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by Rose Madeline Mula

No wonder I’m an insomniac. How can I get to sleep when I keep trying to solve life’s little puzzles — like…

How come the label on my sleeping pills warns, “May cause drowsiness”? Isn’t that the point? Conversely, why is my anti-vertigo medication marked, “May cause dizziness”?

How come when people say, “To make a long story short …” they never do? And invariably when they utter the phrase, “Needless to say …” they say it anyway.

How come guests never use guest hand towels, even when they’re prominently displayed by the bathroom sink? Have you ever noticed that after a dinner party or an afternoon of Scrabble, even though several people have visited the lavatory from time to time, not one of the guest towels has been disturbed. They’re still in place, pristinely folded and unrumpled. I’m giving my friends the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they do wash their hands; but apparently they dry them on the face or bath towels on the racks, on the seat of their pants, or possibly a piece of toilet tissue. Do they think I put the guest towels out for some more important visitors I’m expecting later?

And why do we decorate our bathrooms with seashells? Is the water flowing from our faucets somehow connected to the ocean? I myself live only twenty miles from the Atlantic, so maybe the shells in my bathroom aren’t so incongruous; but I’m willing to bet that if you go into almost any bathroom in a home in, say, Kansas City, you’ll also find a conch shell or two which you can hold to your ear and listen for the sound of the surf, even though the only waves for hundreds of miles are of amber-colored grain.

Another conundrum that keeps me awake is what happens to the mattresses people return if they’re not satisfied with them after a 30-day free trial? Some of them cost several thousand dollars. Am I to believe they are destroyed and not simply recycled? If you ask me, Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear were pretty astute when they observed, "Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Did someone snooze (or worse!) in mine before me? Hand me that Lysol spray, please.

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, how can out of sight be out of mind?

And if God will provide, how come He helps only those who help themselves?

More important, why does my computer crash only when I’m behind deadline on an important project and not when I’m playing solitaire — especially since I spend much more time playing games than working.

And can wine connoisseurs really detect undertones of leather, tea, oak, and dozens of other essences and aromas? When they describe a certain vintage as having “a good nose” or “legs,” are they putting me on? And when they toss out adjectives like "assertive,” “attractive,” “graceful,” and “elegant,” are they really describing the wine or the waitress pouring it?

If haste makes waste, how come he who hesitates is lost? And why should we keep our noses to the grindstone if all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?

Why does the promising stock I buy always plummet the very next day? And why is that drastically-reduced designer dress I purchased last week (Final Sale! No Returns!) reduced much further the week after the so-called final sale?

How come dedicated vegetarians often wear leather coats, shoes and other accessories? Is it okay to kill animals to make us look good, but not to nourish us? Maybe they rationalize that since the creature has already been butchered, it’s pointless to let its hide go to waste. On the other hand, meat eaters could argue that since a cow has been slaughtered to provide rich Corinthian leather for our furniture and apparel, it would be sinful to toss out those perfectly good T-bones and filet mignons.

How can teenagers understand every word of every rap song when they’re completely incomprehensible to the rest of us?

How come everything in my closet shrinks two sizes from one season to the next?

Speaking of clothes, why in the name of Tommy Hilfiger does anyone pay hundreds of dollars for worn, faded jeans with frayed cuffs and holes in the knees? And am I the only one who thinks that those kids who wear the baggy jeans with the crotches down to their knees look ridiculous?

How come the QE2, which tips the scale at over 150 tons, can float and I (who weigh considerably less, even after binging on lasagna) can’t? Similarly, how can a 400,000-pound 747 stay aloft, yet I drop like a millstone if I stumble on the curb?

And can anyone tell me why it always rains the day after I’ve washed my car and why my drain backs up the day after my garbage disposal grinds to a halt, necessitating two separate service charges by my plumber?

Also, how come your waiter always pops up to ask, “How is everything?” just as you’ve stuffed an oversized portion of the entrée into your mouth making an intelligible reply impossible?

And why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus? I mean there He was in a stable, lying in a manger. He could have used a comfy bassinette, a cashmere blanket, a couple of sleepers, a carrier seat that could be strapped to the back of a donkey … and I’m sure Mary would have really appreciated a few dozen disposable diapers. I can understand that the scent of frankincense and myrrh might have been welcome, what with all those animals in the stable, but gold? Generous, but a bit impractical — sort of like giving a homeless person a Rolex watch instead of a warm coat and some McDonalds gift certificates. But maybe the Holy Family simply stashed the loot and regifted it the following Christmas.

I’ve got to stop trying to solve these enigmas and get some sleep. I hate to resort to medication, but I guess I’ll take a sleeping pill.

I sure hope it will cause drowsiness.

Rose's new book, If These Are Laugh Lines I'm Having Way Too Much Fun, will be published by Pelican Publishing Company in the spring of 2006.

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.


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