Things I Learned At My Mother’s Knee, Surfing the Net, or Just Made Up
By Jerry Gervase
One of my columnist heroes is the late L. M. Boyd who wrote the delightful “Grab Bag,” a collection of miscellaneous trivial and amusing facts. (Leonardo da Vinci knew how to make the camera; he just didn’t know how to make the film.) This column is an attempt to emulate him:
Here is a list of all the sexes: A. male, B. female. God was pleased when he made man. Then He made woman, which proves even God likes to show off. (Source: The Bible – a search engine that predates Google)
Here is a list of personal pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them. (Source: Oxford English Dictionary). If you think there are more, you’re in a safe place. Stay there. Forever.
Journalistic Integrity: As a writer I always write with the highest principles of journalistic integrity in mind. But buy me a box of See’s chocolate covered peanuts and I’ll cave like a sand castle at high tide.
Words to live by: Kneel in prayer. Stand for the anthem. Sit through sermons in church. (Even a mediocre one will help you.) Fly to her side when you see her across a crowded room (O. Hammerstein II.) Do not go gently into that dark night (Dylan Thomas.) Forgive your enemies but remember their names (JFK). There is no free lunch. Take the trash out as soon as the request to do so is made.
The best thing about memories is they remind us that there is no such thing as a long time ago.
A description of most men: he wasn’t tall and he wasn’t good looking, but then, he wasn’t short and ugly either.
A steak is a steak, but in Texas it’s a patriotic duty.
People talk about starting over but you can’t start over. All you can really do is change direction.
Advice to writers: Don’t worry about writing what can be understood. Worry about writing what can be misunderstood. (Attributed to William Howard Taft and something I learned the hard way.)
Why we need to work: “A peasant must stand a long time on a hillside with his mouth open before a roast duck flies in.” (Originally a Chinese proverb but found in Paul Theroux’s “Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China.”)
Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing.
Things that still amaze me: I can walk into a library and borrow any book for free. The first computer I ever saw took up a room almost as long as a football field, had tape drives bigger then refrigerators, needed controlled temperatures, and had a fraction of the computing power of my iPhone. We protest vehemently industries that pollute our air, yet willingly spend hours sitting in front of computer, television, and movie screens that pollute our minds.
Crossword clue: Five letters: Paleontological Instrument. Answer: flute.
Fifty percent of a banana’s DNA is the same as ours. Perhaps the leader of any society is the top banana.
Happiness: The root word “hap” means luck. We see this etymological root in other words relating to chance occurrence: for instance happenstance, or perhaps. Early societies weren’t very happy. With famine, plague, and war they had a lot to be unhappy about. Happiness was chance, fleeting, and seemed to alight on only a select few in any given society. (Source: “The Hacking of the American Mind” by Robert H. Lustig, MD.)
Something you’ll never understand until you experience it: The pride of being a parent. It is a complex sort of pride as you are proud of the child and proud of yourself for being that child’s parent. (Source: Paul Hudson, Elite Daily)
Artists such as Durer, Leonardo, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt all had a penchant for self-portraiture (40 for Rembrandt.) but artists painting themselves didn’t exist before 1400. It was the proliferation of mirrors that led to that artistic convention. (Source: Steven Johnson “How We Got to Now.”)
There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven. (Source: Dave Barry)
Boy Scouts of America to allow girls to join. Change in Scouting Manual. Best way to start a fire: rub two scouts together.
Reading my column, along with a proper diet, exercise, and eight hours of sleep every night is good for your health. (Mom)
Today you are you. That is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is you-er than you.