I had a particularly surreal moment with a fifth grade group last week.  We’d read a passage about white settlers and Native Americans, and I was trying to help them grasp that the crux of their beliefs about land ownership were so different that they could not mesh.  I could tell the kids weren’t quite with me so, as I’m wont to do, I veered off into unchartered territory and rolled the dice.

I asked the young lady across from me if deep inside she felt like a girl.  A little confused, she answered yes.  When I asked if she’d always known, down to her core, that she was a girl she laughed and said, “Yeah!”  Then I said, “Okay, so if I told you that tomorrow I need you to be a boy, could you do that?  Could you flip all your switches so deep down you felt like a boy?”  I was in the middle of comparing this situation that that of the settlers and Shawnee when the boy to my right burst in with, “Well, we all started as girls, you know.  That’s why we have nipples!”

Jesus take the wheel.

I managed to get us back on track after assuring a blushingly riotous group of kids we’d be discussing neither nipples nor biology that day.  Sometimes these things come with rolling the dice.  But you know what it did remind me of?  My random men mysteries list.

So here are just a few of the things that made me say hmmmm.

**  Cars.  Oh, for the love of Pete, cars.  What is up with this all encompassing, ever enthralling, head snap inducing appeal of cars?!  I hate to generalize (though you’ll see that’s not going to stop me), but I’m fairly certain BrightSide’s extensive knowledge of all things Car is not unique among men.  Anyone who can ID a vehicle’s make and model from fifty yards at dusk freaks me out just a little.  Ditto for someone who can discuss the last decade of design changes.  Then again, that person would be incredibly useful at the scene of a crime, so there’s that.

**  Lawns.  If I didn’t get the car obsession then I really don’t get the infatuation with lawns.  First of all, I can’t say I’ve ever really fixated on grass – how the yard looks, how long the grass is – these are both things that fly below my radar.  So if I don’t give a hoot about the grass itself then you can imagine how invested I am in the machine designed to cut said grass, and yet I’ve heard guys talk about this stuff for hours.  What kind of grass is planted, fertilizer pros and cons, scheduling proper aeration, the beauty of perfectly mowed rows…and then there’s the chorus of heavenly angels who chime in when discussion turns to the glory of a zero turn mower. Ahhhhhhhhh…Amen and hallelujah.

**  Attention.  Listen, don’t talk to me about multitasking.  I learned that one the hard way after all these years.  But even when I mute all other sources of noise or distraction…and when I call a certain someone’s name…and when I make actual eye contact before asking a question, I still get a “what?” 50% of the time.  I mean, what is that about?!  Does that “what?” mean “I didn’t hear you” or “I don’t know what that means” or “I’m processing what you just said”?  Whichever it might be it still means I’m rolling into round two of my question.  Now what I’d really like to know is how the same guy who responds with “what?” can intelligently discuss the last ten years’ worth of Masters tournaments.

**  Farts.  Honestly, when it comes right down to it, what else is there to say?