• Jim Pfiffer

Things I don’t understand

Updated: Mar 15

Weekly humor column by Jim Pfiffer, Elmira, NY


I’ve always been curious. That’s why I became a newspaper reporter, chasing after the five W questions of life. It’s also why I’ve been punched a lot.


I have some feline curiosity in me. I also have a lot of stupidity in me. That’s why I’ve burned eight of my nine lives. I’m trying to temper that ignorance by learning and asking “how” and “why” about things that we don’t think twice (or even once). Here are my top 10.


  1. Telling someone to “Bite me.” If you are angry at someone, why would you insist that they bite you? That brings you pain, and the target of your ire will not suffer, unless you taste bad. We should be saying “Bite you,” and then you bite the person, first checking to see that they’ve had all their shots. Even more confounding is “bite the big one!” I’m not sure what the “big one” is, but I have an idea, and I don’t want anyone biting it. Ouch! And I’m not sure it’s as big as you think.

  2. Free gift and free estimate. If it isn’t free, it’s not a gift. 'Nuff said. Have you ever heard of any business, a contractor for example, charging a fee to tell you how much it will cost to do work on your home? Nope. The “free estimate” is advertising double talk, like the phrase “Order now and get a second one for free, just pay an extra fee.”

  3. Bad guys love large daylight? Why are daytime crimes always done in “broad daylight?” Every Yin has its Yang, so there must be a “narrow daylight,” and if so, why don’t criminals commit crimes when the light is skinny and there is a slimmer chance that they will be seen or caught?

  4. Catdrops and Mud poodles. Who the hell came up with the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs”? Was it someone who hated animals? Whatever they were on, can I get some?

  5. Hiding in low-cal air. When someone disappears, without a trace, they do so into something called “thin air.” Yes, air is thin at 50,000 feet, but we’re talking about folks who go missing at sea level. Where is this lite air? Is there fat air? Is it easier or harder to get lost there?

  6. Dis-what? We often hear about a “disgruntled employee,” walking off the job, calling in sick or telling his/her boss to “Bite the big one!” Again, nature’s duality, means there must also be a “gruntled” employee, as in “We have some of the best employees in the industry because they are all gruntled.”

  7. WTF was with Franklin and his pennies? Benjamin Franklin, one of the fathers of our country (although he never paid any child support), penned many pithy idioms, like “a penny saved is a penny earned,” or is it “a penny earned is a penny saved? Doesn’t matter because no one saves pennies. Hell, they give them away by the cupful at checkout counters. I think Ben flew his kite one too many times.

  8. Kruller to dollars? A friend once bet me “dollars to donuts” that my Boston Red Sox would lose to those damn Yankees. I didn’t take the bet for fear that I had to put up cash to win a glazed donut. Instead, I bet him his dollars to my Ring Dings. He took the bet. Need I say more about Yankee fans?

  9. Lost in the middle again. Most of us have been lost in an unfamiliar place with no landmarks or signs of civilization. You may not know where you are, but we’ve all been there. It’s called “the middle of nowhere,” as in “My car broke down in the middle of nowhere.” Nowhere doesn’t exist. Everywhere is somewhere. And if there was a nowhere, how would you know its' center point and why would you always be lost there? Why can’t we get lost on the edge of nowhere?

  10. It never fails. This is another bullshit phrase “failure is not an option.” Oh really? Spend time with me and you will see that I can fail and fail big.

But not so big that you have to bite it.


Jim Pfiffer’s humor column is posted every Sunday on the Jim Pfiffer Facebook page, Hidden Landmarks TV Facebook page andTwinTiersLiving.com. Jim lives in Elmira with his wife, Shelley and many pets, and is a retired humor columnist with the Elmira Star-Gazette newspaper. Contact him at pfifman@gmail.com.

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