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A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity… Part 2

August 6, 2010

It is time again for a small edition of “A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity”. I hope you enjoy…
Lessons 11 – 15.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 11: How to easily install your new (and inexpensive) car stereo, after those old one has been permanently removed.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 12: Using your wood-shop skills from high school to repair your bumper for $50 instead of having an auto body shop do it for $500. (Who said you shop class would not be useful later in life?)

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 13: How to avoid the use of extension cords when using an outlet in a neighboring room.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 14: How to heat your coffee even after your stove-top is broken.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 15: How to keep driving in the rain even after your windshield wiper motor fails. (It might get you home, but steering is going to be a bit tricky.)

Image Sources:
An e-mail from a friend.

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The Grass is Always Greener

August 5, 2010

I’ve heard this saying for years, and at times I myself have said it to others. As a philosophy, it makes absolutely no sense. I think that if people feel that way about their life it is a result of their own poor choices, which is solely their fault and then need to own that and move past it. If they try to compare their grass to someone else, then that is clearly one of the key problems they suffer from and need to work on.

Today though, I am referring to this saying in a very literal… archaic translation, but literal all the same. Instead of literal, let’s go with a loose translation. I’ll get to that literal portion in a minute. The thing is, I hate yard work, and by hate I mean hate hate. Much in the same way Attila the Hun hated people telling him to use a napkin and utensils when he would eat. Yard work has always been that daunting task that loomed overhead when the weekend rolled around. This included things like weeding, trimming trees, planting flowers, edging, and the always tedious mowing of the lawn.

I don’t mind the outdoors, and I’m always fascinated by the raw beauty of nature. It’s just as a participant there in I usually try my best to stay clear of direct sunlight when I’m experiencing nature due to a skin condition. I believe the Latin’s call it sunburnus alloverus easilus. The invention of SPF enriched goo’s and creams have helped legions of people with the same skin condition exist and interact more in naturesque shade-free areas. I mean what did we have before that? Coconut oil, and all that did was make you smell really good when you would get sun cooked while wearing it, causing those less evolved and nostril motivated to want to eat you.

I know that for some, yard work is the cat’s meow, the marshmallow in your rice crispy treat, or the Bailey’s in your White Russian. It’s like seeing a bear in its natural habitat… a Studebaker. (I watched the Muppet Show recently and have been wanted to use that line ever since.) I for one am very grateful for people like that. Mainly because it allows me to hire someone to do something they love, so that I can avoid doing something I hate. It’s a rather brilliant exchange, one of which I have just started to partake in after all these years of begrudgingly working in the yard. It’s clear my yard knows how I feel about caring for it. It’s clear to everyone on my block, because it’s burned, withered, and tarnished. So believe me when I tell you that in my neighborhood the grass really is quite literally greener on the other side of the fence.

Now some people might consider yard work one of those must dos when they become a home owner. It might even be one of those relationship expectations, commonly expected to be completed bi-weekly by the more masculine in the relationship. Well if that’s the case, I say put a bow in my hair and call me Ethel. Fortunately my cutie-baby-sweetie-pie and I share the intense abrasion toward working on, in, or around our yard. So with our new yard guy it’s amazing how joyous we have become by simply giving that task to someone else who is happy to do it.

It removes any grumbling about mowing the lawn, or “I did it last week, it’s your turn this week” or any pointless petty conversations that can arise because we both feel the same way about yard work. Some might grumble about the cost, but seriously $60 a month for not only peace of mind, but the joy that comes with the knowledge that you don’t have to do it is more than worth it. Besides, the 2+ hours it would take me to work on the lawn is now 2+ hours I can spend working on my book(s), or even writing a weekend Smirk for others to read and get a giggle or two from.

If you hate yard work as much as I do, hire it out, trust me on this. You will be amazed at the joy it can bring into your life, and you’ll thank you, the person you hire will thank you, your partner will thank you, and your lawn will thank you, which is a lot of thanks for a relatively simple and effective solution.

What are you feelings about yard work?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: grass is greener, tan lines, Fozzy in Studebaker, and jumping for joy.

