Freakishly smart people aren’t as smart as less educated people – sometimes.

Albert Einstein in shorts and sandals.
When his swimsuit modeling career failed to launch, Einstein turned to science and math instead.

“Hi! Dr. Phillips, right?” I said recognizing a woman at the grocery self check-out. Growing up with a forgettable name, (and face for that matter) I’ve always been good with remembering other people’s names. I had met Dr. Phillips a couple of months ago at a local event.  She’s a prestigious forensics expert or something.

“Ever notice how really smart people have no common sense?” Dr. Phillips said, apparently in the middle of a conversation with herself.

“I think I read Einstein sometimes forgot to put on his pants. But that could have been fake news.” I said laughing, but inwardly cringing as she put a six pack of Dr. Pepper on top of her bread.

“I’m sure it’s true. Take my husband for instance. He’s a rocket scientist but he has no-” She was saying as she attempted to swipe her driver’s license through the credit card reader.

“That’s your driver’s lice-” I began, but she caught her mistake and began swiping the credit card, upside down at first, before flipping it right.

“So, Dave is really a rocket scientist?” I asked starting to scan my groceries at the next checkout. “I thought that was just a joke.”

“What’s funny about being a rocket scientist?” She asked seriously.

“Well, nothing if you are one. I just thought it was, you know, one of those kinds of jokes where you say you’re something you’re not.”

“That’s not how jokes work.” She said looking at me like I was a complete idiot. “There are rules of comedy. Just like there are rules of science. To laugh is to cry.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that somewhere.” I agreed.

“I read it in your blog.”

“Oh, you read my blog?” I asked, flattered.

“I was told it was going to be funny.” She responded irritably.

“My comedy writing is rather tragic.” I said hoping she would throw me a bone of encouragement.

“You should try ESL stories. Those don’t have to be good.” She suggested instead.

“What were you saying about your husband not having common sense?” I said innocently bringing her back to the original conversation.

“Must not have been important. I try only to remember useful information. Goodbye.” She said taking her receipt and pushing her empty cart towards the exit, her groceries still at the checkout.

I couldn’t believe it.  She didn’t remember what knuckle headed thing her husband had done, but she remembered something I’d written in a blog!  I walked out of the store encouraged that my education as a college drop out had gleaned me common sense and an ability to write memorable content. At least until I got to my car and realized I left my purse at the checkout.

Dad at school crossing with genius son that forgot his shirt, shoes and one sock.
Lord, couldn’t we trade some of that IQ for a little common sense?

Lies and Deception are no Reason to Hate Christmas

I get that the holidays are hard for some people.  Especially for people that have lost loved ones, or are going through illness or divorce.  But I don’t understand why people who have no obvious reason, claim to hate Christmas.

Like my friend Cheryl.  She’s loud and proud about not celebrating Christmas.

“It’s just a holiday created by greedy corporations.” She proclaimed one afternoon while we were baking cookies for school.

“I doubt there were corporate marketers at the birth of Christ.” I said decked out in my Christmas sweater, twinkling light necklace , my face painted to look like Rudolph.

“Who do you think the wise men were?  They came bearing gifts with the expectation you would buy the rest of the stuff in their camel bags.”

“Well, I love Christmas.” I said wistfully.  “The decorating, Christmas movies, caroling. Well, not caroling so much; have you ever heard me sing?  Oh, and we have a tradition that every Christmas we watch Holiday Inn.”

“That’s disgusting.” She said. “I bet you have one of those Elf on a Shelf’s too.”

“We do!” I said excited, then remembered this would probably be the last year of magic.  “It was a lot of fun when the kids were little. But our youngest was so devastated when we told her there was no Easter Bunny, no St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun, no Flag Day Fairy-“

“Flag Day Fairy?” she asked cutting me off.

“Yeah, you know, he goes around putting flags in the ground to honor all the soldiers that don’t have someone to remember them.”

Cheryl stopped her assault on the Christmas tree cookies that had so much frosting they looked like Abominable Snowmen that had molded.

“Where did you grow up?” she asked cautiously.

“I’m an army brat, I grew up all over.”

“That explains it.  Wait, isn’t your daughter like sixteen?  And she still believes –”

“Jiminy Christmas!” I yelled before she could blurt out something about Santa. It worked, but had the added effect of her squirting frosting across the kitchen which landed on my little dog’s head.  Fortunately, my big dog quickly lick his head like an ice cream cone.

“She’s fifteen. And we’re going to tell her right after Christmas.” I whispered.   “Next year.” Cheryl started to say something, but instead switched to putting mouths on the Santa cookies.

I assume she intended to make them look like they were saying “ho ho ho” but they looked more like Mrs. Clause and the Surprise Emoji had a baby.

Baby It’s Cold Outside came on the radio sending Cheryl into another Christmas fit.

“There’s a song that should be outlawed.”

“It’s cute.” I said defensively.

“Have you ever listened to the words?”

We stopped talking and listened to the song a moment.

So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)                  
The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)

“The guy’s a letch!  She’s trying to leave and he’s slipping drugs into her drink!”

“What? No!” I said, but remembered my kids had said the same thing since they were in preschool.  How could I have missed that growing up?

For the next fifteen minutes we worked absorbed in our own thoughts. Cheryl probably worrying about my rose colored glasses when it comes to Christmas.  For me, I realized Cheryl must have suffered some traumatic Christmas experience like Neil in “The Santa Claus” who didn’t get his Weenie Whistle when he was three.  What terrible injustice did Cheryl experience that could reverberate well into her forties?

