Friday, Jan. 25, 42 A.B.

Cleaning My Fact Trap

I guess it's been quite some time since I've cleaned out my mind's fact trap. Funny how fast once-magical tasks can become chores to avoid, ignore, and forget, isn't it?

I was SO excited when I first adapted our old dryer's lint trap, put it in my head, and it started preventing all those little fires I used to suffer whenever too much useless information got sucked into my consciousness and clogged my vents.  It's really amazing how much a simple fact trap increases my head's ability to dissipate all the excess heat generated by my racing thoughts - when I remember to clean it out regularly, anyway.

The embarrassing smoke that started pouring from my ears at the gynecologist's office this morning was a reminder that I really need to start doing a better job at keeping it clean - or at least carry a bucket of water around with me whenever I go out in public.

No, *I* wasn't the one seeing the gynecologist.  (How goofy of you to think so!)  In point of fact, I'd gone with my wife to keep her company.  Well, until she was called back to the examination room, anyway.  Until I get around to installing a sight filter in my head, there are some places I simply refuse to go.

As it turned out, the waiting room wasn't exactly a safe place, either. My wife had the first appointment of the day, so as I sat waiting for her to get through it I got to hear much of the chit-chat that goes on in a small medical office first thing in the morning.  Within minutes, my fact filter was plugged solid and smoke was pouring from my ears.

Among the facts I found in the course of the autopsy I performed on that plug were these:

----- The main nurse came to work zonked because she'd taken Nyquil at 3 AM (a mere five hours earlier).

-----  At least one doctor in Columbus can't whistle but persists in his attempts to do so anyway.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE TO ANY WORKERS IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION WHO MIGHT BE READING THIS:  These are not the kind of facts likely to make a husband want to encourage his wife to spread her legs for you in the future.

Once I was past those two, I found this wad of additional facts from the same office:

The receptionist has a hot date Feb. 9 in Chicago with a guy she hasn't seen in 6 years.  Seems they reconnected online a few days ago and have been emailing and phoning each other for hours every night since.  It had been a tough decision, but she finally decided to go and see him even though she wasn't sure if he was interested in a relationship or merely wanted to re-establish the close friendship they used to have.  She said he was 30.  "I bet he's married," a female co-worker helpfully opined.  Could be - apparently she never thought to ask even though he apparently cross-examined her about who she was seeing now and whether or not she had kids.  I can only hope she's less careless with my wife's chart than she is with her heart.  And I hope I can think of an excuse to stop by the office and overhear how this all played out come Feb. 11....

Although that wad right there would probably have been enough to clog my fact filter all by itself, I found a few other sticky gray data bits lurking beneath it which hardly helped matters any.  Since my waste can is already overflowing, guess I might as well toss them here....

-----  Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the publication in the New York Times of the first in a series of articles written by Gloria Steinem.  These articles exposed the horrors involved in being a Playboy Bunny.  Gloria Steinem was born in Toledo.  I was born in Toledo.  She was born to a chronically depressed mom.  I was born to a chronically depressed mom.  Her parents divorced.  My parents divorced.  If I ever have a series of articles in the New York TImes, I'm afraid I'll end up utterly unable to tell us apart.

-----  Playboy magazine was originally entitled Stag Party.  The name was changed at the last minute when Stag magazine threatened to sue.  Had Stag not threatened to sue, Gloria Steinem might have had to write about the horrors involved in trying to serve drinks while wearing antlers.

-----  The early editions of Playboy had as their mascot  a cartoon depiction of a male rabbit in a smoking jacket.  According to Michael Sims's book, Darwin's Orchestra, this depiction bears a startling resemblance to one of the ancient Chinese guardian spirits of the day and night.  The spirit called mao wears a kimono and has the head of a rabbit. His ears are usually shown at the same angle as those of the Playboy mascot.  Allegedly, mao watches over the hours between 5 AM and 7 AM.  Readers of Playboy tend to need a lot of watching over prior to dawn.  If both mao and the Playboy mascot ever have articles published in the New York Times, I'm afraid they'll be indistinguishable....

Digging deeper into my fact trap produced a handful of oddities, any one of which might have been the first snowflake of what was destined to become a blizzard of useless information.  Among those oddities:

-----  In humans, males have XY chromosome sets and females have XX sets.  In birds, however, the males have XX sets and the females have XY ones.  No one knows why.  (Maybe it has something to do with the fact that birds are notoriously bad spellers?)

-----  Over 50% of the grades given out at Harvard are A's.

-----  In 1995, a rogue wave more than 100' high broke over the bow of the luxury liner known as the QE 2.

-----  42,000 Americans were granted conscientious objector status during World War II.

-----  A mere 1.4% of the Earth's land surface is home to more than 60% of its land species.

ACK!  It seems that the mere process of reviewing these facts has resulted in their being sucked back into my mind!

Excuse me - I need to go dump a bucket of water on my head before I get any more black soot on my ceiling.


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(©Now by DJ Birtcher while a certain fact [Errol Flynn's son was killed by the North Vietnamese] bangs annoyingly against his intake grate)


a.k.a. Miss Ohio Balderdash 1951

(I think she would have been smiling much bigger if she'd had
a vintage apron to call her own - don't you?  Be honest.)