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When the car stops, the mind wanders

Sometimes, you’re just minding your own business at an intersection when, the next thing you know, you’re trying to put Frankenstein’s monster back into Pandora’s box.

You know what I mean?

You see, what happened was, I was on my way to buy some ear swabs and a shoe insole (I lead such an exciting life) and that’s when I saw ... well actually, I was going to buy some prentzels as well — the type that come in the shape of a smiling goldfish, which led to a few questions.

For instance, why do I drop an “n” into the middle of the word “pretzels”? I renember as kids that my brother and I would always add an incorrect letter, usually an “n,” into words as though the word needed it — like “prentzels” ... or “renember.”

(And don’t get me started on parenfacees.)

And while I was at it, why are they in the shape of goldfish? And why are the goldfish smiling? They’re going to get eaten ... what do they have to be happy about?

Have you seen the commercials for these things? Families of goldfish crackers — none of them, it must be said, in goldfish bowls ... or even water — enjoying life as though they didn’t have a worry in the world.

Which brings me back to my drive to the store to buy ear swabs and a shoe insole. I saw out the window some folks who did appear to have something to worry about — besides ending a sentence with a preposition (although “about” can also be used as an adverb or a adjective, I suppose.)

These particular worried folks were under a blue-covered tent. There was a table, a couple of folding chairs, and a makeshift sign on which was printed “RECALL BROWN,” and the conversation they were having was quite animated indeed.

None of them seemed particularly happy — less like a school of smiling goldfish than those creepy animated squares of Cinnamon Toast Crunch who, in their commercial, are seen surfing on waves of milk ... and then start trying to EAT EACH OTHER.

I’m not sure what is appetizing about the nightmarish depiction of cannibalistic breakfast cereal, but it does seem as though our political disagreements have left us as a nation filled with those whose goal isn’t so much to win an argument but to devour the opposition in the process.

Of course, I couldn’t be sure what these folks under the tent were discussing so demonstratively. Could have been recalling the governor, could have been the need for untucked dress shirts.

And that’s when, right there sitting in my car at a red light, the voice on the radio told me an amazing fact about the human race — or, that is, just shy of 50% (oops, I’m sorry Ryan Pfeil 50 percent) percent of the human race.

“Men,” the voice said, “spend 90 percent of every day in their underwear.”

Now, by the time I parked the car and made my way into the store, I had figured out the math — and, wouldn’t you know it, the voice on the radio was wrong.

Because since of the few things all Americans can still agree on is that — even during Daylight Saving Time — it takes 24 hours for the sun to revolve around vast flatness of Earth, which would put us in our skivvies for 21 hours and 36 minutes each and every day.

Now, folks, I don’t know about you ...

... honest, I don’t ...

... but I immediately started to wondering what men were doing for those other 2 hours and 24 minutes — and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

Even if all men slept in their underwear (because you’re never getting to that 90 percent threshold without some of it being lost in your subconscious), that leaves an ungodly amount of time not to be flummoxed by the boxers or briefs question.

Heck, taking off the time spent in the shower still leaves most of us with 2 hours and 18 minutes of going commando on a daily basis.

By the time I had self-checked out my ear swabs, shoe insoles and smiling-though-doomed prentzels, I had figured out that nefarious radio voice was lying!

Turns out that this radio guy was schlepping for The Man at Big Underwear — a company I shan’t disclose that will sell you a single pair of boxers or briefs for prices ranging from 28 to 34 dollars (see Ryan, no punctuation marks) and in colors that include Warrior Red, Racing Blue, Avocado, Asphalt and Rescue Orange.

Now, I have made some serious clothing faux pas in my life (I was a teenager in the 70s, so I have a built-in excuse), but I am not going to spend 90 percent of each and every day worried that if by some mishap I find myself in an emergency room, the medical staff is going to wonder why I’m wearing Rescue Orange boxers (or briefs ... a polite man never tells).

I mean, that’s something you can’t unsee, or undo — much like how Wally Conron felt recently.

Conron was the creator of the breed of dog known as the “labradoodle,” and he told The New York Times that he is ashamed of his genetic experimentation, which has led to all sorts of cross-breeds — although none as frightening as smiling goldfish that ride bicycles and cinnamon toast cannibals.

“I opened a Pandora’s box,” Conron said, “and unleashed a Frankenstein monster.”

While the rest of you unscramble his mixed metaphor of fictional tales, I’m going to guess that Franc-en-steen’s creation is going to need an XXL pair of Warrior Red for 90 percent of his day.

You must renember this, Mail Tribune copy desk chief Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com

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