Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Things I Don't Understand. At All.

Growing up I was under the assumption that as I got older I would understand more. Then when I was a teenager I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know. And when I got out of college I realized I really knew nothing about anything except:

1. The 1984 Detroit Tigers
2. Some lyrics to a few Hootie and the Blowfish songs
3. A lot of Star Wars dialogue
4. My severe limitations as they related to girls, and
5. That beer was God's way of saying "sorry for saddling you with those severe limitations as they relate to girls."

But then I (thankfully) got older yet again. And now I realize that not only do I possess terrifyingly huge abysses of knowledge, but there are a whole slew of things that I couldn't understand even if someone really smart and good at explaining things explained them to me. A partial list follows.

1. The Human Body--Most bewildering of all. I hardly know where to start. I could talk about how there's no way eyes should be able to do what they do. Or ears. Or lungs. But let's focus on just one organ: the heart. During an average lifetime, the heart will beat 2.5 billion times. To put that into perspective, it's about how much more money the government is throwing into "Cash for Clunkers." Okay, maybe that comparison doesn't work, but it's a lot. And it never quits until, you know, it quits. It doesn't even take a break. It just keeps working for 80 years or whatever. Kind of like Barbara Walters. Amazing.

2. Air Travel--I actually kind of understand the physics behind this one. Shape of the wing. Air flows fast on one side, slower on the other, lift-to-drag ratio...but that still doesn't explain how something that big can stay in the air. Like Rosie O'Donnell staying on the air, it just shouldn't happen.

3. Big Boats--Kind of like airplanes. I get buoyancy, but there are some really huge boats out there. REALLY HUGE. Ships like cities. And to really blow my mind there are ships from which airplanes take off and land. That's just insane.

4. Space--Too damn big. Nothing that big should be allowed to exist. Who's regulating this thing? It takes sunlight eight minutes to reach Earth, which means that if the sun winked out seven minutes ago, we wouldn't even know it for another minute. Also, there's no sound in space, which means that when we have to go to war against some hostile planet, our laser guns won't make any noise. And speaking of lasers, you wouldn't actually be able to see the lasers unless there was a crapload of dust or chalk or something floating around. It'll make for terrible TV. We probably won't even bother to go to war with optics like that.

5. Medicine--So I take a pill, swallow it, it goes in my stomach, and that fixes my headache? How do these pills know what to do anyway? I've cut them open, there's no instructions, not even a microchip. It's like solidified dust and it knows how to fix my headache. That's some scary stuff right there. With stuff like this, we might not need lasers to defeat the aliens.

6. Phones--Old phones were bad enough. I talk into this thing and my voice somehow travels along a wire and comes out the other end, almost simultaneously, and another person can understand it. Even sounds moderately like me. But cell phones are a whole 'nother beast. I guess there are all these voices just whizzing around in the air now. Thank god they're invisible, like the lasers.

7. Microchips--Even if those pills I mentioned above had microchips, I'd still be really confused.

8. Live TV--I should not be able to watch a live European soccer game in my living room. First, because someone should take the remote control away from me and turn the channel, but second, because it should not be possible. I'm pretty sure live TV is like cell phones, but I since I've already admitted total ignorance, I could be wrong.

9. Recorded music--I sing a song and it gets, like, etched onto a record, and then this needle comes along and translates these etchings into sounds that are remarkably similar to the sounds I made when I was singing. And records are the media that make the most sense to me. I don't even want to think about cassettes, CDs, and whatever it is the kids are listening to nowadays.


Sarah said...

Don't you know? It's all by chance, explosions, and mutations.

Monica said...

