Things I Don't Understand
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I’m surprised that more Americans aren’t living in yurts. I would live in a yurt if I had one. I can’t speak for the rest of my family.

A yurt is a round tent-like structure used by nomadic tribes in Mongolia. They have lattice walls and are covered in reindeer skins. I’d probably cover mine in squirrel and raccoon. It would take a lot of squirrels and raccoons to cover one, but that’s better than having to explain why Daddy killed a reindeer.

Yurts can be moved around from place to place. If you don’t like this place, just throw everything in the back of a truck and go somewhere else. If you get tired of that place, come on back.

If more people lived in yurts, less people would be in danger of having their homes foreclosed on. Do you actually think a bank would repossess a yurt? I doubt they even know what one looks like.

Another thing I don’t understand is why American teenagers don’t have a “rite of passage into adulthood” like so many other teenagers in the world. Jewish teenage boys go through a bar mitzvah; Latin teenage girls have a quinceanera; young boys on Pentecost Island participate in “land diving” to prove their manhood (which is now a major tourist attraction). These are all rituals that provide a tangible “finish line” for teenagers crossing into adulthood.

American teenagers just slide into adulthood without any ceremony or formal procedure. We parents say, “Now that you’re 18, you have two choices—pick up your sister from dance or join the Army. Happy Birthday.”

Well, that’s just not good enough—and here’s my solution:

If American teenagers love to drive, and if American teenagers love to eat, why can’t they formally pass into adulthood when they can prove they are capable of eating a Double Cheeseburger with Extra Ketchup and Onions while driving a car using only their knees to steer—at night, without making a mess? Not a single onion between the seats. Not one blob of ketchup on the clothes. As far as I’m concerned, that would do it. You are now an adult.

You know what else I don’t understand? I don’t understand why so many people end their sentences with “OK?” or “You know?” Obviously they have no idea that the rest of us are counting every “ok” and “you know” and we’re not really listening. If they did, they’d stop—you know?

I once had a Spanish teacher who said “ok” at least 147 times in one 50-minute class. I know because I sat there and counted as many as I could, ok? I had him for Spanish for two years, ok? And I learned just enough to pass the course, but not enough, you know, to actually speak Spanish. Now, if I had been his supervisor, you know, I would have told him, “Hey. You say ‘OK’ way too much. It’s affecting your teaching, you know?” But I was just a student and nitpicking teachers was our favorite sport, you know? Ok, maybe I should have done more to, you know, help the poor man out, but I didn’t, ok? Can we just drop this subject and get on with the story? It’s giving me a headache, ok?

Something else I don’t understand is why more people don’t ride motorcycles. We all grew up riding bicycles, didn’t we? We all remember the thrill of having the training wheels removed and being able to travel wherever we wanted just as long as we were back by supper time, don’t we? We all remember trying to jump ramps and, on occasion, waking up in the emergency room with...Wait a minute. Strike that!

Riding a motorcycle brings back all those childhood memories of freedom and adventure, but with half the effort. And if everybody rode a motorcycle, we’d all be better friends, neighbors, husbands and wives.

There are a lot of things in this world I don’t understand, and every day the list keeps growing. But I see you reaching for the Tylenol, so I’ll stop for now and go for a ride. Ok? Ok!

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