Where did the socks go (and other mysteries of life)

Categorized as 09/28/09 Goshen News column

How on earth do I do it? It never fails. Ever.

It happened again just the other week. There I was, trolling the aisle at the supermarket, looking for the shortest checkout line. Finding what appeared to be it, I motioned excitedly to Mr. Schrock who darted in ahead of me with the cart. There we stood like two race cars poised at the starting line of the Brickyard, proverbial engines racing and ready for action.

You guessed it. Nothing happened. Well, actually, something was happening on the other end, but we couldn’t see what it was. It was probably a price check or three, but we stood there, engines slowly shutting down, while people in the lanes on either side passed us like we were standing still. Which, come to think of it, we were.

I believe I’ve actually gone through season changes in the checkout lane. (Was that Santa that just walked by?) Birthdays come and go, and where am I? Still waiting while the clerk price checks the frozen halibut.

It’s an incomprehensible mystery of life. It ranks right up there with who killed Jimmy Hoffa and why I get an odd number of socks from the dryer when I clearly put an even number in. I can’t explain either one.

Actually, I think life is full of mysteries. For instance, I can’t figure out for shootin’ why slow people insist on driving in the fast lane. Don’t they know they’re complicating my life with their puttering? Sure, we both have places to go, things to do, and people to see. It’s just that they’re riding the brakes and I’m riding the other pedal. It would be downright unchristian of me to honk like a madman and make ugly faces, so I’m stuck with fuming and tailgating in as Christian a manner as possible.

Another mystery to me is, if laughter is the best medicine, why don’t you get more of it from the person who should be the expert – your doctor? After all, laughter’s been proven to have all kinds of mental, emotional, and physical benefits. It stimulates the production of endorphins in your brain, for one, and those just flat make you feel good.

Granted, there are certain occasions on which a laugh fest with your physician would not be appropriate. For other garden-variety office visits (including, but not limited to leg amputations, kidney stones, and head colds), however, a couple of good jokes could take your mind off of things.

At the very least, it seems that it would be in a physician’s own best interests to carry a minor in humor along with that major in medicine. For example, if you have a patient that’s squeamish about needles, a really good joke could certainly help. You get ‘em laughing, hit ‘em in the rear bumper with the hypodermic, and it’s over. If they leave chuckling, you’re not as likely to have your own scope or needle used against you, and they’re happy. It’s a win-win.

One mystery that has confounded sports fans from time immemorial is how on earth certain individuals ever make it through ref school. Let me just say here that most of our brothers and sisters in the striped shirts do a fabulous job. We honor you.

It’s just that every once in awhile, you sit through a game and you wonder, “Does that guy have glaucoma? Cataracts? What?”

This is exactly why I could never be a referee. My chances of having a sudden visitation of hawk-like vision are slim to none, and that’s important if you’re going to be one. It must be intimidating to do your job before a crowd of ramped-up spectators armed with beer bottles (pro football) or styrofoam cups (Christian school basketball). Make the wrong call, and suddenly everyone’s an optometrist accusing you of blindness with two detached retinas. This is why 20/20 vision should be a prerequisite for graduation from the University of Reffing.

Another stumper is why a child cannot hear a directive to take the trash out when it’s delivered three feet from his ear canal. This same child, however, can hear the rustle of a candy bar wrapper from two floors below in a dead sleep. It’s confounding.

I once paid a doctor good money to tell me that one of the boys was “mommy deaf.” And here I was afraid we were looking at an undiagnosed ear infection, the little booger.

You know who you are. You owe me for an office visit. Don’t even pretend you can’t hear me, either, because I’m on to you.

See? Right there I could’ve used a hearty dose of humor from our pediatrician. Frankly, it would’ve worked out better for the little “deaf” person, too.

You know, sometimes it behooves us to ponder the mysteries of life. Good can come from it. From now on, I’m shopping for physicians a little differently. I’m going to skip right over all those M.D.s in the yellow pages and look for an M.D., C.L.O.W.N.

And by the way, who did kill Jimmy Hoffa?

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