Opinion Columns & Blogs

‘What the hell?’

I went without TV news for one week and now know nothing about anything of any unimportance. Actually, left out is how I feel. Did we have a Richard Simmons sighting? Was Trump impeached? Was the calorically challenged North Korean leader fed to the Pandas? Is mom’s house at the beach closer to the water? I heard those ice caps are melting more rapidly than predicted.

Only three blocks and a hundred years to go and we’ve got some really high taxes to pay. Do we still have terrorists or did that “mother of all bombs” do the trick? Actually I figure the “mother of all bombs” should have been, “the father of all bombs” since mostly men fight in wars (save the comments, yes, women fly jets, too and shoot and kill, but it’s mostly men and in my humble opinion. Women would be better off raising men who could do the fighting and killing on a scale heretofore unattained). But, did a bat actually fly into a belfry somewhere? And most unimportantly, is Kim Kardasharia, as in “dedasharia,” a term my family assigns to anything that causes one to run to the bathroom in an effort to rid oneself of unwanted internal garbage, still married to Kanye?

I must say not being exposed to every day’s news items has been beneficial, because I’ve been able to focus on some really important stuff and that would be where in the world my 3-year-old grandson picked up the phrase, “What the hell?” We’re your basic Judeo/Christian family here, trying to raise a well-behaved, evolved, cultured, refined and gentile male grandson and he comes out with, “What the hell?” the other day while doing, of all things, bird feeding.

Feeding the birds is a ritual of sorts as he and I migrate to the deck for a few minutes of meditation, thankful that Wal-Mart has just the right mix of sunflower seeds and other stuff to entice birds for watching and educational purposes. For example, we’ve discovered that birds are somewhat like us in that they seem to hang with birds that look like them and speak their language. Not to say they don’t get along with other birds and all, but they all eat the same stuff and so when you watch the birds eat you find their breakfast with each other to be amiable, but with a touch of aloofness. A Waffle House at 2 a.m. sort of atmosphere.

They eat everything but so do the squirrels and so it was when we peeked upon the deck railing at mid-morning and there was nothing to see, I hear from him, “What the hell?” So, I’m thinking to myself, “Where in hell did he hear that!” It was certainly not from me. After all, I’d only heard it a few times when my wife could think of nothing else to say, like when something strange was delivered to the house. Usually something she’d ordered and forgot about like an unassembled stationary bicycle or fitness CDs. They’d show up at the back door and she’d look at me and say, “What the hell?” So she could be the guilty party.

Come to think of it, I’ve heard that nifty little phrase quite a bit from her. There were times (more than one) the commode backed up “for no apparent reason” and created a tidal wave of sorts in the toilet bowl. You’d think there would be an answer for that, a cause and effect scenario or a reasonable explanation. After all, it never happens with me. But no, it’s one of her “what the hell?” moments as she stands there screaming for a plunger. I suppose that what really irritates her could be the fact that the commode is the one thing in this house she does not completely control.

And so we find the grandson’s vocabulary has increased by a three word phrase that, when properly used, cannot be replaced when expressing total surprise. Oh I suppose, “My goodness!” might work, but for some reason a picture of her saying that with a plunger in her hand and water running over her feet in front of a toilet bowl just won’t come into focus. Well, gotta go. The cat’s opening the back door again. “What the ….?”

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.