Allergic to Cute – Part 2

August 3, 2010

This actually started as a side thought while I was working on the “Allergic to Cute” Smirk I did yesterday. With the Allergic to Cute post now over a day old, I can confidently say that it is a documented fact that cute fuzzy things evoke in us an impulse to uncontrollably squeeze them. And by documented fact, I mean it’s a fact that I have documented this human condition. Now take away all the fur, and add rolls of chubbiness and keep the adorability level at high and what happens with this impulse? Babies are associated with this allergic to cute concept, but the reaction is a little different. The desire to squeeze subsides, but the uncontrollable desire to eat them comes to the surface in full force.

On Sunday my ten month old nephew was with his mom over for dinner. After dinner concluded, I found myself holding the kid while his mom was getting his bottle ready. I noticed that while I was sitting there holding on to his roly poly little arms, I had a sudden urge to bite him. Not in a “Braiiiins!” way, but more of a “I just wanna eat you!” jovial way. I even went so far as to take one of his pudgy hands and put it in my mouth just so I could feel the baby skin next to my teeth. It was oddly soothing and satisfying and removed as desire to what to make a snack out of him.

I know I’m not alone in this too. I see people doing this all the time with cubby babies. I would dare say it is a worldwide practice. People are always putting baby feet or hands into their mouths and lightly gnawing on them. Some even make a game out of pretending to eat up the baby whole, complete with “chomp, chomp, chomp” noises they make while miming the actions. I makes me wonder if blowing on a baby’s tummy is really a game to get the little thing to giggle, or is it actually an attempt to vibrationally tenderize the baby, which I think would only add to its adorability and yumminess levels. There is also the arm biting where people will grab the baby’s arm and start lightly gnawing on it like it were corn on the cob.

I’m not saying we should begin baby consumption, although we do take part in this already at certain levels… namely eggs, oh and caviar, which I guess is still eggs. There is also the veal eaters, which most people agree belong right above “that couple that bring their baby to a 9 PM showing of a rated R movie and refuses to take them out of the theater when it wakes up and starts to cry” people on the All-Time Most Despised People list. Yes veal eaters are worse than the crying baby at movie people.

On a literary level, the one thing that this realization has done for me is allow me to connect with the witch in Hansel and Gretel a little more. I have no plans on changing my views on the outcome of the story. I just I understand her motivations a bit more. Did she deserve to be cooked alive in her own stove? Yes. That is what I like to call the golden rule of karma. Now had the kids eaten the witch after she was cooked, then we would have had ironic karma, which is just as good as regular karma only with an additional “ha ha” mixed in with the story telling portion of it.

I guess if I was to leave you with one thing it would have to be… “NO! Don’t eat babies!” There, that should do it. Seriously though, lightly gnawing on babies is fine, but really, that’s it.

Come on, you know you crave gnawing on babies too. Fess up.

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: chubby baby, mom biting baby, and Hansel and Gretel.

Allergic to Cute

August 2, 2010

Have you ever be holding an animal of overwhelming adorability, like a puppy, or bunny, or kitty, or some other little fluffy animal ending with y? Then, as you are holding this ball of cuteness you are hit with this sudden urge, almost as if it were a sugar rush. It comes out of nowhere and the next thing you know you are filled with this intense urge to uncontrollably squeeze this implement (animal) of cuteness. It begins in your jaw, and as the feeling builds up, your jaw starts to clinch shut, tighter and tighter, until the teeth in the back of your mouth begin to ache a little.

Then the urge to squeeze kicks in, but the second it does so does a sort of mussel lock causing your whole body to flex, stopped any over squeezing to occur. While in this moment of impasse you mind is usually filled with the saying, “So are sooo cute! I can’t even stand it!” Sometimes this phrase is actually said to the animal, and other times it stays internal. This seizing moment is kind of like a conflict between instinct and your mental control over instinct. Your instinct is to uncontrollable squeeze this creature of such cuteness magnitude with no inhibitions, but you mind keeps you from doing that so you can continue to bask in a kind of cuteness euphoria.

It’s not just adults, although I think we have better mental control than kids. When kids get a hold of some type of creature of fuzzy cuteness, they will squeeze with no intent to stop, which is usually how they get bit, scratched, kicked, etc. This is why stuffed animals are such a hit for the little people of the world. With stuffed animals kids can release their cuteness overload and squeeze the stuffed animal with worry about harming anything alive in the process.

