BEHIND THE MIKE
By Michael A. Aun
There we were waiting on our food at Outback Steak House. For the umpteenth time, I was getting my clock cleaned playing tick-tack-toe with my grand baby, six year old Ashley.
I just can’t believe how smart she is. Before she finishes the first grade this year, she’ll be able to type. I didn’t learn to type until my senior year in high school.
I already had enough credits to graduate after my junior year, but I still needed to clock the time to earn a diploma. So I decided to take typing… but not for the reasons you might think.
First of all, it wasn’t the crip course I thought it would be, but that wasn’t the reason I signed up. No…. typing class was a “target rich environment,” as Tom Cruise would say in the movie “Top Gun.”
Girls outnumbered us guys by a tremendous margin. In fact, my buddies Ike Cockfield and Mike Corley were the only males in a class of 35 pecking away at a typewriter. Believe me, it was singularly the most valuable class I took in 12 years of school, and it was an elective course.
Ashley will know the keyboard before she graduates from first grade. The fact is she knew it before she even started first grade, thanks to the play computer that her parents bought her.
Ashley can identify every state in the country. Since she lives in Florida she knows our state motto: “Ask us about our grand kids.”
When she visits her great grandparents, who live on Lake Murray in Columbia, SC, she recently asked about a bumper sticker she saw: “South Carolina: Remember The Civil War? We Didn’t Actually Surrender!” She wanted to know, “What’s a Civil War?”
Her parents took her on an extended vacation to Ashville, NC where she spotted this bumper sticker: North Carolina: “Tobacco Is a Vegetable!” She knew right away that couldn’t be right because her dad has a science and biology background and she knows better.
Some of her cousins live in Illinois and she was having trouble pronouncing the state name until she spotted this bumper sticker: Illinois: “Please Don’t Pronounce the ‘S’.”
As we sat in Outback looking at a map of the country, she had the most trouble with the smaller states that were all crowded together, like Connecticut: I told her Connecticut was a lot like Massachusetts, only the Kennedy’s didn’t own it…yet.
And then there was the Kentucky bumper sticker she spotted once on I-95. She asked her father, “Dad… why is there five million people in Kentucky and only 15 last names?”
And the Arkansas bumper sticker that said: “Literacy Ain’t Everything!” She was all over the word “ain’t.”
“Dad what goes on in Michigan???” she queried. The bumper sticker said it all: “Michigan: First Line of Defense from the Canadians!”
And then there was the Wisconsin bumper sticker: Wisconsin: “Come Cut the Cheese!” My son, Cory, left that one alone.
The Mississippi sticker was no better: “Come to Mississippi… And Feel Better About Your Own State!”
The West Virginia bumper sticker confessed far too much: West Virginia: “One Big Happy Family… Really!” And Tennessee wasn’t much better: Tennessee: “The Educashun State.”
The come-to-Minnesota advertisement was at least honest: Minnesota: “Home of 10,000 Lakes… And Ten Trillion Mosquitoes!”
Colorado was also truthful: Colorado: “If You Don’t Ski, Don’t Bother!” Indiana stretches the truth a bit: “Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free!”
And then there are the oldest lies around: Arizona: “But It’s A Dry Heat!” Or Alaska: “11,623 Eskimos Can’t Be Wrong!”
Some states are notoriously known for their taxes. For example Maryland: “If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It!” Or Massachusetts, better known as Taxachusetts: “Our Taxes Are Lower than Sweden’s… (For Most Tax Brackets).”
Some states like to hide their weaknesses behind their strengths. Take Maine: “We’re Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster!”
My grandbaby Ava has a love affair with lizards and snakes. She would really love New Mexico’s motto: “New Mexico… Lizards Make Excellent Pets.”
The states with the most honest motto are New Hampshire or Nebraska.
New Hampshire: “Go Away And Leave Us Alone.” Or Nebraska: “Ask About Our State Motto Contest.”
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.