Things I Don’t Understand – Part I

A column that’s labeled “Part I” implies there is more that will follow.  I haven’t yet written a “Part II” and I don’t know that I ever will.  I realize, however, that even with a framed diploma from Unadilla High School, I may not be able to cover everything I don’t understand with a single effort.

Kenny Calhoun is one of the few people I know who could cover this subject in a brief manner.  He is reported to have intensely studied the World Book Encyclopedias from letters A through S and to have a general knowledge of letters T through Z.

Man buns are something I don’t understand.  I can appreciate that a pony tail keeps long hair out of your face, and pigtails don’t seem odd on Willie Nelson.  But man buns are beyond me.  I think it’s because they remind me of my paternal grandmother, Mama Joiner, who always wore her hair in a bun.

I may have seen her a few times with her hair down, but I only have one vivid recollection.  I was young, maybe five or six, and I think I was spending the night with her.  She was brushing her hair before going to bed.  It had never occurred to me that her hair was long.  I was intrigued and gave it a few tentative strokes.  It was hard to believe all that flowing gray hair fit into such a neat little bun on the back of her head, a look that seemed perfectly suited for a saintly matron.

The first time I saw a man bun I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I wanted to clasp the fellow’s hand and tell him how much he reminded me of my dear grandmother.  Jane, however, said he might not take it as a compliment.  I’ve learned to listen to her on things like that over the years.

I figured the man had probably answered the challenge of a double-dog dare.  In the late 1950’s at Pinehurst Elementary it was acceptable to ignore a dare or even a double dare.  But no respectable third grade boy walked away from a double-dog dare.  That may not be why the fellow was wearing his hair in a bun, but it’s the only explanation that makes any sense to me.

Lately I’ve been seeing professional athletes on television with man buns.  I discounted a European soccer player but had to take note of a born-in-America wrestler wearing a championship belt.  I discreetly smothered a snicker.  We had just bought a new TV and I don’t know if it’s interactive or not.  It wasn’t worth taking a chance.

Sumo wrestling is another thing I don’t understand.  My theory is that somebody lost a bet.  Why else would two big guys dress in diapers and run into one another on purpose?  I believe someone lost a wager but was then surprised to find that people would pay to see them.  I guess it’s an honest way to make a living, but it seems like they should at least wear suspenders.  One of these days the tabs on somebody’s diaper are going to come loose.  I’m predicting there will be people who will repeatedly grimace about how awful it was as they keep hitting the replay button.

Silent letters are something else I don’t understand.  A man named Herb is pronounced like it’s spelled, but an herb in the garden is pronounced erb, which is further complicated grammatically as it’s preceded by “an” instead of “a.”  That doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll admit that I’ve always thought “Herb’s Herbs” would be a good name for a plant store.

And it’s time we dropped the “o” in opossum or either started using it.  Why was it ever put there?  My guess is that years ago a man came in from the field for supper.  He recognized the smell from the iron pot simmering on the wood stove and said without enthusiasm, “Oh. Possum.”

I should have talked to Kenny before I wrote this column.  He probably understands silent letters and Sumo wrestling.  I don’t think man buns were in the encyclopedia back when he read them.  Somehow the women of my grandmother’s generation unwittingly became trendsetters for the men’s hairstyles of today.

I’m sure that Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies had no expectation of the granny to man bun transition.  If Jethro had come home with one, she would have “laid a whuppin’ on him.”  She’s probably shaking her head now and saying, “Jed, I just don’t understand it.”  That goes for me too, Granny.  I don’t think even Kenny Calhoun can explain this one.

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5 Responses to Things I Don’t Understand – Part I

  1. Don Giles says:

    Great comments. My thoughts exactly.


  2. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Love it!


  3. Melanie says:

    I think Jethro would have gotten a whuppin too.
    Enjoyed this column.


  4. Paula says:

    Love it! Thanks for making me laugh after a long day!


  5. Edwin P Carter says:

    Don’t forget the silent P, My first happening with this one was in school, about the seventh grade. The teacher past out a test and the word pneumonia was there and willing to show how observant I was I immediately in formed the teacher she made a mistake and told her that she put a p in front of neumonia,The whole class laughed at my ignorance. Forty years later in the clock line at work I retold this tale and a guy that lived on a farm told all of us he knew another word that had a silent P, the word “Tater”. That’s all that I ever heard of.


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