PAVLOVIAN BRIEFING
Honey v. Vinegar

Sept. 14 - My best friend and I turned 17 within a month of each other in 1982. It was time to register for the selective service. We were, obviously, seventeen years old. Less obviously, but not surprisingly, we were absolute ass-hats.

We drew peace signs and yin-yangs and flowers—yes, for the love of God, flowers!—all over our registration cards. We wrote "peace" and "love" and snappy little hippie slogans all over them.

A week later my friend turned to me and said, "We're idiots." He was right, and I knew he was right, but a lot had happened and there was a lot going on and I wasn't sure which particular context he was referring to.

"Say they start the draft again and you're one of these Pentagon assholes who's supposed to draw names randomly out of a barrel or whatever to draft 'em into the army. You got this whole barrel a names in front a ya. You look down and there's a card with a buncha flowers and peace signs and shit all over it. Tell me that's not the first card you're gonna pick!"

He was right and we both knew it. Hold that thought.

* * *

I had no sooner posted yesterday's Almanac than Trine asked if she should call the Naming Authority (or whoever) yet again to follow up on our request for approval to give our daughter the name we want to give her. I said she might as well.

A few moments a later she said we had to send them a letter explaining why we want to name our daughter Molli rather than Molly.

I immediately drafted a letter, in English, that I considered worthy of immediate submission. Here it is:

To whom it concerns,

We would like to name our daughter Molli Malou Kammer Nagan. She is more than ten weeks old now and we have been calling her Molli since well before she was born. It is her name and she has voiced no objections to it.

Should she express a desire to change her name in the future, we would not stand in her way.

If you wish to change her name, perhaps you could explain to her and to us the basis for your recommendation. Discussion could move forward from there.

Most sincerely,

Greg Nagan
Trine Kammer
Molli Malou Kammer Nagan

Trine asked if I was absolutely determined to make an enemy of whatever clerk read our letter. How would I feel if Molli had to be Molly just because I got pissy in a letter to some clerk? My mother, here on loan from Connecticut, concurred.

Much as I hate to say it, my wife and my mother have got it all backwards. Molli is already Molli. She is always going to be Molli. (Unless she changes her name on her own.) All the Danish government can do at this point is issue a bunch of papers that misspell her name. They're the ones making an enemy of me.

I'll turn 40 next March. It will have been 23 years since I doodled all over my selective service card. What have I learned? Not a goddam thing.

Or maybe I have. My letter never made it into the mail, after all. The letter we mailed was some diplomatic, milksoppy thing of Trine's composition. It will raise no hackles and ruffle no feathers. The dreaded Anonymous Clerk will presumably glance it over, find no cause for objection, and stamp it with a big "Approved" stamp.

Presumably...

Pavlovian Drool

Ivan Pavlov was born on this date in 1849. Pavlov was a Russian scientist who discovered that dogs drooled whenever bells were rung. Only after his death were his ideas discredited by a group of Swedish scientists who determined that dogs also drooled when bells were not rung. In the decades since, science has repeatedly and conclusively demonstrated that dogs will sometimes drool and sometimes not drool.

Holidays and Birthdays

Today is the birthday of Sam Neill (1947), Joey Heatherton (1944), Nicol Williamson (1938), Harve Presnell (1933), Clayton Moore (1914) and, of course, the aforementioned Pavlov.

It's the Battle of San Jacinto Day in Nicaragua.

Happy Tuesday!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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