Questions still unanswered


I am appalled that I have reached this advanced age and I still don’t know who let the dogs out. It’s not for lack of asking. I have pestered everyone, but no one else seems to know, either.

But I have finally found the answer to “Where’s the beef?” It’s all over social media. Everybody’s got a beef, it seems. Politics, climate control, gender equality, equal opportunity, environmental depredations – the list goes on. (One thing Facebook denizens don’t have is a vocabulary devoid of foul language. I hope you join me in not contributing to the blue air.)

Someone observed the other day that Dora the Explorer should invest in a GPS or use Google Maps. That’s probably a good idea, except that would be the end of her adventures. I must admit that I have always identified with Dora. We are both missing that internal compass that everyone else seems to have. Like Dora, I have entertained friends and family for decades with my adventures in traveling from one compass point to another.

Since I’m in the mood, I’ll finally confess I have no idea how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. It’s been some years since I attempted this feat, but I seem to remember that my tongue always cramped around 500, and then I began to lose count.

Oh, yeah, and puzzle me this: Why are fragile eggs packaged in an equally fragile carton, but it takes the Jaws of Life to open a package of batteries? I need to give the designers of these things my expert advice. When are they going to invent a blister pack we don’t have to use an ax and a blowtorch to open?

As long as I am talking about packaging, when are they going to start matching the number of buns with the number of hot dogs in a package? Do these people not talk to each other? Has no ambitious up-and-comer in either company ever had this bright matchy-matchy idea? I’d offer my help, but I’m retired.

My local pet peeve is those humongous bags of shredded cabbage for coleslaw that lurk in the produce section of the grocery store. There’s enough cabbage in there to make slaw for the Army’s Fifth Division! I might get away with using two or three servings of the stuff before hearing snarky comments from the other end of the table. Cabbage, as we all have learned, only lasts a few days in the refrigerator and you can’t freeze it, for future reference.

English major that I am, I often ponder conundrums (why isn’t it conundra or conundrii?) such as why “fridge” has a “d” in it, but “refrigerator” does not. Don’t you think it odd that “abbreviated” is such a long word? And “life” is short? You will never be bored if you study English. There are enough twists and turns in this language to keep you entertained for decades.

To continue my confessional, I now admit that I have never found Waldo. To be honest, I don’t think I ever looked for him. And I don’t think I will ever decipher Victoria’s secret, so she, too, will remain a mystery.

And, like George Carlin used to say, if it’s “new and improved,” what was wrong with the old one I’ve been using for years? Have I been using toxic laundry detergent? Or serving my family faulty food?

One day when you’re stuck waiting in a long line, perhaps you can decipher why the lemon juice in those cute little bottles is made with artificial flavor, but dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons. Let me know when you’ve figured it out.

Is it true that they sterilize the needle before they administer a lethal injection? I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that one. Forget I mentioned it.

Why do I put my two cents in, only to have you turn around and offer me a penny for my thoughts? No wonder I’m always broke.

Why do I now consider a nap a just reward for making it through the morning, when my childhood theory that Mom was plotting to make me miss something important?

What lifespan are manufacturers talking about when they offer me a lifetime guarantee on their appliances? Mine or their product’s? I’ve outlasted a lot of hot water heaters, washing machines, and garbage disposals that boasted they would last as long as I do.

One meager victory is that I have figured out why they choose the 2 a.m. time slot to rebroadcast the television program I missed earlier. They are merely accommodating what I call my geriatric insomnia. But I have a tip for you if you’re getting comfortable in front of the TV in the middle of the night: normal people get really cranky when you make popcorn at 3 a.m.

Cara Curtin is a retired Naval officer whose last duty station was nearby Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. She and her family chose Fernandina Beach as their forever home, where she continues to pursue her writing career of over 30 years. She has written for radio, television, and a wide variety of print publications. She also gives informal talks and conducts workshops to share her writing tips. Contact her at