I read too many science fiction books and watch too many science fiction films. As a result, I spend more time than I should contemplating what I would do in the event of a zombie, robot, or artificial intelligence (AI) apocalypse. It’s not that I’m a doomsday prepper, you understand, because that would require some effort on my part. My meandering musings are more of an intellectual pursuit.  

Keep Eating the Magic Mushrooms

One thing to consider is where we would get our vitamins while on the run. Take vitamin D, for example. Our bodies are designed to get the vitamin D they need by producing it when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight.
Wild Mushrooms
Sadly, it appears that my sitting in front of three flickering 28″ monitors doesn’t cut the mustard, so my doctor has instructed me to take a vitamin D capsule every day, but what should I do in the event of an apocalypse once my supply of capsules has been exhausted? By some strange quirk of fate, it seems that mushrooms might be the key, because you can make your own supply of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms by exposing them to sunlight. At first, I thought this was a young wives’ tale — because it was told to me by my young wife, Gina the Gorgeous — but I had a quick Google while no one was looking and quickly ran across this article on the Internet (if it’s on the Internet, it has to be true). Of course, when hunting mushrooms in the wild, the next problem is going to be learning to tell the vitamin D enriched edible varieties from their vitamin D enriched poisonous counterparts, but I’ve already wearied my brain worrying for the day, so I’ll ponder this point later.  

A Small Aquatic Bird of the Family Anatidae

A month or so ago, one of my closest friends — we’ll call him John (because that’s his name) — emailed me to tell me that he’d just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. This was terrible news. John and I have known each other since our teens, we email back and forth, and we meet up for a beer or three whenever I travel back to England to visit my dear old mom.
Wild duck
I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to mind was that I would really like for the two of us to go to the lake at a park in Sheffield to feed the ducks and chat about this and that. The second thought that popped into my mind was the book Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by the late, great Douglas Adams — the part where Dirk says, “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands.” Who amongst our number would argue with logic like this? But we digress… Once I’d cleared Dirk Gently out of my noggin, I emailed John to say, “When I next come to Sheffield, I’d like for you and I to go to the duck pond at the park so I can throw you in we can feed the ducks and chat” (I thought he’d get a laugh at the “throw you in” part because he wouldn’t be expecting it). Almost immediately, John replied, “Yes to the ducks!”  

A Socking Surprise

Recently, I had a rather socking surprise. Before we go there, however, I should note that I used to be a tad boring in the sock department. You, of course, know me for my colorful Hawaiian shirts (we need not mention my outrageous good looks, amazing wit, and the fact that I’m a trend-setter and leader of fashion). What you may not know is that, over the past couple of years, I have also become a devotee of brightly colored socks. This change was instigated by Gina presenting me with a gift card to a department store in town, accompanied by instructions that I need not return home until I’d purchased a new pair of jeans. Whilst I was meandering my weary way around the store, I stumbled across an alluring, beguiling, enticing display of argyle socks (and it’s not often you hear yourself say that) — so tantalizing and tempting, in fact, that I was moved to invest in a couple of pairs.
Assorted argyle socks
Since that time, I’ve never looked back. My old gray socks have been consigned to the dismal depths of my wardrobe, while their flamboyant cousins clamor for my attention in my chest of drawers. Each morning, I reach into my sock drawer and pull out two socks at random (this saves time sorting and means each day is a new experience). Although it may sound silly, donning a pair of colorful socks and picking the Hawaiian shirt of the day makes me happy (I also have to remember to pull on underwear and trousers before leaving the house). Now, I like to think that I am the master of my own mind. I also like to think that I’m fair and impartial. So, you can only imagine my surprise and consternation a few days ago when I realized that I always put the most pleasing sock of the random pair on my right foot. I was the sort of kid who, if he saw a rock sitting alone on the beach, would pick it up and move it over to a cluster of other rocks so it wouldn’t get lonely (sometimes I have to restrain myself even now). The point of this portion of my meandering musings is that I feel guilty for the way I’ve been mistreating my left foot, and I now go out of my way to ensure it has first dibs on the most alluring sock.  

What’s Socks Got to Do with It?

A couple of weeks ago, John emailed me to say that he’d mounted a “Fight Cancer” pin board on his wall, and he was asking his close friends to send something funny, encouraging, or inspirational to pin to the board. I cogitated and ruminated on this for a while until a light bulb went off in my head. “The answer is socks!” I cried. I don’t know why the people at the supermarket gave me all those funny looks. Of course, I couldn’t give John a pair of my old socks (my precious-esssss), so I purchased a pack of new ones from Amazon (these are the little rascals shown in the previous image). I quickly selected one matched pair that I liked, and then I spent an inordinate amount of time choosing two disparate socks to build an unmatched pair that was pleasing to my eye. Next, I sent these little scamps to John along with an accompanying letter, part of which read as follows: […] When I look back on the years of our friendship (it will be half a century in around five years’ time), it saddens me to realize that I have no idea as to your taste in socks […] On the off chance you have not yet sampled the delight of colorful socks, please find enclosed a matched pair. It may be best to start off wearing them for only 30 minutes at a time until you get up to speed […] The unmatched pair are to be pinned in the center of your “Fight Cancer” board. By some strange quirk of fate, I have a pair just like them (what are the odds?). When I next come over to Sheffield, we can both wear our unmatched socks when we go out to feed the ducks (let any innocent bystanders think what they will) […]
Unmatched Argyle Socks
Just this morning as I pen these words, John emailed me to say, “The socks have landed!” This was accompanied by a picture showing the unmatched pair pined proudly to his “Fight Cancer” board. Meanwhile, my corresponding pair is secreted in a special hiding place awaiting their call to action. These socks will not mount my feet until the day John and I have our appointment with destiny at the duck pond (and it’s not often you’ll hear me say that). Eeek! I just thought of a problem. Suppose John and I both wear the yellowish socks on our left feet and the greenish socks on our right feet, or vice versa? Will this cause people to raise their eyebrows at our fashion faux pas? It may be best for us to coordinate things such that, whichever color John wears on his left foot, I don that color on my right. Apart from anything else, deferring to John on the choice of feet means that it won’t be my fault if my left foot doesn’t care for the sock that falls its way. Now I fear I must away to Max’s World, where the colors are brighter, the butterflies are bigger, the flowers smell sweeter, the birds sing louder, and the beer runs plentiful and cold. As always, any comments will be gratefully received.