Lessons in how to look smarter

Everyone wants to feel smart. Or, at the very least, we all want to look smart. Sometimes, however, it’s easier said than done. It may even be simplest to do the least intelligent thing. For example:

Paying full price for anything you buy at Kohl’s or Harbor Freight is not smart. Once you are on the mailing list, you will receive a constant barrage of coupons to be used in the stores or online. There is no reason to shell out for the listed price as everything is always on sale.

It is not smart to drive through water on a roadway. We have all heard that we should “turn around; don’t drown.” That’s good advice. But, there are times when a little water on the street appears passable, even to the smartest among us. Just remember that drowning kills far more people than tornadoes, and we are deathly afraid of them.

Blue cheese should not be placed on a hamburger. Pepper Jack? Yes. Provolone? Absolutely. But, unless you want your burger to taste like somebody threw up on the bun, it is not smart to order (even accidentally) a patty with the crumbly menace on it. Feta ain’t much betta.

Not smart is how anyone looks who faces Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer, who as of this writing had won more than 30 games and was mere thousands away from breaking the all-time best $2.5 million mark set by Ken Jennings. This guy isn’t just brilliant, he’s fast on the trigger. Some of his opponents have looked frustrated at not being able to beat Holzhauer’s quicker clicker.

What’s in a name? Somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to sell clothing for women under the moniker of “Dress Barn.” I don’t believe females feel flattered when connected to farm animals. Apparently, the ladies agree. The chain went out of business recently.

Need to put someone at the free-throw line in the final quarter of an NBA playoff game? Make sure it’s not Steph Curry. Be mindful of the fact that he has connected on better than 94 percent of his free throws this playoff season, and he recently ended a streak of 81 straight in the fourth quarter or overtime of post-season games since 2015’s finals. He has a chance to be the all-time playoff leader from the charity stripe if he downs 57 of 60 in this year’s finals against Toronto.

I know school is out for the summer, but I can’t resist a punctuation lesson. It is not smart to put an apostrophe where one is not needed. I recently saw a sign that read, “Those were the day’s.” Unfortunately, this case is not that rare. For example, my family is made up of the Woelks, and even though several of us may reside in one abode, possession is not being demonstrated. You don’t make a name plural by adding an apostrophe but by adding an “s” or “es.”

These apostrophe catastrophes are sometimes called “apostroflies” because they seem to hover over words like flies waiting to land on food. And we all know how distasteful that can be.

I have also seen many cases of the opposite problem, a lack of apostrophecation (Did I just invent a word?). Some stylebooks are okay with “boys track,” sans the apostrophe. I disagree, as this is clearly a possessive. Rules may vary by regions of the world. But, in no universe is it correct for a bathroom sign to read “mens” or “womens.” I recently encountered both in high schools, for heaven’s sake. At least it wasn’t ours.

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