Missing the Point

Maybe I’m merely grumpy, or out of touch with mainstream reality, but sometimes I just don’t get the point. Things that seem to make sense to the majority of people just don’t make sense to me. Such as:

Deliberately enhancing bookshelves with careful arrangements of books in which some are standing upright, some are lying flat, and some are merely props for other decorative objects. Our bookshelves pretty much always look like that, but somehow the overall effect is crammed instead of ornamental. Possibly that’s because random rocks, misplaced pens, or dangerous items temporarily placed out of reach of toddlers don’t qualify as “decorative objects.”

Appetizers. I’ve never seen the logic of inviting people over for a special meal, which someone goes to considerable trouble to plan and shop for and prepare, and then filling them up with something generic like crackers or chips and dip before they even get to the table. It seems almost insulting to the cook. Unless the whole point is to dull the guests’ appetites. Maybe the host hopes to get by with smaller servings of an expensive main course, or hopes guests might be too full for dessert so there will be some leftover pie for breakfast the next day. But in that case, shouldn’t they really be called “disappetizers” or “unappetizers?”

White chocolate. True, it has cocoa butter in it. But that just means it contains all of the fat from the cocoa bean but none of the good stuff that makes chocolate taste so delicious. And, even more important, it doesn’t have any of the antioxidant ingredients that allow chocolate lovers to claim that eating the stuff is good for us. Besides, it doesn’t look like chocolate or taste like chocolate. Adding cocoa butter to a piece of white candy doesn’t make it chocolate, any more than putting butter on a piece of toast makes it a milk shake.

Formal wear. Why is the appropriate attire for formal occasions shoulder-baring dresses for women but long-sleeved jackets over long-sleeved shirts for men? It only makes sense if you think like a slightly warped statistician. If half the people in a room are too hot and the other half are too cold, then I guess that averages out to “comfortable.”

Piles of pillows on beds or couches. If you’re spending the night in a friend’s nice guest room—one where everything actually matches and no odd piles of random stuff are stored under the bed—it doesn’t feel right to dump the extra seven color-coordinated pillows on the floor in the corner. But what else are you supposed to do with them in order to clear enough space so you can actually sleep in the bed? As for couches, a couple of pillows on your own couch may be handy to loll on while you read or to prop up your tired feet. A carefully arranged collection of them in someone else’s living room is a different story. There you’re left little choice but to perch on the edge of the couch like an eager proselytizing missionary or a patient waiting in the dentist’s office who is ready to bolt.

High-heeled shoes with long, pointy toes that: a) were designed with no reference whatsoever to the actual shape of the human foot; b) can only be walked in by trained athletes with good health insurance; and c) make your feet look three sizes larger.

Sometimes, I feel like the philosophy student who sat down to take a final exam, only to discover his No. 2 pencil was broken. He said, “Now I understand–there is no point!”

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