Tall folks have a big head up on happiness

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“Your bill shows ‘Miscellaneous.’ Nothing is itemized.”

“That’s because if I take the time to itemize things, your bill would be higher.”

“My bill is too high now.”

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“Miscellaneous doesn’t come cheap.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors–both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: “I don’t know” might be the wisest thing I’ve ever said.

Things I’ve learned

1. To keep the dream alive, hit the snooze button.

2. To ask directions only when I know where I’m going. That way I know if I’m getting good directions.

3. To lose things in places where it would be easy to find them.

Finding fisherman

Dale Hurni of Princeton told me that he when he was a school administrator at Wheaton, he caught two boys who had skipped school to visit a local fishing hotspot. The boys couldn’t imagine how Dale knew where to find them. Dale didn’t tell them that he was playing hooky, too.

A tall drink of water

My brother Donald says that band-aids come in only two sizes — too big and too small. Humans come in many sizes. Not one is too big or too small. I’m a tall fellow. If I should trip while writing this, I’d be halfway to town. People keep asking me if I’m getting taller. I tell them that I am. I consider it quite an accomplishment. Tall is good. I have proof. Using a formula called the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers put together a map of where joy is the highest in America. They were able to describe what the happiest person in the country looks like. This person is a man and he is tall. I did well on those two. This happiest person is an Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business, and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year. Maybe I’m the second happiest.

Spell check

I stopped to get gas. There were a number of large signs advertising the station. The word “road” was a prominent part of that advertising. On one of the professionally lettered signs, the word “road” was spelled “raod.” The big sign was evident to those pumping gas and to those driving by. I’m not averse to making a mistake. I must enjoy making mistakes because I make so many of them. That said, I think if I were a professional sign painter and I had just painted, “RAOD” in giant letters, I would question my job performance. After all, the word wasn’t “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” I don’t think that “road” is a great spelling challenge for most people. President Andrew Jackson might have disagreed with me. He said, “It’s a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.” If spelling is a problem and you are a professional sign painter, a dictionary would be a wise and necessary investment. There are only four letters in “road,” but by misspelling it as “raod,” the painter got half of them wrong. Maybe he’d been on the raod too long.

Nature notes

House sparrows are not natives of this country. Accounts differ, but it appears that Nicholas Pike, Director of the Brooklyn Institute, purchased eight pairs of sparrows from Liverpool, England in 1850. He released them in the spring of the following year. They did not survive. The next year he purchased 25 pairs of sparrows and released them along the East River. Birds were released into Central Park (possibly to control cankerworm infestations in trees), Union Square Park, and Madison Square Park. In 1854 and 1858, the bird was introduced to Portland, Maine, in 1856 or 1857 to Nova Scotia, and in 1858 to Rhode Island. In 1869, 1,000 house sparrows were set free in Philadelphia. The same year, they were released in Galveston. House sparrows were introduced to San Francisco in 1871-1872 and to Salt Lake City in 1873-1874. While thriving in this country, house sparrow populations are declining drastically in England.

A scene from a marriage

I told my wife that women talk more than men do. I showed her a study that found that men use about 10,000 words per day while women use roughly 20,000 words per day.

My bride mulled over that information and said, “Women have to use twice as many words as men. That’s because they have to repeat everything they say to a man.”

“What?” I said.

Meeting adjourned

Compliments pay the greatest interest. Invest in some kind words.