The reassuring thing is that I know I am not alone in this. I have seen kids and adults both go into these fits of over stimulated cuteness, and I’m grateful for that. It is still a little confusing though. I mean, where does this cuteness overload come from? Is it part of an anti-cuteness gene that science has not yet deciphered? Resulting in, when our cuteness sensors are over stimulated, an uncontrollable urge expel said object of cuteness so that we don’t overload to the point of self expulsion. Perhaps this is where the phrase, “So cute I could die,” comes from.

Because I see this as a bigger issue than it really is, I have given some though to ways that can help suppress this urge to uncontrollably squeeze a creature of cuteness. Here is what I have come up with so far.

Deterrent 1
When the overload feeling begins to build, imagine the animal you are holding as naked… well saved, shaven… without any hair. I think the fur is a direct component in the cuteness overload. When you think of a puppy with no hair you might still think it’s sort of cute or cute-ish, but you will attach more sorrow to the creature instead of cuteness. The result can lower the overload and cause you to feel sorry for the poor little thing instead. It can also cause you to expel such sounds as, “ohhhh” while softly laughing, because even though it’s not funny, it’s still a little funny.

Deterrent 2
Put the creature on the ground and play with it in a way that gives you physical distance from it. If it’s a kitten, have a piece of string you can taunt it with. If it’s a puppy get a tug-a-war rope, or ball, or laser pointer. It seems that direct physical contact with the cute culprit is responsible for the overload buildup. If you are not holding, petting, feeding by hand, etc. you will not experience this buildup.

Deterrent 3
Practice future visualization exercises. Imagine that the animal is now older and willing to pass gas while lying beside or behind the sofa while friends are visiting. It expels an odor so pungent that everyone leaves the room. This self projected future embarrassment should also help to alleviate the cuteness overload buildup.

And that’s all I have at this point. Just remember that it is a common human condition to be suddenly stricken with the urge to uncontrollably squeeze small fluffy animals registering in ultra high levels of adorability. It is also common for your body to experience a quick sudden seize up to keep you from over squeezing these animals. Do not feel bad about this, or think there is anything wrong with you. You are not alone and you are perfectly human. It’s just that I think at some deep genetic level we are all allergic to cute.

If you have any additional cuteness overload deterrents, please share. I for one would love to hear them.

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: puppy, kid with stuffed animal, shaved puppy, and kitten with string.

The Death Wish Fish

July 29, 2010

I was reading a friend’s story a while ago about her pet goldfish who had a high jumping fetish. Jumping so high that landing back in its bowl stopped becoming a viable option. The story ended with her finding the fish laying on the floor one morning and her attempt to save if by getting it back in its bowl. It eventually revived, but it’s near death experience had cured it of its Evel Knievel ways.

There is a statistic that I once heard about goldfish, something about them having a three second or three minute memory… I have no idea if it’s true, but from what I recall there was a three in there somewhere. This may help to explain the incessant fascination goldfish have with the bubbles coming out of that scuba guys treasure chest.

I would like to point out that I am not the only person that has heard this fishy claim from someone else. Even the anti-folk folk singer (which is one of the most confusing music genres I’ve had the pleasure of listening to so far) Ani DiFranco has dedicated lyrics about this very topic. Take her song Little Plastic Castle where she sings in verse two:

“They say goldfish have no memory,
I guess their lives are much like mine,
and the little plastic castle
is a surprise every time,
and it’s hard to say if they’re happy,
but they don’t seem much to mind.”

Cute, catchy, and how that applies to anti-folk, I have no idea. So, is it true? According to Ani “they” think so. Who are “they”? “They” are the “they” that think goldfish don’t remember things. “They” are so sure of this that “they” even have managed to get song lyrics dedicated to share “they’s” belief on it. I, however, am not sold on the idea.

My hesitation to accept this claim begins back in 1994 when I was a broke college student in Northwestern Wyoming. Actually it began five hours away from the college, in a stranger’s house in one of the towns south of Yellowstone National Park. I had made some new friends at school who invited me to join them for a weekend of rock climbing. Being recently smitten with rock climbing, it sounded like an adventure worth having. First thing Saturday morning we were on the road.

