———- from Ben DeJean of Los Angeles, CA
It’s a match for the belching noise made by seals. Marine folklore tells us that such sounds have been used as navigational aids since at least the Middle Ages. The belching of a seal was the only sound that could be heard over the drunken carousing of sailors, and their frequent ‘Argh Arghs’ and ‘Shiver Me Timbers.’ Modern lighthouses no longer use real seals, but use a digital sample of ‘Slimy’ the great Seal of the North, who lived for almost 40 years at the National Bureau of Standards, in Bethesda, Maryland.
———- from Brain Baird of Waldo, Arkansas
It’s a fungus, of course. The fact that you’ve let your oral hygiene slip this far does not bode well for your social life. Although some folks from Missouri and Arkansas still consider tooth brushing an effete affectation by over-civilized snobs, most Americans have come to grips with the necessity to brush and floss at regular intervals. Perhaps you do too, although your conception of an interval may be unique. Try gargling with hydrogen peroxide and paint thinner. One or the other ought to do the trick.
While traveling through New England, I encountered roadside signs stating ‘Caution! Entering Low Salt Area’. Isn’t a diet high in salt bad for you?
———- from Alan Stacy of Walnut Creek, CA
Sure it is. The stunted stature and narrow provincialism so evident in New England has its source in such a high salt diet. The laws of fluid dynamics dictate that osmotic pressure will increase in a low salt environment, an event which could prove disastrous to those entering from the relatively salt-free states to the south and west. It’s hard to keep your mood and self respect intact when you’re surrounded by an impenetrable wall of ski resorts, claustrophobic cafes, expensive restaurants and that never-ending canopy of trees. That’s what I remember about new England. The grotesque, and grasping trees, the toll roads, the traffic. I can’t recall the salt.
I’ve heard that psychiatrists sell reality by the hour. Is it really theirs to sell? Do they charge sales tax?
———- from Jerry Durand of Los Gatos, CA
The sale of reality is exempt from sales tax in 40 of the 50 states, and our free market allows the sale of generalized concepts to anyone foolish enough to buy them. Most psychiatrists are excellent salespeople, in fact some of the pioneers of modern psychiatry also sold household appliances door to door, just to keep their skills honed. Jung achieved fame by selling refrigerators to Eskimos. You might argue that we each already have a stake in reality, so there’s no need to purchase more, but that reminds me of the time one of my ex-wives had a garage sale, and I found myself buying my own personal belongings a second time. Sometimes life’s funny that way.
———- from Tina Smith of Sunderland, MA