THE BLOG

Doing Still More Dumb Stuff

02/03/2014 05:28 pm ET | Updated Apr 05, 2014

Just yesterday, I was at the bank trying to deposit a few checks. I say, "trying" because one of them was made out to both my wife and me and I was the only one there to sign the back. My wife and I frequently sign each other's names so this would have presented no problem if only I'd caught the need for two signatures before the teller did. But now she knew and there was no way I'd be allowed to make life simpler and the world turn more smoothly for all concerned. It was her watch and she was watching. The exasperating part of all this was the wildly absurd assumption that somebody somewhere was actually going to check and would then be able to tell that both signatures were made by the same felonious hand. What a crock!

I can't always tell if it was me that signed something and I certainly don't find it surprising that both sides in forgery cases regularly produce handwriting experts who swear that it is/isn't really Hitler's signature. In an age when fingerprints, eye scans, DNA chips and all sorts of foolproof identification are available, why does the illiterate guy still have to make an X on a piece of paper to make it legal? And that's my point. Isn't it strange that such glaring examples of nonsense are destined to exist in perpetuity only because they exist?

Surely there can't be any other reason for the @ in each and every email address. There I am, holding a business card in one hand and pecking out a bunch of lower case numbers and letters with the other when suddenly, right in the middle, Ut-Oh I have to use two hands for the upper case @. If Al Gore is so smart that he invented the Internet, how come he didn't see that one coming? And if Bill Gates is so rich and so keen on doing good, why doesn't he fund an effort to change the @ to a = or a / or some other one-handed symbol? He'd save countless yet unborn generations from having to put the card down and then pick it up again.

And while he's at it, how about turning the average kitchen into a more user friendly spot? Why not hook all stoves to a thermostat and an altimeter? Low, Medium and High doesn't cut it when you want to make your brownies at 375 and you live a mile up in Denver. And if refrigerators work best at 8 degrees above freezing, wouldn't it be nice to have that number close to hand? Since you can arrange the scale anyway you like, why not make freezing zero and boiling 100? Guess what, the Celsius thermometer already does that but for some weird reason we use the Fahrenheit model with an arbitrary 32 for freezing and 212 for boiling. Go figure. And while we're cooking, how many teaspoons in half a cup...or cups in a quart? The metric system would resolve all that along with telling us if three ounces of honey means weight or volume.

If, after all that, you need a dram (whatever that is) of scotch be sure to add some water. That's the way the Scotch drink it and they should know. Except that, because we talk of proof instead of percent, our Cutty Sark already comes with more than half the bottle full of water.

There was a time when the priests made simple things as complicated as possible as a means of keeping their seemingly magical powers hidden. What's our excuse today? I haven't seen a priest in my kitchen in years.