by Brittany McSorley
Often, I will have a question. Sometimes, that question will be embarrassing, in the sense that asking it aloud to another human being would reveal deep ignorance on my part. So I don’t ask it. Occasionally, I will Google it, but for the most part, no.
Take, for example, a massive misunderstanding that was only clarified to me by accident a week ago. I was watching a television show that made a quick mention of the phrase, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Something about the way the character framed the statement led me to an epiphany: That saying means, “Don’t be ungrateful when you receive something for free,” or, “Please refrain from examining the value of a gift too closely, you selfish beast.” Before that enlightening moment, I had never really understood the idiom, but for reasons that escape me, I had never asked anyone to explain it.
If I’m really honest with myself, I guess I thought I did understand it, and it was just kind of a stupid phrase, which is incredibly pompous of me, but here we are. I always figured a “gift horse” was a horse with some kind of terrible mouth disease that is unique to horses. And the warning about not looking in its mouth was fair, because hey, gross stuff is gross, so for the most part we should avoid it. That’s what I thought it meant! I am 30 years old! In my defense, I was not aware people gave horses to one another as presents often enough for an entire classic saying to be borne from it. But still.
Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson and have decided to make public all of my secret questions, because if I can’t upend my entire deal and try to become a better person in 2020, when can I? 2021? Don’t be ridiculous. Okay, here we go:
- Sometimes in movies or on television, you see photoshoots, and there’s always an assistant of some kind who holds a small white object very close to the face of the beautiful person being photographed before the shoot begins. It seems to be a crucial part of the process. What is it for?
- What is the situation with different measuring cups for dry goods and liquids? Does using the right kind matter a lot? If I pour water into a cup meant for flour, is it not a cup of water? The whole concept makes me very, very nervous.
- If Santa is just the dad in I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, why is he dressed up as Santa if he thinks the kid is in bed?
- How do people get Lasik in areas of the world where there are earthquakes? I’m pretty sure the laser burning corrections into your eyeball can’t shake violently. They must have a protocol, but what is it?
- How is two-day shipping even possible? Do you know what I mean?
- Does Pepé Le Pew know he’s a skunk? Does he think he and the lady cat are both cats? Does he think she, too, is a skunk? Like, where is he coming from on this?
- Is everyone pretending to think All the President’s Men is a good movie? The subject matter is absolute gold, but the film somehow manages to be really, really boring.
- While we’re on the topic, did everyone else already know that Nora Ephron was married to Carl Bernstein and he cheated on her when she was pregnant with their second child and THAT’s who Jack Nicholson is playing in Heartburn? The guy who broke the Watergate scandal?! Why aren’t we all talking about this all the time?!
- How does the stock market work?
- Do pets understand what we’re doing when we kiss them?
- How can there be internet on airplanes?
- Is the possum/opossum thing just a spelling difference or are these two separate animals?
That’s all I can handle for now. Please be kind.