The other aforementioned Brian, the Brian with an "e" and no "i" in his surname, illustrates and gives voice to Earl and Opal Pickles, the charming elderly protagonists of the comic bearing their name. Along with Baby Blues, Zits, and Peanuts, Pickles makes me smile multiple times a week.
The other day I smiled and laughed as Crane invited me (and all his readers) to eavesdrop on a conversation between Earl and his park bench friend, Clyde.
Earl notices Clyde's demeanor and asks,
"You look a little down, Clyde. Are you okay?"
After his aged friend lists a number of reasons for is downcast composure, Earl, in "sincere" reply, confesses, "Actually, I meant that as a yes or no question." (9/29/16)
You know the routine. One asks, "How are you?"
The other replies, "Not much."
Or a waiter encourages his guests to "Enjoy your dinner" and the diners reply, "You, too!"
Unlike Earl, most people actually care. Misspoken responses are often accompanied with sincere smiles. So the epitome of nonsense replies does not necessarily indicate some sort of societal breakdown. It does, however, quite certainly, provide a statistical measuring tool for discovering the effect of rush, hurry - whatever you choose to deem it - on our sense of hearing. Or better yet, its effect on our ability to focus on what that sense takes in.
At this point in your reading of my post you might guess that I am about to launch into a biblically-based apologetic on the value of Sabbath. Maybe some other day. For now, I'd rather focus on our everyday, ordinary lives.
Rest on one out of seven days proves beneficial (imagine that!). However how well do we do at slowing the rush and restraining the hurry every day?
I offer the following four-question test:
1. Yesterday, did you multi-task while eating lunch?
2. Did you even take lunch?
3. When you called your spouse (child, friend, parent, etc.), did you play Angry Birds or compose an email at the same time?
4. Are you currently pretending to listen to someone?
I leave it to you to provide the correct answers.
(Hints: No, Yes, No, No)
How are you doing?
Earl doesn't care. I'd expect that from a man who shares a name with a vinegar-soaked cucumber.