"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand." - Chinese proverb

Monday, June 28, 2010


I have noticed some things throughout my life that bemuse me but at the same time give me a measure of comfort.  For example, when you go into a bathroom, have you ever seen an empty toilet paper roll  (maybe with a few tufts of useless old tissue still clinging to it) mounted on the holder, and a full roll plunked down vertically on top of it?  I've done this myself.  What is so difficult and/or time-consuming about exchanging rolls, throwing out the empty one and putting the full one on the roller?  Sometimes we don't do it, though, do we?  I mean yes, we do it eventually, for the most part, but not always on the first visit.  That new roll sits there freely perched on that empty cardboard tube that is still on the roller.  We're all just too busy, I guess.  Anyway, it does give me some sense of peace that so many people do this.  It's united.  It's our little bathroom rebellion.

And also, the number of people who have a pair of crutches stored somewhere in their basement.  I happened to watch an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" one time where the story line necessitated going down cellar.  Sure enough, there were a pair of crutches hung up or leaned against the wall -- I forget which.  But anyhow, I mentally applauded the Set Director or whoever had been charged with putting them there, because I thought they were a great touch, and then it set me to thinking.  Had Raymond ever hurt himself or had surgery so that crutches had been needed?   I wasn't trying to remember any particular episode; it just occurred to me as if he were a real person.  Raymond on crutches.  (Raymond only, not Debra, they were too big for Debra.)  I have crutches in my cellar -- two pair, in fact.  One pair is actually pretty moldy and should probably be tossed out, but there's nothing STRUCTURALLY wrong with them, and they could be cleaned up.  I can't help but wonder how many people have old crutches stored in their basements and why.  And how many have been used more than once.  If you have crutches in your basement, just for the hell of it, let me know.

Then there are bookmarks.  There is no shortage of bookmarks in the world.  Most book stores and libraries give them out for free, advertising their hours.  They're also sold in book stores; last Christmas we bought my nephew's wife Kris a book about horses (she's crazy for horses) and I picked out this very nice bookmark that had a picture of a horse and a tassel with a little horseshoe charm at the end of it, to accompany the gift.  Not long ago I bought my dad a nice one in a card shop; it's dark green with gold lettering that says "Dad," and a lovely little saying.   I've even been gifted with a metal and plastic bookmark kind of in the shape of an "s" with beaded tassels.  Very cool.  Nevertheless, how many people actually use real bookmarks when they read a book?  Having worked in libraries (four) I can attest to the fact that rarely did we ever come across a bona fide bookmark left accidentally in a return.  Plenty of other things yes.  I myself, in fact, most typically use an old thank-you note or invitation, a sales receipt, a postcard, a sticky note, my shopping list, a piece of cardboard pulled off the top of a box of brownie or cake mix, an appointment card, an advertisement I haven't thrown out yet, an empty envelope, or a folded-up Kleenex (the last one is my father's invention).  I have plenty of bookmarks, but still, this is what I find myself using instead.  And I know I am far from alone.   Why, I wonder?  Are we saving the real bookmarks for really good books? 

One more thing.  Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner.  Maybe you don't have any in your cupboard at the moment (or if it is it's hidden behind the organic brown rice and low-salt all natural vegetable broth) but I would like anyone who has NEVER eaten Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to stand up.  Don't try and make it better for yourself by saying "Yes, I had the one with the little can of cheese, but never the BOXED one."  My mother is a great cook, but she also served us a lot of Kraft Dinner and Hamburger Helper growing up.  We thought it was nifty -- sodium, preservatives, artificial dyes and all.  Every so often I see Kraft Dinner on sale, 99 cents a box.  Do not think I pass this by.  Yes, I buy it.  In fact occasionally I will use it as the base in some recipe someone has concocted that calls for elbow macaroni...a little petrified reconstituted cheese powder never hurts as that little "extra" to throw in there.  I feel guilty, of course.  Not horribly guilty, as even Weight Watchers allows a little (one cup) Kraft Macaroni per day.  Hey, if people weren't eating it Kraft would've stopped making it.  It's sort of like "forgetting" to change the toilet tissue.  Or being too busy to.  Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  It's everybody's Dirty Little Secret.


  1. Really enjoyed this Laurie-- great job! Those objects, things that are useful, that come in handy if there is a second flood or second coming... perhaps toilet paper roll is one small thing we can rebel against, amidst all of the musts and shoulds. I loved what you said about the boxed Kraft dinner. Are you in "Funny Women"-- link there too. I have in the past and it's worth it. xxxj

  2. I love it, Laurie!!!! Your style reminds me of Andy Rooney's......and I LOVE Andy Rooney!!!