One of life’s greatest mysteries has been solved. According to recent news reports, we now know what came first, the chicken or the egg. In case you are wondering, the chicken wins the race. Scientists from Warwick and Sheffield universities, no doubt working tirelessly 24/7 to resolve this burning issue, have determined that an eggshell is made from a type of protein that is found only in chickens’ ovaries. Don’t ask me where the first chicken came from to produce this protein. The researchers didn’t say.
In any case, now that I no longer have to contemplate the whole chicken/egg situation, I have come up with a few other imponderables. You may want to ponder them also.
Imponderable #1: Why do Inmates in US Prisons wear Orange?
I don’t have anything against the color orange, but that particular shade of orange is butt ugly. Admittedly, I’ve only ever seen the jumpsuits on television and every time I do, I ask myself whatever led the officials to go with that color?
Colors impact us emotionally and psychologically. Ask anyone from the advertising industry. Ad agencies have spent small fortunes researching the precise colors to use to elicit a particular effect in the demographic they are trying to reach. Fast food restaurants, for example, often decorate with reds and oranges, colors known to encourage customers to order, eat and leave quickly.
The orange jumpsuits induce feelings of power, arousal and aggression. Even I feel hostile when I look at those outfits and I’m a peace loving grandmother. What effect do you suppose that color has on already hostile and aggressive felons who are crowded together in small spaces?
If you deliberately set out to choose a color that would most contribute to violence and riots, you would do no better than to pick that particular shade of orange.
I suppose the color was chosen for its high visibility, should a prisoner escape. The way I see it, there are other colors that are visible but have a more calming effect that that harsh orange.
Imponderable #2: How is a Swear Word Decided Upon?
As far as I know, every culture or every language has its own swear words. Who decides which words are swear words and why is one word chosen over another? How is it decided which words are only mild expletives but others have serious shock value? And if a taboo word gets overused to the point it is almost mainstream, does another new taboo word emerge to take its place?
Canada has two official languages: French and English. In the English language, the most offensive swear words are words depicting sexuality or bathroom functions. In the French language, I have been told that the most offensive swear words refer to religion or God.
No doubt other languages have similar peculiarities. So I ponder how certain words or concepts become taboo while others do not.
I don’t, however, ponder why we have swear words in the first place. An article in yesterday’s paper revealed that psychologists have proven through scientific research that swearing decreases pain. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, yelling *&^&$% really does make it hurt less! Supposedly the same thing applies to emotional and physical pain as well. I hope the psychologists didn’t spend too much time on that study. Most of us could have told them this had we been asked.
Imponderable #3: Why Have We Stopped Saying What we Mean?
This may be a case of political correctness run amuck, but why have people stopped using certain words, only to replace them with words that have a somewhat different meaning?
I can’t speak for other countries, but in Canada and the US, we no longer have “problems.” We have “challenges.” The word “problem” is avoided like the plague.
Well, sorry, but I can’t see it. When a particularly vicious virus took control of my computer, it was a PROBLEM! If I run out of gasoline on the Lions Gate Bridge during rush hour traffic, I’m not GASOLINE CHALLENGED! I have a problem that is likely to get me a traffic ticket, which is another problem.
Similarly, there is no such thing as pain any more – at least not according to those most likely to inflict it (medical professionals, dentists, tattoo artists, body waxers, etc). No procedure will ever cause pain. It will result in discomfort. Childbirth causes discomfort. A prostate exam causes discomfort. A root canal causes a little discomfort. A bikini wax may create discomfort.
Do we believe that the sensation we experience will be less if we minimize it by using a milder word? If so, is that in fact, true? Psychologists, are you listening? This calls for another study.
And speaking of milder words, how did “death” become a taboo word? No one dies any more. We “pass’, or “pass away” or “pass over” or even “expire”. But we don’t die. Our pets don’t die either. They are “put down” or “put to sleep” or “euthanized” or whatever euphemism is currently popular.
Seriously, when you’ve lost a loved one, do you feel better if you say he “passed” rather than he “died?” It seems to me that this avoidance of death makes it harder for us to work through a loss than if we could speak the words outright.
Imponderable #4: Why is Consumer Merchandise Packaged Excessively?
Environmentally conscious households are striving to reduce household waste through recycling, composting, etc., and rightfully so. Reducing our trash should be one of everyone’s priorities.
But that having been said, why is there so much garbage in the first place? Why is it that almost every item we buy is wrapped in plastic and then mounted on cardboard?
I can see that excessive packaging may be needed for certain delicate or fragile items, or perhaps for the purpose of cleanliness in other cases.
However, much of what we buy could be sold without the trappings.
The environmental concern is only one aspect.
I’m willing to bet that the dollars and cents cost of the packaging is passed along to the consumer, so we pay for it at the time of the initial purchase, and then again later when our tax dollars are spent on garbage disposal and landfill issues.
I have yet another complaint about this packaging. Much of it is extremely difficult to open. I wonder how people with arthritis in the hands manage to rescue their merchandise from its rugged plastic cocoon.
Who does it benefit and why is it there?
If none of these imponderables work for you, perhaps we gave up on the chicken matter too quickly. You can always ponder why the chicken crossed the road.