Mental Floss

Friday Happy Hour: Recasting Your Childhood

Jason English

Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else's reply, whatever you want. Very casual. On to this week's topics of discussion...

1. Let's pretend you were granted the power to go back and alter your childhood in one important respect—the ability to add or reduce your number of siblings. Would you give yourself more brothers or sisters? Fewer?

2. We haven't posted a "Best _____ of the Decade" question in a while. What invention this decade has had the greatest impact on your life?

3. Back in middle school, I had a teacher who really wanted to be Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society. But his attempts to liven up the curriculum usually made everyone uncomfortable. "What's the hardest part about being a doctor?" he'd ask during a discussion on Mark Twain. After an interminable silence and a few very wrong sympathy guesses, he'd toss about an answer: "The hardest part about being a doctor is how long you have to stand up during surgery." Then we'd return to Tom Sawyer. He asked these kinds of questions every class.

What's a bizarre/lovable quirk of one of your old teachers?

4. (I need to channel my inner Andy Rooney for this one.)

Don't you hate the pound sign? No, wait, that's not what I want to talk about.

This is: Two times on Tuesday, I witnessed something I'm really hoping doesn't catch on—people who pulled over to talk on their cell phones. Let me clarify, I'm not talking about people who pull off the road to take or make a call. That's great. But in Tuesday's cases, on roads without shoulders, the drivers simply stopped what they were doing (driving) to answer their phones. (At first I thought they must be stranded. But in both cases, ten minutes later they were gone.) Whatever the penalty is for using a cellphone behind the wheel should be doubled for this unspeakable act of self-obsession. Your turn to play Andy. What's something that's bugging you?

[See all the previous Friday Happy Hour transcripts.]