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Are You Normal?

by Bernice Kanner


You need not tell great stories to entertain. Just tell every day facts. Researcher Kanner reports fewer than ten percent of Americans admit to picking noses. (What percentages are booger inspectors or booger eaters will, presumably, be left to future research by nasal optodieticians.)


Further research reveals 32 percent of Americans can not snap their fingers, perhaps an altered coefficient of friction due to the presence of boogers is a factor. Twelve percent of Americans wear clothes inside out to avoid washing them. (I am guessing, but booger stains may be a culprit here.0


Kanner finds 85 percent of Americans wear wrong sized bras. She does not reveal how men might skew that percentage. Seventy percent of women will not leave home without jewelry.


About a quarter of us lie about our incomes, a stat that may evade probing economic minds. Another nine percent lie about their true hair color. (Talk about brazen lying, as if counter-evidence were not popping out.)


The popularity of slavery is not zero. Ten percent of Americans, Kanner reports, believe all the Ten Commandments. Murder has friends, too. Seven percent of our citizens would murder for money.


Five of six Americans refuse to spit awful food out, most preferring the napkin method. The remaining sixth are perhaps infants or related to folks who would murder for money. (Just a guess.) The spitters, perhaps, are not among those using mouthwash three or more times a day.


A good way to ruin your appetite: Use a sink after the approximately 22 percent of Americans who leave behind chunks of toothpaste. Another way: Watch cosmetic surgery. Almost as many men as women have done or plan to do it (eight versus nine percent).


Research suggests teens and Northerners are flakes--more likely to have dandruff. One in four men would consider trading five years of their lives in exchange for not going bald.


The author claims 53 percent of Americans wear make-up all the time.


The rule of B.O. is in effect: Those needing the most use the least. Thirty-eight percent of men use no deodorant.


At least one in twenty women do not know whether they douche. (The epistemology of douching is, apparently, complicated.)


Fifty-four percent of Americans would prefer a mega-joule collision with a Mack truck over gaining 150 pounds. But 91 percent would want 50 extra pounds rather than genital herpes.


Bloody egg soup served with a needle makes most Americans nauseous, as does hairballs and cigarette butts served in eggnog.


About 34 percent of us hover over public toilet seats or skip them altogether. Twenty-five percent prefer the handicapped stall "because it's roomier." (I never do jumping jacks in restrooms, except in handicapped stalls.)


When no toilet paper exists, Americans improvise with the air dry, "shake it off," "scream and curse," and use-the-spool methods. The flush and use a wet hand method does not meet American standards of pragmatism. Twelve percent switch rolls of toilet paper for visitors. About two percent, to my amazement, put out cheap toilet paper for company.


And that summarizes only a small part of this quirky, delightful book. Recommended.


Book review article by J.T. Fournier, last updated July 5, 2009.


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