Did you do a double take after you read the title of today’s column? One can only hope.

In case you are wondering, today’s column will not discuss actual bellybutton stuffing. Navel lint of the contemplative kind refers to the flotsam and jetsam of thoughts popping into our minds as we observe people and their behavior. Overall, our subjects, also known as humanoid guinea pigs, are quite entertaining, but sometimes contradictory and puzzling as well.

For example, what comes to your mind when you look at a football player? We do not mean the kicker, but rather the behemoth offensive line standing between the quarterback and the opposing team’s defense. And ladies, the answer is not how well the guys fill those snug uniforms.

The average person may say the guys are tough, fearless, macho and perhaps even good looking. But when the television cameras move in for a close-up, those big, burly men are chewing on man-sized pacifiers. The usual response to this observation is the football players are gnawing on protective mouth guards designed to keep their pearly whites intact. Sorry to burst your bubble, but whatever the official name may be, they look like giant, colorful pacifiers, and that dear reader is an emasculating visual.

Not too long ago, college football teams vied to appear in the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl. Then the moneygrubbers had a brilliant idea; more bowl games translate into more money for the colleges and the broadcasters. As a result, some enterprising people decided to toss out college football bowl seeds.

Consequently, the plethora of bowl games available for your viewing pleasure is exhausting and overdone. Aside from the obvious financial benefits to the various institutions, could all the lesser bowls be the college football equivalent of a participation trophy? In this writer’s mind, quantity negates quality.

The holidays are a time to gather with loved ones (and in some cases tolerated ones), but the added gift manifests in Emergency Rooms. Before the holidays, ER waiting rooms are relatively empty. However, after the holidays the same waiting rooms are full of patients with the flu or a variety of other contagious infections.

It is curious to note that what draws people together also creates opportunities for getting sick. As Hubby so aptly put it, “Hugs are just a way to exchange germs.” If you consider the number of people we hug during family gatherings, the potential for germ sharing is exponential.

Another unfortunate trend also happens around the holidays. Far too often we lose loved ones during the holidays. The time we equate with happiness rather than sorrow.  It seems as though the Fates or some vengeful demigod decides to stir the brew of contentment with a pinch of misery.

There are a couple of navel lint items that fall under the category of “it should never have happened.”

Our first entry is the remote control. Before the remote appeared in living rooms, changing the channel required getting up out of your chair, walking across the room and turning the dial to the desired station. This handy gadget changes channels at the touch of a button. Television viewers do not need to move from their chairs, except to grab snacks during commercials.

The holder of the remote control becomes possessed. He or she cannot help but push the buttons during commercial breaks. Channels change, and stories merge into a hodgepodge creating a meltdown of frustrations among those left without power.

You cannot help but notice that now every appliance not only beeps at us, but some also have remote controls. Too bad there is no such gadget available to aim at annoying people.

One of the most mind-numbing programs foisted upon the population is 24/7 news.

Watch any television channel, national, cable or local, or listen to news on the radio for even a couple of hours. What do you notice during those two hours? It is the repetition of the same few stories.

When this writer emailed a local television and a local radio station complaining about their regurgitated news policy, the news directors’ explanation produced smoke emissions from our cranial orifices.

According to the news directors, most people do not watch or listen to the news for longer than a few minutes a day. Therefore, the stations pick and choose a few news stories and repeat them all day. One wonders what newsworthy tidbits are omitted just to make things simple for the various news departments.

The most annoying aspect of mental navel lint is the intellectual complacency, a direct result of 24/7 snippets of information.

Contrary to the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” Ignorance is the real root of negativity and hatred. It is far easier to accept what we hear than to check and verify everything through several and diverse sources.

The intellectually complacent and self-absorbed folk find it easier to jump off the cliff with the other blissfully ignorant lemmings.

May their crash landing on reality be minimally painful.






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