May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

You’re Asking Me: Never Mind Why

I would have to say that one of the most annoying things about having a newspaper advice column, aside from all these people writing to me and asking for advice, is that they frequently don’t tell me WHY they’re asking.

Dear Mordechai,

I need to know some of the benefits of being overweight. Never mind why.

Big-boned

Dear Big,

Yeah, those aren’t easy to find, which is weird, because there are so many of us out there. You’d think we’d all chip in and fund a study.

The truth is that there might be benefits, but none of them are health benefits.

But luckily for you, there was a recent study at NYU that says that people are more likely to survive car accidents these days because we’re bigger around the middle. Apparently, we all come with airbags now. On the other hand, we might be more likely to get into accidents in the first place, because we’re reading studies on our phones. And eating. Also, we tend to drive more.

So now you have something to tell your wife, or whoever else is on your case, so they can say, “Wow. If being overweight makes people safer, you must be invincible!”

Dear Mordechai,

How do I remember which knob is hot and which is cold? Never mind why.

Houseguest

Dear House,

My guess is you’re about to get into the shower. On sinks, we usually remember. But on tubs, especially if we’re reaching in sideways, our coordination gets thrown off. It also doesn’t help that when you first turn on the water, both directions are the same temperature. Then the water gets hotter on its own, after you get in.

So if you don’t remember which side is hot and which is cold, look for a helpful H or C. C stands for “cold,” or possibly “cham.” I never remember. H stands for “hot,” or possibly “Hashem YERACHEM that’s cold!”

Another way to tell is that the cold water tap is traditionally on the right, so that people absent-mindedly turning on the water with their right hand won’t burn themselves. In other words, if you’re a lefty, then good luck. This is why we lefties have shorter life spans.

Of course, there’s always a chance your contractor didn’t know this reason, and put it in backwards.

That said, the best way to tell is to turn it on and try it out the hard way. Then, once you’ve finished shrieking, brave your way back to the tap, sometimes by leaving at the foot of the tub and coming back in at the head, and try to even it out.

“Um… Which direction undoes what I just did?”

Dear Mordechai,

How do I have a conversation in public with someone whose name I don’t remember, nor care to remember? Never mind why.

Social Caterpillar

Dear Whatsisname,

Don’t worry, I don’t think less of you. This happens to me all the time. I’m a Language Arts teacher in my local mesivta, and as such, there are increasingly more people all the time who know me, but I have no clue who they are. I can’t remember hot and cold since the last time I took a shower, I’m going to remember a kid I taught seven years ago who looks nothing like he did then? I look pretty much the same, besides for gaining some extra weight. I’ve kept my part of the bargain. Whereas they are now sprouting all kinds of hair and pimples and various stages of lankiness, such as the one where your head is bigger than your body, and the one where your hands are bigger than your head.

But I run into them at the supermarket, and they’re all, “Hey, Mr. Schmutter!” That’s how I know they used to be my students. No one else calls me “Mr. Schmutter.” If someone knows me from my articles, they usually abortively try calling me “rabbi” first.

So in general, when they say, “Mr. Schmutter!” I say, “Hey, it’s you!” And they’re like “Yeah, it is! How did you know?”

My students aren’t the brightest. I blame me.

And then I take whatever I do know, and I fake it:

“Still in that yeshiva? I figured. Still hate going to class? Wow. Did you ever finish that assignment?”

There’s always one assignment he didn’t finish.

Of course, experts say that in this situation, you should go, “Where are my manners? I haven’t introduced you to this guy,” and then you pull in a friend you’ve brought along for just such purposes. But I can’t bring someone I know every time I go to the supermarket. So I generally just pull a random guy out of the next aisle.

Don’t worry. I’ll figure out his name when he introduces himself.

Have a question for “You’re Asking Me?” I’ll make up a fake name for you. I might as well. I can’t remember your real one.

Never mind why.

By Mordechai Schmutter

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