I can’t help it.

Contradictions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies that dot the landscape of everyday life rarely escape my attention, and irregularities that largely get taken for granted or go unnoticed seem to frequently pique my interest.

Basically, “things that make you go hmmm” get my brain juices flowing.

Like…

–– The January 2011 issue of Golf Magazine was billed on its cover as a “back to basics issue.” The cover also displayed a large tease for a story inside about a “new grip revolution.” So, OK, do we focus on age-old standards, or embrace revolutionary changes?

––The phrases “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing. Sometimes opposites aren’t.

Doug Davison

––Something really good is often said to be “bad.” Not only that, but many things that were considered bad for hundreds of years are now considered good.

––When people couldn’t care less about something, they often say, “I could care less.” That would seem to indicate there’s room for less caring, although they’re trying to express that there isn’t.

––I worked for years at a newspaper in Georgia that once published a photo of local students achieving “perfect attendance.” Two kids were listed as being “not pictured.” I guess for some it’s about reaching a goal, not maintaining a standard.

––People go to McDonald’s and order a third-of-a-pound Angus burger, a large order of fries, and a pair of apple pies, and then wash it down with a diet Coke. Yeah, that’ll help.

––After murdering someone, guys on the run make calls from their cell phones. Does the word “ping” mean anything to you?

––People who have plenty of other choices eat things like snails, giant bugs and monkey brains. You’ll never hear me order a plate of pickled peccary feet or a bowl of lemur lips, because unlike the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, I believe that bizarre foods are better avoided than sampled.

––I recently saw a school supply list that indicated first-graders needed to bring a pencil box “approximately size 5’ X 8’.” My, we’re going to be writing some BIG essays, aren’t we – that is if we can get our writing instruments through the door.

––When negotiating with a pawnshop salesperson, guys will sometimes say things like “I only have $11,” and then pull a 20 out of their wallet. I guess that’s “the new math?”

––A woman will walk up to a convenience store counter and say, “I need a carton of Camel lights.”

Uh, beg to differ; someone may want a couple of hundred cancer sticks, but in no way, shape, or form does anyone need them.

Continuing a list of examples would take more space than is available, but you get the idea.

I suppose my fascination with this kind of stuff explains why I’ve always appreciated reading Chuck Shepherd’s “News of the Weird” (in the regional Kaleidoscope publication and on his website), why I like watching Jay Leno make fun of strange newspaper headlines, and why one of my favorite books is “Weird Missouri” (which is part of the “Weird U.S.” series about odd attractions, sites and people around the country).

I guess I consider taking notice of these and other oddities to be a form of education, and boy howdy, school is certainly always in session.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:  ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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