When you wish, or need, to laugh these days, pick up Pete McCarthy's book McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland.
He's a hoot and three-quarters. You know you are in for some fun while perusing the book's cover: McCarthy tipping his hat, an affable smart ass standing in the doorway of a pub, accompanied by a pug dog and a nun drinking Guinness.
What makes McCarthy a great storyteller is he writes about everyday inexplicable things, like two Americans he meets:
"They looked in reasonable shape; yet the blanket refusal of most Americans to walk anywhere that has a purpose, like a shop or a bar or a castle, remains one of life's enduring mysteries. Put them in expensive jogging clothes, though, with headphones on and silly little weights in their hands, and they are happy to strut up and down main roads in toxic fumes for hours without going anywhere, because it's Exercise. But walk to the shop? 'No way. Not me.'"
That got me thinking about the mysterious things one experiences in life, so I thought of some:
1) Why do people take stuffed animals for rides in their cars? You see them: hundreds of Beanie Babies and little tigers and curly poodles and fuzzy creatures, stuck on the shelf near the back window of a sedan whose driver is talking on a cellphone while driving his or her stuffed animals in his or her car in the fast lane going almost 30 miles an hour, backing up traffic to kingdom come. They should be pulled over and charged with DWI: Driving While Imbecilic.
2) Why do so many people who shop in health food stores look ill? My mother Dottie M. had a saying when she passed a person on the street who looked poorly: "That guy needs a good shot of vitamins." That phrase swims through my head when I shop at a local organic food store for vegetables. Half of the people look grey, washed up, worn out, unable to pick up a stalk of celery without calling for shopper assistance. It's probably because they haven't consumed a decent piece of protein since the Eisenhower Administration.
3) Why was the bow tie ever invented?
4) Why do people think spandex makes them look good? Ichabod Crane would look fat in spandex.
5) Why do people drink diet soda with their french fries? Ichabod Crane would drink a real Coke with his french fries.
And not wear a bow tie.
What's on your list of Life's Enduring Mysteries? Comment, please.