The Top 12 Things I don’t Understand, But Probably Should

It could be that I am just not so bright, but there are some things about life that I just don’t understand. Maybe someone can explain these things to me. Is anyone else confused about these things? 

12. How to get a haircut:

Maybe it’s because I’m not a stylish person, but every time I sit down in the chair and hairdresser asks me something like, “What are we doing today?” I always think: “getting a haircut, obviously.” I never know what to tell them. I mean, this person went to beauty school. They have, like, a degree in making other people look good. I’ve never so much as trimmed someone else’s hair. I once shaved my own head in high school but that is the limit of my abilities. I also am not one of those people that can go into a salon and say something like, “I want something along the lines of 2013 Chris Hemsworth crossed with Heath Ledger… But Heath Ledger from A Knight’s Tale, not The Dark Knight Heath Ledger.” Here’s what I want in a haircut: shorter hair, more sex appeal. I cannot be more specific than that.

11. Americanos:

Here’s my take on ordering an Americano: the barista takes regular coffee beans to make espresso, which concentrates the flavor. Then the barista adds water to dilute it. So, basically, an Americano is an improperly brewed regular coffee that costs two or three times as much as a regular coffee. Also, espresso is actually less caffeinated than regular coffee for two reasons: one, espresso doesn’t brew for a long time, meaning that not as much of the caffeine leeches out. Secondly, two shots of espresso just don’t have the same volume as a cup of regular. So, again, why order an Americano?

10. That remake of the Karate Kid Starring Jaden Smith

In this remake of the iconic 1984 classic, Jaden Smith moves to China. He meets a Chinese man (Jackie Chan), and learns the Chinese art of Kung Fu. So… Why is the movie called The “Karate” Kid? Karate is a Japanese form of martial arts. I looked it up, just to be sure. Wiki and the O.E.D. tell me that in 1372, some forms of Chinese martial arts were introduced to Okinawa. It was later brought over to mainland Japan, formalized, and developed into a unique Japanese style. The name is Japanese and it translates to “empty hand” (Kara, ‘empty’ + te, ‘hand’). One of the biggest criticisms of this 2010 version is that it just remakes the original and doesn’t do anything new. The ONLY thing that was different was that the movie is set in China, not California. So, why not just write it so that he moves to Japan? Or why not change the title to “The Kung Fu Kid.” At least the title would be original.

9. Ripping Off Book and Movie Titles

Speaking of unoriginal titles, let’s talk about how people name books and movies after other books and movies. Authors spend an incredible amount of time writing a story in their own unique voice. And then, when they finally finish their masterpiece, they take a famous title of some other book or movie, change one word, and slap it on their own work. What the hell is that about? After all that effort you couldn’t be bothered to think of a good title? Just for example, there is The Secret Life of Bees. But then there is also, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Secret Life of Words, The Secret Life of Books, The Secret Life of the Brain, and many more. Oh, and then there is this little ditty:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.35.34 AM

8. Metaphors in Pop Songs

Metaphor works by taking two dissimilar things and comparing them so that a resemblance can be found. For example, “The sun is a ball of fire.” Ok, clearly a ball is not the same thing as a star but the metaphor allows us to see similarity in the shape. That’s metaphor. So, when Ke$ha says she “wakes up feeling like P. Diddy,” in order to understand how she feels, I need to know what it feels like to wake up like P. Diddy. As I have never been P. Diddy, nor asked him how he feels when he wakes up, the metaphor is as unclear as a puddle of mud. BAM. Katy Perry is probably the worst at this, which makes for some fun “Katy Perrodies.” Even when they get the metaphor right, it’s often terribly done. I mean, common, Rihanna! “Beautiful like Diamonds in the sky.” You are ripping off “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

7. Music Videos

Speaking of pop music, does anyone else think music videos are usually kind of weird? The videos never seem to have anything to do with the songs themselves. Take for example, this Avril Lavigne music video for Complicated. The song is all about someone who is a completely different person around other people and how frustrating that is… So, why is the video about a bunch of friends running around the mall causing trouble? At no point in the video do any of the hoodlums suddenly change into different people.

6. Regular Budweiser

Why do they even make regular Budweiser? Is there really a taste difference between regular and light? It’s not exactly like you drink Bud for the flavor anyway, so why not just go for the version with fewer calories? When I worked in a restaurant, there was this one guy that would come in every Sunday and order one or two regular Buds. I think he was the ONLY person that ever ordered a regular. One time I accidently served him a light; He didn’t even notice. So why not just make a product called Budweiser that just is a light beer?

5. Over Zealous Christopher Columbus Haters

Mention Christopher Columbus in public, and it’s an invitation for everyone to throw rocks at you and give you stern history lesson. Columbus committed genocide! They will say. We shouldn’t even CELEBRATE Columbus Day! They guy didn’t “discover” anything.” Do I think Columbus was a good guy? No. But do I think he was solely responsible for everything bad that ever happened to the native populations of the “New World?” God no! I think people aren’t really clear about his actual role in history and they also forget that many of the things he did were, at that time, completely normal. That’s not to say they were moral, but I think it’s difficult to pass judgment using 21st century standards. It’s also really easy to point the finger at a historical figure from 500 years ago and say, “that guy did bad things,” like we are all saints in the modern day.

4. Bar Hopping

It’s just a lot of work. Most of the night is usually spent arguing about where to go next and texting people telling them where to meet up. Just find ONE bar that you like or have a regular place. Why go to 8 bars in one night, spend money at each one of them, and then not stay long enough to have any fun?

3. Budget Motels 

Budget motels are the worst. A Motel 6 should never be more than, say, $49.99 a night. The other day I was in Boise, Idaho. I just wanted a bed to sleep in for a few hours. I found a Super 8 but the whole building was under construction; I didn’t even think it was open for business. And the price of a room for one night: $69.99 before tax, in BOISE of all the fancy places in the world.

2. People who don’t have manners

I just have to believe that at some point in everyone’s lives, they learned the basics of being polite. And I don’t just mean when someone passes you the ketchup at the dinner table. For example, I’ve emailed random professors at Universities to ask them questions about graduate programs. I know they have better things to do and they don’t even know me, so when they answer my questions I always follow up with a short note to thank them. I’ve also been on the other end of it—sometimes strangers or people I don’t know very well email me for advice. After I take the time to write a thoughtful response, I don’t get any kind of acknowledgement. It’s not just about flattering my ego (although I have better things to do, thank you very much!); sometimes I literally don’t know if my message got through or ended up in the spam mailbox. I don’t know if I correctly answered the question or if it was helpful.

1. Why you can put anything into any Drink

One of my favorite Portland traditions is to go to Bartini on Monday nights because they have half-priced frilly cocktails. It’s not the sort of place I’d normally go, nor the kind of drink I’d usually order, but it’s fun and I can’t argue with the price. But when I order some sort of fruity concoction, I always feel like a bit of a fraud. A martini is gin (or vodka) mixed with vermouth. It can be garnished with an olive or a twist of lemon. It has TWO ingredients. If it doesn’t have them, it’s not a martini. All martinis are cocktails, but not all cocktails are martinis. You shouldn’t be able to drink a papaya and rum martini. You just shouldn’t! Call it something else. These issues keep me awake at night.



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