Open wide, plastic pruning & double standard

Open wide, plastic pruning & double standard

Dear Rachel,

Why are ears the only human orifice that makes wax, at least under normal circumstances? Come to think of it, why does each orifice have its own unique mucous defense system? Seems like it would be biologically efficient to streamline the production process and give eyes, nose, ears, mouth and others less-fit-to-print the same universal secretion. Which would you pick, Rachel? Snot, wax, saliva, tears or other?

– Waxing Poetic

Dear Wax Off,

Your world is a world I don’t want to live in. No way do I want tears coming out of my ears, or any other such combination. I trust that ears and noses and mouths know exactly what they’re doing. Except when I have a cold. Then there is no reasonable explanation for the quantities of snot simultaneously spilling out of and blocking up my face.

– Phlegmatically, Rachel


Dear Rachel,

I have a plastic shopping bag stuck high up in a tree in my front yard. I can’t get the ladder close enough to pluck it out. The branches are too thin to support my weight if I climbed to fetch it. I thought it might blow away or erode to nothingness, but no such luck. Oh and did I mention it’s been there since last summer? Also, I might be allergic to this particular tree species. How can I get rid of this bag once and for all?

– Bag Nabbit

Dear Baggins of Bag End,

I remember being a kid in a museum gift shop, and I got one of those classic toys that’s a stick with a shark head on the end of it, and when you squeeze the handle the shark mouth closes. It’s perfect for biting siblings and parents around corners, though with less plausible deniability than I imagined. I have to think this is your last and best hope for getting that bag out of the tree. But even if you take the bag out of the tree, can you really take the tree out of the bag?

– Yes you can, Rachel


Dear Rachel,

Why are the two notebook scales called “wide ruled” and “college ruled?” Wide I can understand. But “college” is not a standard measure of distance. Shouldn’t it be “normal ruled” or “standard ruled?” Do they use college-ruled paper in trade schools? Is it called “uni-ruled” in other countries that don’t use the word “college” like we do? And come to think of it, why isn’t wide-ruled paper called “K-12 ruled?”

– Benevolent Ruler

Dear Narrow Ruled,

This puzzle has never been solved, because we first must solve the case of the #2 pencil. I submit that you have never held a #1 pencil or a #3 pencil. So why must every standardized test require the #2? Are test scanners so sensitive to pencil numbers that we cannot deviate from them? I say, make kids take tests in ink as practice for voting, while voting still lasts. Or, take tests in blood, which is so much easier to come by than ear wax.

– Your #2 columnist, Rachel

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