Thank You Ladies, from the Bottom of My (uurrrrp) Heart

BeerIt turns out that all us beer lovers have women to thank.  While the frosty beverage is now considered more the domain of men, back in days of yore, it was quite the opposite.  For thousands of years women were the sole brewers of beer as it was considered a food and thus fell under their purview.  It’s only been over the last 200 years (and more specifically, since the advent of pick-up trucks and football) that beer has been the dominion of men.

In almost all ancient societies, beer was given to mankind by a goddess.  In ancient Sumeria, women with the skill to craft beer were revered and held in the highest social regard.  In Viking society, only women were allowed to brew beer, and the equipment passed with them from mother to daughter.

So any way you look at it, every time you pop-a-top or crack-a-can or tap-a-keg, you should give thanks to women.  Obviously not all of them as that would make having a beer way too time consuming.  Maybe to keep things practical, just that the one who’s closest.  And be extra sincere if she’s the one who brought it to you.  If she brewed it herself?  Marry her.

Better in Heels

Ring GirlThis past weekend found me at yet another swim meet, and like many of them, this one was staffed with parent volunteers.  I was assigned to the Clerk-of-Course, which usually means you get to wrangle the little kids into some organization so they show up to the blocks when they are supposed to swim such that the meet runs smoothly.

Upon arrival I was handed a small whiteboard and a marker.  My job was to announce what events were now being seated so kids and coaches could get the little ones headed to the corral for pre-event organization.  This was to be accomplished by writing the event number on the board, and then parading up and down in front of the stands with the board held high.

It wasn’t very long before the heckling started.  One of the coaches compared me to the boxing ring girls that announce the rounds at a fight… and noted that I should really think about high heels for next time.  Over the next hour, there were several calls of “Hey Vanna!”  and remarks from other coaches and parents about how I might think about a better outfit next time, maybe one with more rhinestones.  Eventually, even some of the older swimmers from our team started piling on.

It was all in good fun, and it did make the time pass a little more quickly.  Still, I ran across this costume that I may have to get just in case I ever get saddled with that job again.  After all, embarrassing my teenage children is well within my job description at this point.

Stylin’ the Garage

When you think about it, the garage door is just a big ol’ flat canvas lookin’ for some love.  Well to the rescue comes and their line of clever garage door tarps.  These are weatherproof flexible coverings you apply to the outside of the door in an effort to confuse and amuse your neighbors.

For instance, if you have a single garage, you can opt to have it seem like you have a fighter jet stuffed in there.

Jet Garage Door

But in my case, I have two single doors on my double garage.  So I’m thinking of going with something a little more confounding.

Dumper in Garage

The Dangers of Pretty Girls

Live Science reports that researchers have determined that being around a pretty woman can make men take more risks.  The study involved 96 men risking face-plants while performing skateboard tricks both with and without attractive women watching.  I could have saved them a lot of time and money.

Back when I was in high school, I was vacationing with my family as we did every summer at a rented lakeside cottage.  There were a whole group of rental cottages there, and the new owners of the colony had a particularly attractive teen daughter.  One afternoon, while a group of us, including her, were looking for something to do, her older brother hatched a plan.  He had a boat and knew of a cool place.  We all bounded for the dock, because when you’re sixteen, that pretty much constitutes a plan.

Cliff DiveHe took us to the river that fed the lake, and then upstream to a dam.  We docked and followed him up an escalating wooded trail leading behind the dam.  After a fashion, we came out on a rocky ledge overlooking the still river below.  It was at least a good 50 feet down to the water.  It was quite a view.  Or at least that was what we were all thinking when her brother ran for the edge and leapt into the abyss.  Seconds later there was a loud splash and lots of joyful screaming to join him.

None of the rest of us had been here before.  We didn’t know the river.  We didn’t know this guy from Adam.  Was it safe to take this plunge?

We were looking furtively back and forth at one another about the time when bikini-clad cute girl who’s name I don’t recall sidle’s up to me, leans in and says, “Aren’t you going to jump?”

At that point my feet went on automatic pilot and launched my testosterone laden self off the edge.  It was only some long time-dilated seconds later as her smile and supple breasts faded from view that my rational brain kicked in and began to contemplate the possible existence of rocks under the calm surface, or shallow spots I would jam my legs on.  But I was rather committed at that point.  Besides, at that age, this seemed a reasonable way to die, with her sweet words still in my ears.

I hit the water straight and clean, and flared to keep the plunge as shallow as possible.  I popped back to the surface with a mile wide grin on my face because girl be damned, that was just frickin’ cool.

I glanced upstream to catch a glimpse of the first jumper who was swimming the couple of hundred yards to where the steep rock walls gave way and you could actually exit the water.  It occurred to me that how to get out was yet one more thing unconsidered beforehand.  But as a lifeguard and competitive distance swimmer, the pending swim was not really an obstacle.

As I was treading water I heard a “Geronimo” call from above as this comely spawn of Homer’s Siren cooed another guy off the cliff.  I backed up a bit to be sure this guy didn’t land on my head.  He hit the water somewhat ungracefully with a loud smack and disappeared below the surface.  Shortly thereafter he came sputtering up and was thrashing in the water.  Instinctively, I dropped into lifeguard mode.  He was pretty calm, so I grabbed him and supported him in the water and asked, “Are you hurt?”

“No,” he says.  “But I don’t really know how to swim.”

The insanity of this rattled about in my brain as I glanced back to where bikini-girl’s brother was clamoring up the rocks in the distance.  At that moment I knew two things for certain.  First, this other guy was way braver or way stupider than I could ever be.  Second, pretty girls are dangerous.

Of Beeps and Babies

BeepThe omnipresent onomatopoeic beep.  The term was first recognized back in 1929, although I’m unsure exactly what beeped back then.  Today, beeps are all around us.  So much so that we customize our beeps so we can tell our beeps from other people’s beeps.

Which brings us to babies.  The cry of a baby is unique in somewhat the same way as a beep.  Not so much in how you configure the noise.  Most children lack setup screens and the ability to accept mp3 formats.  But rather in how you recognize the noise.

If a baby’s cry is heard in a crowd of people, every parent’s brain in the room does a split second analysis to determine whether or not that baby is his or hers.  If it is, the parent immediately seeks the child (note: in the event that both parents are present, the reaction may be to hesitate briefly or glare at the spouse in hopes of the other one fetching the kid).  however, if the cry doesn’t register in your brain as “your kid”, you instead start scanning the room to see whose kid it is.

Beeps are much the same way.  Your brain knows which beeps are yours, and if the beep doesn’t register as your own, you scan the room looking for whose it is.  In the event that no one seems to be grabbing for something that beeps your brain then has a secondary reaction and begins to wonder if maybe it really is yours after all.  This results in everyone now pulling out and placing all manner of gadgetry up to their ears to see if they are making noise. Then shrugging sheepishly and stashing the device back in their pocket or purse.

I guess this is the point where the analogy breaks down, although seeing a room full of people hoisting successive kids up to their ears looking for the noisy one is a comical visualization.