It was going to take some detective work, but I was determined to help turn her into a Christmas lover.  That didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean.

It seems Cheryl had an agenda of her own.  After she left I found our boy and girl Elf on a Shelf embracing each other on top of the Menorah holding each others butts.

 

Mystery Whine and Dine

Two women at a dinner table, one has a bunch of French fries sticking out of her mouth.
Is it rude to talk when your mouth is full, if someone asks you a question, while your mouth is full?

My friend, Carmen got a part time job over the holidays for some extra Christmas cash.

“I thought it would be fun.” She began, and I knew I was in for a whine and dine.  Thankfully, she only had a thirty minute lunch break, so it couldn’t drag on too long.

“The teenagers are the worst, always calling me ma’am.” She continued.

“How disrespectful.” I said sarcastically.

“I know, right?” she responded, missing the sarcasm completely.  “Hey, you remember my son’s third grade teacher?”

“The one who told you she didn’t like your son at Meet the Teacher day?” I asked.

“I can’t believe you remembered that! She-”

“Who could forget that?  Her name was, wait, don’t tell me.  It’s Miller – no, Milner.  Wait, that’s not right. But it does start with an M.”

“L.” she corrected.

“L? Are you sure? I could have sworn it was an ‘m.’”

“It’s-“

“No!  Don’t tell me. I know this.” I continued, trying to solve the mystery. “Lester. Little. Lemer. Lettuce.”

“Shay.” She cut in.

“No! I got this! Lor –i-ta-nem.” I said sounding out possibilities.

Carmen rolled her eyes.

“Okay, give me a hint.  But don’t tell me.” I said to appease her.

“It rhymes with ‘cotton.’”

“Cotton?  Are you sure we’re talking about the same person?” I asked doubtfully.

“Yes!  Mrs.  Lau-”

“Don’t say it!” I yelled, covering my ears so I wouldn’t hear. “La-la-la-la.”

“What are you doing?”  she asked trying to hide her face as other people in the deli looked over at us.

“Just give me a second.” I said, taking my hands from my ears confident she wasn’t going to give away the answer.  “Okay, what do we know?  It was your son’s third grade teacher.  She told you she didn’t like him.  And, her name starts with the letter ‘L.’”

Carmen said nothing and shoved half a drumstick in her mouth.  Which meant she was either annoyed or very hungry.  Another mystery, but I didn’t want to split my focus, so I put it from my mind.

“Oh, AND, it rhymes with cotton.  Although, I’m not sure that part is right.” I said, to which Carmen may have rolled her eyes again.  I couldn’t be sure because I was focusing hard on my mind’s eye.  Or is it, “in” my mind’s eye? Ah, curses, another mystery to solve!

“I’ve got it! Larson.” I proudly proclaimed.

“No.”

“Marson? Parson? Tarson?” I fired off as she continued shaking her head and chewing.

“Those don’t even start with an ‘L.’” she pointed out.

“Okay, give me another hint.”

“It sounds like Daughton.” She offered, finishing off her lunch.

“Sounds like Daughton, but begins with an L.” I repeated slowly.

Carmen’s contact must have come out, because she banged her forehead on the table several times looking for it. Which surprisingly enough, worked because they seemed to be in her eyes now.

“I gotta get going.” She said gathering her trash onto the tray.

“Alright.  Just tell me.” I said giving in.

“Laughton.”

“Oh, Mrs. Laughton! Yeah, I remember her. She was so nice.” I said with a smile remembering her craggy old face.

I realized I hadn’t even started eating, but didn’t feel like I should languish since Carmen had to get back to work.  I tossed my hamburger in my purse and shoved most of the fries in my mouth, throwing the rest on her tray of trash.

“Wha’ abow’ her?” I managed to ask, spewing a marginal amount of French fries in the process.

“She just dinged your car in the parking lot.” She said.  “Happy holidays!”

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How to keep your wallet. Keep your friends. And keep your distance.

Cartoon little girl in Sherlock Holmes hat imagining a teenager is an alien, a body builder has a snake, and an old woman has a gun in her purse.
Shay didn’t have imaginary friends, she had imaginary identities of real people.

As a kid, I played make believe a lot. But it often involved people that didn’t know they were playing.  What I mean is, I would watch people and create scenarios of who they really were and what they were doing.  For instance, if I saw a man in a hat and long jacket, I would assume he was a jewel thief.  I would follow him around the mall so I could catch him in the act.

I never caught a crook, but I did become tuned into body language.  I even took an on-line course on body language.  It wasn’t so much a course as it was a blog.  But, it was pretty fascinating.   Here are a few things I deduced which you might want to think about.

The handshake:

  1. Limp – a) afraid of you, b) don’t like you or c) don’t like themselves;
  2. Firm – a) confident, b) friendly, glad to see/meet you c) may even think you’re hot;
  3. Painful – a) domineering, b) desire to destroy you, or c) overcompensating for something.

The hug:

  1. firm – love and affection;
  2. groping – pervert;
  3. loose – same as limp handshake, or your deodorant isn’t working.

The Eye Contact :

  1. Normal Human– Makes appropriate amount of eye contact;
  2. Serial Killer – Never looks away or blinks;
  3. Liar – won’t make eye contact at all;
  4. Pervert – looks at you – but not in the eye;
  5. And the most confusing one:  rapid blinking often combined with open mouth emitting no sound, which means they have an eyelash in their eye.

These are just the basics.  The most important things to be wary of when people watching are: fidgety people ready to pick your pocket; people clutching their stomach ready to puke; and the random naked person.