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Mulling the ins and outs of over/under

My OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)tendencies have been acting up lately, especially in the areas of”over” and “under.”

    I notice it often when dealing with paper towels and toilet paper.Are you an over or an under?

    I’m firmly in the over category, as in having the sheet come fromover the top of the roll of paper. It just seems logical to me, andI have to fight the urge to reverse the roll whenever I encounterone with sheets coming from underneath.

    I have some theories – all unproven, of course – about people whoinsist on inserting the roll of paper in what I can consider abackwards fashion.

    My first theory is the underneath paper access is a manifestationof their desire to keep something hidden. Unlike the other way,which offers easy access, users may have to hunt around the holderto find the start of the roll.

    Another theory of mine is that the underneath people are cat ownerswho are afraid their feline friend will paw the over-the-top paperroll until it is unspooled. I will acknowledge here that anunsuccessful “whip-tear” attempt can unspool an over-the-top rollof paper towels if one is not careful.

    My thoughts on paper placement got me to thinking about other areasof life where instances of over and under occur.

    Sports enthusiasts can bet the over/under on various aspects of anevent. One of the more common bets involves total points scored, asin whether both teams will rack up over or under a determinedamount.

     Contemplating words andphrases with over or under in them produced what I consider anumber of interesting questions and observations. At the risk ofsounding like a George Carlin routine, here are a few of them:

    When people are sick, they say they are feeling “under theweather.” But healthy people don’t run around claiming to be “overthe weather.”

    (I don’t know about y’all, but I’m definitely over “this” weatherwe’ve been having lately. Enough with 90-plus degree days; let’smove on to winter – or as some may call it, a less hot, notsummer.)

    According to the dictionary, overwhelmed means to be completelydefeated or overtaken by a huge mass. In the 1950s, underwhelmedcame along to mean a person who is less than impressed withsomething.

    I wonder what it means simply to be whelmed.

    A lot of people like to joke that they are “overworked andunderpaid.” I sometimes think those who have time to sit around andtalk about that cliché are just the opposite.

    Overjoyed means extremely happy. Does underjoyed mean sad?

    And then there are cases where it seems the wrong adjective hasbeen used.

    If you overlooked something, doesn’t it really mean youunder-looked the amount of time needed to have caught whatevermistake it was you made. Think about it.

    If you spend enough time under the moon with the right person, youmay wind up over the moon in love. I’m still single, so I’m notreally an expert on this subject.

    I realize bowled over has a sports connotation to it in that thestruck pins can fly in any direction, including over the ball. Itseems to me bowled under would be just as appropriate.

    Speaking of sports, football, basketball and some games can go intoovertime. Is it called undertime when a game is stopped early forwhatever reason?

    Around April 15 of every year comes the familiar lament that we areovertaxed.

    At election time, that phrase often surfaces from politicianslooking to oust whoever is in office at the moment. Regardless ofwho wins and regardless of their efforts, I seriously doubt we’llever get to the point we consider ourselves undertaxed.

    “Over the limit, under arrest” is a worthwhile effort by lawenforcement to prevent drunk driving.

    I’m getting close to over my limit on column length here, so I’msetting the over/under at two as the number of items here that youthought were funny or thought-provoking. I hope I’munderestimating.

    That’s all for now.

    Write to Managing Editor Matthew Coleman at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602, or send e-mail tomcoleman@dailyleader.com.