Bonnie, the one who invited me, had a friend living in the area we were going to. She had talked to them and they had offered to let us crash at their place for the night. There are two things that stand out in my memory of Bonnie’s friends place. First, they had a keg on tap in their basement. Second, it was my first and only experience with a death wish fish.

After a full day of climbing everyone was exhausted, so falling asleep in a sleeping bag on a rug on a hard concrete floor was not nearly as difficult as one might thing. The friends had a 55-gallon fish tank in the basement, and their pride and joy was a gold fish they had caught in the wild. There was a small spring filled lake in the region, which, because of the spring water coming up from the ground, always stays the same temperature all year around. Even in the middle of winter. Because it was a fresh water lake and always the same temperature people in the area (who had pet fish) had taken to the practice of releasing their pet fish into the lake when they would move away. These friends had gone to this lake to check it out, and ended up bringing home the gold fish in their thermos.

It was a good sized goldfish, about three inches long, but I don’t think it ever took to being back in captivity after being set free. I think this because of the manner in which I was woken up that Sunday morning. I remember hearing what sounded like a wet thump, kind of like the noise a plunger makes when you push it down after it is completely saturated with toilet water… only much quieter, like maybe if it were the toilet in Malibu Barbie’s Dream House. The oddness of the sound got me to open my eyes, but was not enough for me to keep them open. It was only when I noticed a barrage of soft wet flopping sounds that a trigger went off in my head that something was not quite right.

I opened my eyes again and this time sat up and scanned the room. There, about four feet away from me and about two feet from the fish tank was the captive goldfish flopping around on the ground. I looked over to the couch where Bonnie was sleeping and loudly whispered, “Hey Bonnie, their fish!”

“What?” she mumbled as she half opened her eyes.

“The fish made a break for it. Look. Over there,” I told her as I pointed in the direction of the fish.

As she looked over and saw the fish her eyes popped open with a sense of urgency. “Quick, grab it and put back in the tank,” she told me, which sounded a little like a yell because only because we had been whispering and had just woken up, but was actually just her normal talking volume.

It was a request that had never been asked of me before. There are some questions in life that you run through in your mind a few times. This is so you can give them the proper amount of thought. Then, if a situation occurs that results in the question to be asked, you can feel confident with giving your response. This, however, was not one of those times. I had to make a decision on the fly, a fishes life was at stake! So I muttered the first thing that came to my mind, “No. I don’t touch wet fish.”

Bonnie blinked twice, jumped out of her sleeping bag, rushed over to the fish. She scooped it up in her hands, walked over to the tank, and dropped it back in. After making sure the lid was down, she went back to the couch. As she climbed back into her sleeping bag and nestled back down I heard her finally say, “You don’t touch wet fish?” and then started laughing.

A few hours later we were all back up and loading the car to head back to school. Bonnie, after confirming the whole fish thing was not a dream, recited the story to everyone in the house, giggling the whole time at my “I don’t touch wet fish” claim. Everyone laughed and her friends thanked Bonnie for saving their fish… again. Turns out this fish tried to make a dash to freedom at least once a month. Bonnie has been witness to its attempt once before and had put it back in the tank that time as well. Feeding time is its favorite time to make its freedom leap. It had learned that it gets much farther when the top doors are open.

The friends just figured that it was a crazy fish, but I think it just wanted to go back to its lake and be free. Maybe it remembered its time there, and knew that life in a basement, even with a keg on tap, was nothing but a claustrophobic cell when compared to a natural spring lake, full of other orphan fish that had found a home and a family.

Side Note: This whole thing got me thinking about goldfish memory, so I did a little research. According to Wikipedia, which is really just the ramblings of anyone who thinks they know what they are talking about, here is what it said about the memory of a goldfish:

“Goldfish have a memory-span of at least three months…” It goes on to say, “Goldfish can learn tricks, such as the limbo, slalom, fetch and soccer, using positive reinforcement training techniques.”

