Forget Mensa

Did you ever meet someone who was book smart but didn’t have a lick of common sense sandwiched between their ears?  Yep.  I have too.  Book smart is great for esoteric study of nematodes, particle physics, and dead languages but I would hazard a guess that those same people would perish on a concrete meridian on a Las Vegas roadway not by foolishly choosing to stop their car to investigate a)a worm, b)an anomalous 2-way gate opening to another universe or c) some eye catching graffiti but because they failed to learn to never mix up exotic orders of hard liquor shots.  Stick with your fave or else you will black out, trip on the meridian while crossing the street and die choking on your own vomit.

Common sense is really useful.  It keeps you from doing stupid stuff.  And if you choose to do stupid stuff anyway, common sense at least offers you an indemnity against naivete; better off to start the night with a condom in your pocket than to blame your parents or Mr. Premature Ejaculator for your unplanned pregnancy.   It is also a great aid for smelling bullshit.  You mean, if I buy thousands of dollars of all these products for sample inventory so I can sell the same products to all my family and friends for a 2% commission, I may actually break even in two years?  Wow, sign me up!!!!!

I think it’s great Mensa wants to sort out the chaff from the wheat.  You can join other high IQ people and feel really great about how smart you are.   I’ve never taken their admission test but I imagine meetings where instead of names, everyone has their IQ written on a sticky tag on their sweaters.  Everyone wears sweaters because who goes to a Mensa meeting wearing a T-shirt?  Unless the T-shirt says something incredibly witty and then the sweater people are left secretly cursing themselves for the banality of their attire.  I suspect there could a deep chasm within the organization along the divides of the sweater people versus the T-shirt people.  Maybe the conversations are not intellectually stimulating  at all but instead filled with vitriol for the opposing fashion camp.   Maybe their exam should have had a multiple choice question that required the options a)cotton b)cotton-blend c)nylon d)wool e)polyester.  That would have cleared up the admissions process real fast.

I don’t think of myself as particularly smart but I think I’ve made a few critical observations the last few years that more accurately reflect on intelligence.  First, ask yourself, are you or anyone else you know dishwasher retarded?  Dishwasher retarded is sadly, a common problem.  Maybe you have had family or friends visiting and someone gamely offers to load the dishwasher.  Sure, what could go wrong?  Except it does.  The person is dishwasher retarded.  Everything is thrown in half haphazardly, omitting the organization required to fit more than four plates and a couple of bowls.  You wait for them to leave the kitchen so you can reorganize all the cups and serving dishes to be able to load 30 more dishes.  Who the hell puts glassware on the bottom rack?  Dishwasher retards, that’s who.

Do you live with anyone?  Do you hate replacing the toilet roll every day because they are too lazy to do it?  Have you paid thousands of dollars in legal fees to divorce or evict someone that couldn’t be bothered to reload the toilet paper?  I’m going to tell you something that will blow your mind: not all toilet paper is the same.  In fact, the toilet paper companies like ripping you off and ruining your marriage.  Never buy 1-ply.  People who grew up in 1-ply homes are the same people who wrap half the roll around their hand just to wipe pee.  1-ply guarantees urine or fecal wetness will soak through to your hand.  3-ply is the opposite problem.  You raise a generation of spoiled brats who become accustomed  to having their asses wiped with goose down.  It’s over the top and usually expensive when 2-ply works fine.  You can buy the Cadillac but the Ford Focus will still get you there.  But the world of 2-ply is a deceiving place.  A 12 pack of one brand is NOT the 12 pack of another brand.  Disregarding the width of a roll, because they even cut those corners, it all comes down to number of sheets.  I spend the most time in the toilet paper and paper towel isle.  I do rough mental math on number of rolls multiplied by number of sheets to give me the approximate sheets in the whole package.  I figure out the cost per unit.  Every grocery store will give you a cost per lb, cost per kg, cost per unit of almost everything in the entire store EXCEPT the paper isle.  You are on your own.  This is where you separate the chaff from the wheat.  Do the math: you will discover that sometimes buying 4 packages of  six rolls of the premium brand is cheaper than the bulk 24 package of generic.  Added plus:  the rolls of 2-ply with the most number of sheets are also the mostly densely packed meaning that roll of toilet paper has a fighting chance of lasting 3-5 days in a household of 4 people.  Insane right?  You save money and you save your sanity.

