Ask Marilyn

Marilyn vos Savant writes a column called “Ask Marilyn” that’s been in Parade Magazine since 1986.  Her affiliation with Parade began the same year she was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest intelligence quotient in the universe.

Guinness discontinued publishing the IQ category years ago, so now we can only guess at who the world’s most intelligent person may be.  Dooly County has some strong contenders, but I won’t name any of them for fear they might get the big head.  A smart person with the big head is a bad combination.  Even a wise person with the big head can be problematic.

You don’t have to take my word on that.  You can read about Solomon in the Old Testament.  Scripture tells us he asked God for wisdom and God granted it.  Solomon was given wisdom unlike anyone else.  He did some remarkable things, and he left us with Proverbs, a splendid collection of wise sayings we can profit from.

Yet with all that wisdom Solomon accumulated 700 wives and 300 concubines.  It seems like even for a wealthy king seven would have been plenty.  That’s a wife for every day of the week, or maybe allow him a few spares in case of headaches.  His staff was probably overwhelmed keeping up with birthdays and anniversaries.  God gave Solomon wisdom, but He left it up to Solomon to use it.  Free will is a wonderful gift, but it sure is hard not to abuse.

I hope Guinness will resume publishing the IQ data and supplement it with a reliable assessment for wisdom.  Perhaps they could merge the scores and list the top 1000 who are American citizens.  It’s a long shot, but maybe one day we could convince someone in that group to run for President.

Readers submit all sorts of questions to Marilyn.  A few times I’ve thought she was wrong, but I’m smart enough not to argue with her.  I’m gradually learning that avoiding arguments is a good practice in many areas of life.  That reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with my good friend and cousin, Roy Noble.

I don’t recall how the subject of spousal disagreements came up, but Roy told me he and his wife, Ann, had never had an argument.  Roy is easy going and Ann was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known, yet I found it hard to believe they had never argued.  I saw Ann a few days later and shared my skepticism with her.

She surprised me by quickly affirming what Roy had said, then offered some enlightenment.  With a smile so warm it would melt the polar caps, Ann said, “I’ve tried to argue with him at times, but Roy would get in his truck and drive off.”  We shared a moment of laughter, and I realized later I had been offered a valuable lesson.  My record since then is admittedly imperfect, but that memory of Ann helps remind me there are times I should not speak too hastily.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to get in my truck.

I’ve sent a few questions to Marilyn over the years without getting a response.  The only thing I can figure is the problems I presented were too challenging.  On February 9, 2020, she finally came through.  My old pal Bubba Collins let me know I was mentioned in her column.  Now I can quit spending sleepless nights wondering why flannel sheets feel so much warmer than percale.

Marilyn explained that flannel is warmer because tiny air pockets inside the loosely woven threads help capture our body heat.  If the fibers are brushed that also affects the sensation.  That makes sense for during the night, but that’s not what I wanted to know.  It seems to me that when I first touch a flannel cotton sheet it should feel the same temperature as our cotton pillowcases with a percale weave.  The flannel, however, seems warmer, as I’m sure anyone who is still awake this far into the column will agree.

I considered calling Marilyn to complain that she didn’t answer my question satisfactorily, but then I had a better idea.  I got in my truck.  On a slow drive down a dirt road I thought about how good it feels to have flannel in the winter, percale in the summer, and one wife for all four seasons.  I don’t have to ask Marilyn to know that’s a blessing.  And I’m almost positive King Solomon would agree.

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8 Responses to Ask Marilyn

  1. Michael Chason says:

    Well done!!

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  2. Judy says:

    Wow! This one is cracking me up this morning. What a way to start off a day reading your column.
    Keep it up!


  3. Janice Bryant says:

    So Lovely about Roy and Ann.  She truly was a role model.  LB


  4. Cynthia Couch says:

    Enjoyed your mention of Roy and Ann Noble. She was my fifth grade teacher, whom I loved.
    Neil, what wisdom the good LORD has given you, you have applied well to your life!


  5. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    You did it again! What an entertaining article!


  6. Don Giles says:

    Good one Neil and here are two personal observations. I don’t think I’d do well on the IQ test. I had to look up percale and I don’t have a pickup but I do have a barn. God Bless


  7. Jane Griggs says:

    You are a wise man Neal!! Sure do enjoy your columns. Stay well!


  8. George Rosen says:

    i I enjoy your column, my question, when the humidity is high, & I must squeegee the windows, why is it sometimes the North side is soaked,the South … nothing, same with East or West?


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