… I have no idea! Seriously, how do you play fetch with your goldfish? Do you take it to the beach, put it in the water, and throw a tiny Frisbee into the water for it go get and bring back to you? And soccer? Soccer!? No offense, but if I refuse to touch a wet fish I’m certainly not going to kick one. Oh Wikipedia… you and your pretend specialists. Thank you for that.

So, any of you have any high jumping, death wish fish stories of your own?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: goldfish, little plastic castle, rock climbing, goldfish on floor, and I don’t touch goldfish.

Doug Did so you Don’t Have To

July 27, 2010

When working as an Assistant Pastry Chef as a resort in Jackson Wyoming, I worked with a curious man named Doug. We only worked together a few months, but Doug turned out to be one of those characters in life that I will always remember. He was the Pastry Chef that I worked under and was a little, well, let me put it like this, Doug was the closest thing to a reincarnation of Gene Wilder’s performance of Willy Wonka than anyone I have ever, or imagine will ever meet.

Doug was an average height, with naturally ratty-frizzy hair, or it just came across that way because he never did his hair. He also had round wire-rim glasses that framed his thin-blue eyes. Because we worked in the kitchen, we were required to wear a uniform that the resort was kind enough to supply. It consisted of a floppy top chef’s hat, with a white chef’s smock, and black and white checkered pants. Doug took full advantage of this and had not purchased a new pair of pants in over three years. He always wore his chef pants, when working or just going out with friends. Any time they began to wear too thin, he’d just pick up a new pair or two and take them home. The only exception I can think of is when we would go to disco night and he would get dressed up in his favorite secondhand 70s disco garb to go out dancing.

One of the main things I remember about Doug is that he was always offering up little lessons about life. Lesson’s that you would think were common sense, but turned out to be the type of things that apparently he needed to learn firsthand. He was usually so profoundly surprised by these lessons that he would always approach the telling of these lessons with much heartfelt earnest. Feeling that if he could save just one person from making the same mistake he had then life would have been worth living.

Some lessons were very career oriented. For instance things like how to rummage for pots and pans as loudly as possible while cursing profusely. The trick about using baker’s profanity is that it couldn’t sound much like profanity. He introduced me to the use of glottal stops mixed with open larynx yells that could carry vowels and consonants blended together in what sounded a bit like a sick badger getting poked with a spoon. But as long as you started the profanity out with the correct letter sound and clearly pronounced the ending letter, it was considered properly executed baker’s cursing. Apparently, according to Doug, baking is 70% cursing, 20% following the recipe, and 10% remembering to set the timer. In a kitchen, bakers are considered the crazy ones and Doug was very determined not to let me fail that stereotype.

The one lesson that I inevitability share with everyone is his warning about dating psychology majors… but more than that, it was mostly a lesson her learned while dating one. We were working on some fruit tortes, getting them ready for an upcoming Sunday brunch and out of nowhere Doug started with, “Rich, don’t ever… I mean ever, talk about your girlfriend’s mom when you’re making out… with her not her mom I mean.” He didn’t even pause what he was doing.

The statement, however, stopped me in my tracks. The torte was going to have to wait a little while. “I imagine it’s a little difficult to say anything like that when making out,” I replied, “regardless who you are making out with.”

“Well, let’s say in the between moments of making out.”

“What do you mean exactly?”

So Doug started telling me about when he was in college, and a psychology major he had been dating for about two months. Things had taken a few steps towards being a bit more serious than just the occasional booty call. It had even gone so far that he was invited to dinner with her parents when they had been visiting. They were definitely tipping the scales of entering into a relationship.

“One night when I was over at her place we started getting into it a little while on her couch, which was always the foreplay area of her apartment. Well, I had managed to get out of my shirt and all of a sudden, in mid kiss, she stops, pulls back and with a sultry smile asks me if she could ask a question. I told her she already had, but she stopped me and said she was serious.”

He told me that she then explained that she had been learning about the differences between the male and female psyche and learned in one of her books that it was common for men to fantasize about other women during sex.

“Ohhh, this is going to a bad place.” I said to Doug.

“I know! It caught me completely off guard, but there was the prospect that we’d be having sex at the end to I let her keep talking.”

“How could you think that things would end that way?”