I’ll leave you with one last item.   This is for all the bakers out there: fucking whipping cream.  I’ve tried to avoid the f__ word in this blog but it is time to break it out.  Everyone who is ever cracked open a cook book knows that measurements for cream come in 1/2 cup, 1 cup or 2 cups.  The last few years we’ve seen companies maintain their competitive pricing by secretly downsizing the container and offering less product.  1 Litre has become 975 or 950 mL and so forth so that the decrease is imperceptible.  Except cream.  Cream is one of those essential cooking items used in precise measurements and it has always been sold in cartons of 250, 500 and 1000 mL.  Until now.  Recently, I bought a carton of 473mL of whipping cream.  Who sells whipping cream in non-divisible amounts?  It’s like selling pants with one leg at 32″ and the other leg at 34″.  It makes no sense.  Even if you’re one of those squint yer eye and guesstimate kind of cooks, 27 mL is a serious shortfall for recipes that desire the depth and creaminess of well, cream.  My solution:  buy more than you need and put whip cream on your coffee.  F__ em’.  Get fat and die of heart disease.  They just lost 10 years of cream purchases from me.  Or go vegan and stop using cream altogether but that seems like unnecessary suffering to me.  Either way, revenge is its own kind of brilliance.





Why I started a blog

My sister lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and 10 year old son.  I live in Canada.  Due to the time difference, the only feasible time to chat is Friday or Saturday night in Canada, which is Saturday or Sunday morning in Perth.   If you have some semblance of a life, which I hope I do, it means we are in the basement for Friday evening movie night involving a G rated children’s animation or a PG rated documentary.  The last great family movies were “Princess Bride”, “Goonies”, the “Dark Crystal” and “The Never Ending Story.”  With the 80s gone, the modern movie magic is rendered bland for mass consumption and so, unable to sit through another franchised Marvelade of epic battles and much to my 8 year old’s disappointment, we often choose documentaries.  Last Friday it was “unBranded” about 4 chums on a horseback riding trek from the Mexico/Arizona border to the U.S./Canada border traversing on U.S. public lands on adopted mustangs.  My husband and I smugly pride ourselves that we are giving our children brain nutrition but these documentaries can backfire on occasion.  Shortly after watching a documentary on overfishing and decimation of wildlife stocks in oceans and referencing the aggressive fishing tactics of Chinese trawlers in international or disputed waters, my son, the reason forgotten now, piped up at a dinner party that Chinese people were stealing all the ocean’s fish.  This was at a dinner party at which one of the guests was of Chinese descent.  He was 6 at the time but it made me appreciate that children (and adults) will walk away from a movie or a documentary having clung onto some ‘truth’, however misinformed or skewed it might be.

That leaves Saturday night and really, being 37 and my husband, 43, we secretly harbour narcissistic hopes that we might be hipsters and prone to evenings out embracing cool, liberal musings during 20 seat theatre performances about an Aspergers spectrum adult or midnight screenings of the “Big Lebowski”.   Which means, we’re not home during these optimal chat times with our Australian family.

So, upon my sister’s request that I start a blog, I made one today.  To give my WordPress standard formatting some personality, I wrote  a random phrase I had read scribbled large on an underpass cement wall.  It was written in chalk by a group of young christians that were out for what I assume was a boisterous good time: “Cheese is Good, but Jesus is Better.”  I’m not a christian, I’m not even religious, but I love this phrase.  It means that some 19 year old, back in 2011, still had a sense of humour, and really liked cheese.

I’m not sure  exactly why my sister thought a blog was a great communication tool.  Maybe if I ramble online, it means I’ll listen better when we finally Skype.  I tend to dominate a conversation.  Just ask my husband.  Anyhoo, there you have it.  I’ve used a fake name because I really don’t want any of my friends or workmates figuring out how truly eccentric my inner world is.  I don’t even have a Facebook account.  This blog is for my family.  If you chance upon it, enjoy, but I add the disclaimer that none of the content can be trusted.  I have a selective memory and I’m prone to outlandish claims.


Aubrey Nounours