Fax Machines. I put a piece of paper in this one, and then a picture of it gets all scrambled up and flies through the air, invisibly, and then goes to the RIGHT FAX MACHINE!!! and comes out again. With all this invisible stuff flying through the air, we don't have to worry about aliens attacking, their ships will get all caught up in the atmosphere, stuck in fax transmissions, live tv signals and phone calls.

also... how do people invent these things. The fax guy, for instance. Was he stuffing a letter into an envelope, and thinking.... "i should be able to take a picture of this and send it throught the atmosphere". Like the guy who ate the first chicken egg.... 'i'm gonna eat what comes outta that chickens butt'... (well, its not the same at all, really, but .... oh i dunno)

DebraLSchubert said...

You get an A+ for this post, Murph. It totally rocks! My husband's a doctor who works in the pharmaceutical industry. He's also a recording engineer. I'll have him explain #'s 1, 5 & 9 if you'd like, but trust me, you'd fall asleep trying to absorb all that BORING information.

I agree w/Monica. Fax machines? What the...??? And here's a couple more I don't get: The Stock Market and the price of gasoline. Oh, yeah, and how W got voted in not once, but twice. (Sorry, I know your politics and mine don't jive.)

Again, A+. Go to the head of the class.;-)

Anita said...

Deb just liked this post because of the W photo. :)

My husband used to fly C-5s...big enough to carry buses, helocopters, etc. Living on a C-5base, it was fun watching faces as people saw C-5s taking off...people always felt like they were witnessing the impossible.

But I think things from nature are more confounding than anything. Blue whales...seriously?! What is up with those suckers? And hummingbirds?! I think they flap at like 60 beats per freaking second.

MG Higgins said...

I'm here to weigh in on airplanes. My dad worked for Lockheed for thirty years (made wind-tunnel models--before they invented computers to do that stuff) and the last time I flew with him the plane was taxiing to take off and he was gripping the hand-rests, his knuckles turning white, and he murmured, "I still don't know how these things get off the ground." Sure put some confidence in me, I tell ya.

Jacqui said...

Ha! I loved this, but Monica's comment about chicken butts made me laugh out loud. I always wonder that about food. Who tried it first and WHY? Especially things that are poisonous if you don't cook them. Who thought, "Dang, that thing killed Roger, but maybe if I boil it..."

Big Plain V said...

Apparently I take a lot of un-knowledge for granted. Your post taught me that.

Monica said...

Big V, i find that you can go along in life just swimmingly, until you try to think and figure something out. That's when it all goes to hell. Your brain could just explode, from all the stuff you can't figure out. I think we're better off just not thinking at all. unless you're one of those people who is able to figure things out. Like Alexander Graham Bell, or Tesla, or a farmer, or something like that. The rest of us should just have a beer and stop thinking...

Jason said...

I learned something about myself today by reading your blog. The problem is that it is another reason to hate the way that I speak. Ever since high school I have tried to rid myself of the word yeah (my football coach actually made us do push-ups for using it). I have recently started to try to stop saying real-a-tor, like all Michiganders do, and start saying it correctly. I think that people assume that you are more intelligent if you speak well, and I want people to assume that about me. So today I see for the first time in my live the word ‘nother written out and I thought to myself, do I use that word? Of course I do and I never thought anything of it, but now it is going to bother me for the rest of my life. Maybe my wife can make me do push-ups for using it.

DebraLSchubert said...

"I think we're better off just not thinking at all. unless you're one of those people who is able to figure things out. Like Alexander Graham Bell, or Tesla, or a farmer, or something like that. The rest of us should just have a beer and stop thinking..."

Monica, thanks for cracking me up!

And, Anita, yeah, so?

Monica said...

i struggle with 'nother, too, Jason.

Debra, i can't guarantee it'll happen again, my humour muse goes on strike sometimes.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Long bridges with 1,000+ foot drops. How are they built? Skyscrapers also amaze me. Apparently a lot of Native Americans work on skyscrapers because they are not afraid of heights or something weird like that. They walk across I Beams like they're on a sidewalk. I wish I had that gene.


The Wife said...

Oooh - long bridges. Good one, Tracy. You've earned Current Favorite Follower for that.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...