The next one to grab my attention was about the meeting I was headed to and the important points my organization needed to emphasize to the group we were meeting with as well as the items I needed to discuss with my boss separately. Did I put pencils in my satchel!? I hope to goodness I brought pencils! No wait, I’m fine, I already have a pen in my purse. I’m cool, I’m cool.

And hey, I forgot there was a Dunkin Donuts on this road…that switched things up.  Thoughts of whether there will be tea or coffee available at this meeting made a sudden appearance . How I hope it’s coffee because it’s much more low maintenance than tea. Tea’s just a hassle. First you have to open the bag, then make sure you don’t break the string when you pull it out, then time how long it steeps, then find something to fish the bag out with, then where are you going to put the bag after it steeps and when you’re in a meeting that’s just a pain in the behind…and yada yada yada for the rest of the day, the week, the month, the year, the lifetime. Thanks, brain. What would I do with you?