(Originally published as a column in The Beach Reporter newspaper.)
Sometimes a writer has to do a sort of mental housekeeping. I like to clear my mind of all the clutter that has accumulated there, and believe me that is no small task. To aid in this task, I start with my notebooks. Like most writers I have little notebooks scattered about in my purse, on my nightstand, and on my desk. The reason I have these notebooks is that if I don’t write down my brilliant ideas when they come to me in the full force of their vision, they will depart as quickly as they came, and I will never be able to summon them back.
The result of all this random scribbling is that after a while, I have all these spiral notebooks filled with the strangest sentences, one-liners, and full paragraphs that try to capture the essence of something that struck a chord in me. I used to think this was an odd personal quirk until I started reading interviews of other writers who claim to have this same habit. And since many of these writers are famous and successful, I decided this trait was one to be embraced rather than stifled.
And in that spirit… I would like to share some of my jottings from some recent notebooks – let’s call them essay ideas that never made it to the big time. You will soon see why.
Why do they print the names on brown paper bags of the people who inspected the bags? How about instead printing the names of the people who inspected the airplane you are about to get on.
People who get in the Quick-Check line with more than ten items, and then write a check should be given stiff jail sentences.
Why do I get nervous, and feel guilty of something when a sales clerk calls in my Visa card, even though I know I am way below my limit?
You know you’re getting older when you saw the original movie, and now you are seeing the remake.
I love people at the movie theatre who order buttered popcorn, and a diet Coke.
Does anyone ever order trout at a restaurant?
There should be a national ban on perfumed enclosures in the mail.
Doesn’t it seem like most sales clerks today can’t add or subtract in their heads?
There’s nothing worse than being on hold and having to listen to music you hate.
I hate it when I find a piece of paper with a date and time written on it, but I have no idea what it’s for, or when I even wrote it.
Did you ever try to explain to a four year-old how the TV picture gets onto your TV screen?
What’s going to happen when all these children with hyphenated last names marry other people with hyphenated last names? And then what about their children – when they marry a multi-last named person? Are they going to have eight last names?
Why do all bills have their return addresses in different locations? Some you have to turn upside-down, some you have to slide in backwards, some are right-side up. Can’t this be standardized?
What is fake butter made of?
Is there anything more precious in the world than a two year-old who just got out of the bath, wearing those pajamas that have the feet in them?
Don’t you just love the smell of old libraries?
It’s depressing when I get this month’s magazine in the mail, and I realize I haven’t read last month’s issue yet.
Why is it that when an appliance breaks, and you call a repairman to come out, it turns out to be something really dumb that you did, and he charges you for the call anyway, which makes you feel even worse.
Being a goldfish in a goldfish bowl must be the most boring life imaginable.
Isn’t it weird that you can go to the grocery store and spend $100, and there’s still nothing for lunch?
I can’t believe toothpaste manufacturers have to print on toothpaste tubes, “For best results. squeeze tube from bottom and flatten as you go up.” Gee, I don’t think I could have figured that out on my own!