“Every night that we spent kissing on her couch had always ended with sex. I didn’t have any reason to believe that that night would end any differently.” He sighed, and continued explaining that she had asked him who he had thought about while they were having sex.

“Is that even true? I mean… she WHAT?”

“Yeah all matter-of-factly, saying the book said it was common for men, like puberty, or breathing, or only cooking cheese stuffed croissants for 30 minutes in a convection oven at 375 or you’ll burn them. Still I went with my initial gut instinct and told her that I only thought about her.”

“And?”

“It didn’t work, no matter how many times I told her. I said over and over again, ‘No baby, I only think about you.’ but she kept telling me she knew differently. Her book had a whole chapter about the very topic. After about twenty minutes of going back and forth she started to get a little annoyed that I wouldn’t tell her. All the while adding that she knew it was what men did and she just wanted to know who I had thought about. She told me it was fine and she was not going to get mad. She ended every sentence with that. Always reminding me that she was not going to get mad.”

“Did she get mad?”

“I began to lose my determination for telling her over and over again, ‘Only you. I only think about you.’ I started to think that maybe if I gave her an answer everything would relax and we could get back down to business. So I started thinking about who I might, or even could, think about while having sex with her. A name did eventually come to me, but I wasn’t sure.”

“You didn’t.”

“Well, ok so I asked her if she’d promise not to get mad. And she reminded me that the whole thing was her idea, reminding yet again that she would not get mad. I asked again just to make sure, ‘Now honey you really promise you won’t get made if I tell you.’ and in the most annoyed her voice had sounded all night told me that she had already said that and to just tell her. So I said, ‘Well, not that it ever happens, but maybe if I had to pick someone that I possibly might, but it never would, but if it did… and remember you promised not to get mad, but well, I maybe, sort of, could have, if I had to, maybe… but I’d never, but maybe I could… well sort of, um, well, you know, maybe your mom.”

My mouth dropped open, but nothing would come out.

“I’ve never had an evening end so abruptly in my entire life,” he added in a tone of pure flabbergasted surprise. “She was really mad!”

I just started laughing. Doug began smiling, but it was the little kid smile where they tell you something in complete seriousness, but it strikes everyone listening as so funny that everyone begins to laugh and the little kid begins smiling in an effort to fit in, but are a little confused about what was so funny. Then I told Doug, “I promise I will never tell any woman, ever, anywhere, ever, that I fanaticize about their… you realize that this is another one of those things you need to put on your list of things to talk to a shrink about should you ever get one.”

“Yeah maybe, but I figure it’s an important enough lesson that I should share it with others first.”

“Thanks Doug,” I chuckled. “Lesson learned.” And soon we were back to work.

Even though I’ve completely lost contact with Doug, he is one of those characters in my life that I’ll never forget. It’s been over fifteen years now since he shared that story with me, and that’s how long I’ve been sharing it with others. It’s worth the telling and has a moral that I feel will never grow old, because as long as there is someone out there that it willing to ask that kind of question, there is going to be someone like Doug that is going to be willing to answer it. So please, feel free to share this story with others, so we can help protect the Doug’s of the world.

Do any of you have any “Doug-ish” stories of your own?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: willy wonka, Swedish chef, make out on a couch, and couple arguing on couch.

A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity… Part 1

July 26, 2010

I’ve been having a rather grand time posting a few random pictures on my Facebook page and thought it was be fun to share them here as well. I’ve been calling them “A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity” and figured I’d include the first four and a few extra. I hope you enjoy Lessons 1 – 10.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 1: How to keep your beer cold and clean.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 2: How to wear a broken seat belt to avoid getting a ticket… (not recommended, ever).

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to mark up your books, especially if they serve a structural purpose.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 4: If bad weather is messing with your television signal… remove the weather.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 5: How to conserve water and still use your dishwasher.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 6: Duct tape use 147,872: car door handle… just add stick.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 7: When duct tape fails to repair your car, there is always the zip tie.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 8: How to renovate old entertainment centers to accommodate the new trend of wide screen televisions.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 9: How to feed your baby it’s bottle and still still get something done.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 10: Apart from saving lives, seat belts can also save you from having to listen to that annoying grinding noise from your dragging muffler.

Image Sources:
An e-mail from a friend.