Linda Stamper Boyne: Dude, do we sneeze in our sleep? |

Linda Stamper Boyne: Dude, do we sneeze in our sleep?

Linda Stamper Boyne
Vail, CO, Colorado

People let me tell you, I’m what is known as a thinker – sometimes an overthinker – but truly, I really do think about stuff. Occasionally, the stuff is important, but frequently, it’s really of no great consequence. But still, I give it thought.

Sometimes when I let my mind wander, and I’m not really thinking about anything in particular, it fills with questions. Not usually burning questions. Not the kind that can bring about great change or that you’ll think about all day.

No, these questions are the ones that float to the top, become conscious thoughts for a few moments and then just evaporate away. Questions such as:

1. Why has packaging on consumer products gotten so difficult to get in to? I bought a Sonicare toothbrush the other day and couldn’t figure out how to open the heavy plastic packaging to get it out. I actually read every word on the entire package trying to discern if I missed a simple “press here” or directions on how to disassemble the hermetically sealed plastic casing. So I went after it with scissors, nearly destroyed the toothbrush, broke my scissors and still hadn’t gotten it out.

Or the other kind of packaging that affixes the item to its little cardboard platform with so many wire-cored twist ties it’s tied down stronger than a fighter jet on the deck of the USS Nimitz. Does that Nerf gun packaging really need to be able to withstand the elements of the North Sea? You need wire cutters and high-level security clearance just to remove it.

2. Why have people suddenly started calling me “dude”? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there is any occasion that I in any way resemble a dude. I have always assumed that term referred to a person of the male persuasion. Has “dude” become a unisex greeting? Perhaps a universal term of affection? If so, please exempt me from the dude-ship.

3. Do we sneeze while we’re sleeping? Clearly if we do, it doesn’t wake us up. But if we don’t, why not? It seems like a logical time to do it, since we can’t keep our eyes open when we sneeze. And the same things that trigger us to sneeze during the day are still present in our bodies, aren’t they? Or do they just magically go dormant at night?

4. Who in the U.S. government decided in the early ’70s to convert our country to the metric system and then changed his mind? I want names, because they messed me up. During that critical math-basics learning period, I was taught yards and pounds and cups and then told to forget all that and learn meters and kilos and liters. And then they said, “Never mind. Go back to the old stuff.” So none of it stuck! I have to look up any conversion I ever do. How many teaspoons in an ounce? Number of cups in a pint? Or a quart? And which one is larger? I have no clue. Thankfully, I can just ask my kids now.

5. Why is it the song that you really can’t stand is the one that gets stuck in your head on an endless loop? And no matter what you do, you can’t replace it with something you enjoy. It just re-emerges out of the depths of your subconscious to assault your senses again and again and again. Make it stop! I don’t care if the Jonas Brothers are “Burnin’ Up.” I don’t’ want hear about it!

6. How come mothers can find any misplaced or lost item? Is it some sort of maternal GPS that kicks in, a hormonal shift that occurs, forever changing the location skills portion of the brain? Because it never seems to go away. My mom can still find stuff I’ve lost, even from Oregon.

Whether the answers to these queries are necessary is really not the point. I just think it’s important that these questions just be raised, discussed, considered, shared, given their moment.

Or not.

Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through

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