Dave Simpson: Who Are These Strange People, Anyway?

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "People as nearby as Nebraska are already mowing their lawns. But we've still got the snowblower gassed up and ready to go, waiting for a Mother's Day blizzard. And the wind is howling like a banshee."

Dave Simpson

April 08, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

This is the time of year when “these people” start showing up.

It's a cranky time of year. People as nearby as Nebraska are already mowing their lawns. But we've still got the snowblower gassed up and ready to go, waiting for a Mother's Day blizzard. And the wind is howling like a banshee.

Cabin fever sets in, and little things start to get on your nerves.

That's when “these people” start showing up.

For instance, you know that cellophane that's right under the lid of your pint container of sour cream or cottage cheese? For years now, my instinct has been to rip it off. My wife of 39 years, however, prefers that it remain in place, lest our hard-earned, on-fixed- income sour cream or cottage cheese go to waste.

But, I've never seen sour cream go to waste for lack of cellophane. What's it going to do, go sour?

Not a big deal, though. Not worth an argument that starts with the dreaded “why” word. As in, “Why do we have to leave this stupid layer of cellophane on the sour cream?”

Those are fighting words. Best avoided. Instead, we blame “these people.”

So she might say, “I don't understand THESE PEOPLE who throw away the cellophane from the sour cream.” As if strangers come into our house in the middle of the night and throw away the cellophane from our sour cream. As if they've been doing it for years.

It gives a spouse plausible deniability, as if you've been wondering about that, too. “Darned  if I know who'd do a crazy thing like that,” you can reply. And yet, the arm's length admonition has been delivered.

It's the same with loading the dishwasher. I know of no married couple that loads a dishwasher the same way. There are so many options. Where do the smaller plates go, the coffee cups, the turkey baster? I think God made opposites attract when it comes to loading dishwashers, because He has a sense of humor. He's enjoying this.

Every morning when I unload the dishwasher, I can see she re-arranged the things I put in the day before, when she added the dinner dishes and fired up the dishwasher.

And I'm wont to say – loud enough to be heard, but just barely - “I don't know who THESE PEOPLE are who put the cutting board perpendicular to the silverware, when anyone can see that it clearly goes parallel to the knife, fork and spoon basket.”

(Don't get me started on soup bowls.)

Same with the laundry. She gave up asking me to turn my t-shirts right-side out when I throw them in the laundry. When I take them off, they turn inside out, but I've got more important things to think about than t-shirts. (Probably preoccupied with the cellophane on the sour cream.) Inside out puts the part of the t-shirt that most needs to be washed in the best position to be washed. Besides, I do the laundry about half the time anyway, and I turn t-shirts right-side out when I fold the laundry. So what's the big deal?

But, for years I'd hear her mutter, “I don't know who THESE PEOPLE are who can't be bothered to turn their shirts right-side out when they put them in the laundry.”

And then there are White Castle hamburgers, which I grew up on back east, and you can now get frozen at grocery stores everywhere.

Like loading a dishwasher, almost no married couples I know agree on White Castle hamburgers. For me, they're like caviar, or the finest pampered goose liver from France. But my wife disagrees. She says unkind things about their small size, and the distinctive taste. (Not a surprise, because I once saw her put mustard on one, which any White Castle aficionado knows is, well, blasphemy. Perish the thought.)

So I only indulge myself when she's out of town. I  buy a box of frozen White Castles, and savor four or five of them, with onion rings and a chocolate shake. Not as good as at a White Castle restaurant, obviously, but a culinary delight nonetheless.

Five Stars.

As I'm polishing off the last one, I'm always thinking:

“Who are THESE PEOPLE who don't love White Castles?”

Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@hotmail.com

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.