And now, for the last of the interview questions you all submitted, we turn to that brilliant sage: Papa Steve. Who, although only an intermittent blogger, can always bring delight and wonder to any comment section.

Steve asks: If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, would we really all have a wonderful Christmas?

mab answers: Think about what Christmas can be like for people who don’t have a family as wonderful as mine… Aunt Loreen says to her son “If you’d only settle down, get married, and have kids, then I wouldn’t have to nag you so much. Don’t you want to be happy?” Your niece Adelaide says to her dad: “But I wanted Barbies for Christmas! Not these imitation Wal-Mart dolls!” Uncle Herb says to his mom: “If you think I’m such a failure, why don’t you come out and say it?” Cousin Lurlene says to her husband: “But I wanted to spend the holidays with my family this year…. that’s why we’re not going to see your wacko family.” If those ifs and buts were turned into candy and nuts, the tummyaches would be tremendous, but the Christmas celebration would be more wonderful. At least until your nephew Frankie says: “But I don’t like salted peanuts!”

Steve asks: If a frog had wings, wouldn’t that just be odd?

mab wisely answers: Not only would it be odd, it would have made the plagues on Egypt much more terrifying. And, then the Charlton Heston version of the Ten Commandments would never have been made. See, they would have had to offer him less money in order to pay for the cheesy 1956 special effects that would have been necessary to depict flying frogs. And I’m not sure he would have gone for less money. So, the world would have been robbed of a classic.

Steve looks around to make sure Jan isn’t listening and then asks: If a husband says something, and his wife is not there to hear it, is he still wrong?

mab: This depends on several factors. Hypothetically, if the wife was 7 months pregnant and yet the husband always brought her ice water when she wanted it, gave her backrubs whenever she asked, did all the dishes for her, and was willing to pick up take-out at short notice, then he would be very much on her good side. In fact, she would think that he could do no wrong. So, at that point, anything he says would be considered right. At least until the wife decides differently. Then, that all might change in a moment. Husbands of the world, whether your wife is pregnant or not, I’d recommend frequent backrubs. (No, for her, you dummy.) It’ll keep you on the right side of things.

Steve queries: Why would it ever take more than one person to change a light bulb, really?

mab answers: You should spend more time with the uneducated masses. Wait…. I believe you work in the banking industry. You must come in contact with said masses on a regular basis. If you still don’t believe me that it can take more than one person to change a lightbulb, find the comittee who wrote and approved this sign. That will answer your question. And probably cause you to write another lightbulb joke.

Steve asks: If wishes were horses, to where would beggars want to ride?

mab answers: This is a difficult question, Papa Steve. Sure, there are times when we all wish that our wishes were horses. Or ponies. Maybe even unicorns. But, let’s think about that practically for a moment. How often in a day do we wish for something? One might wish that he had not hit snooze for the 13th time because now he’s going to be late and if his boss notices, he might get fired. Another might wish that she had remembered to buy more toilet paper before she ran out. She might also wish she had realized that the toilet paper was out and there were no soft and absorbant alternatives in reach before she, um, well, got comfortable. One might wish that traffic would thin out, that the grocery store wouldn’t be crowded, that a parking space would open up, that someone would give her a seat on the bus, or that mom would decide the family needed to go to Bush’s Crispy Chicken for dinner that night. If all of these wishes instantly transformed into horses, not only would there be a lot of horses around, but there would also be manure everywhere. Both the animal control and sanitation business would boom. But, the animal rights activists would probably object to the kenneling and eventual euthenasia of horses at the pound. There would be demonstrations and maybe riots. And, not even all the kindergartners in the world could come up with enough projects to use up the glue that would be produced. No, let’s not wish that wishes were horses. The beggars are going to have to think of another way to get home tonight.

Steve wonders: If the sky were parchment and the sea filled with ink, don’t you think that the cruise industry would suffer?

mab answers: The cruise industry wouldn’t be alone in it’s suffering. Airlines would shut down, honeymooners around the world would have to go to the Poconos instead of a Sandals all-inclusive beach resort, and this whole global warming and ozone problem would change drastically. Also, the death of all sea life would end the career of Jaques Cousteau as well as all forms of Cajun cookin’ as we know it. I’m sure we could think of many other disastrous effects of the sky becoming parchment (would it fall?) and the sea filling with ink (is it a giant squid problem?), but there is not enough time for that here. For now, let us be grateful that this is merely a literary phrase known as a metaphor, and not a terrifying prediction of atmospheric and oceanographic changes on earth.

Steve quizzically asks: If a face can launch a thousand ships, and a picture is worth a thousand words, what would a picture of that face do?

mab answers: The picture would also launch the same ships, but a lenghty ceremonial speech would no longer be necessary.

Steve says: Thank you for allowing me to ask the questions that have been haunting me.

mab says: In return for your vulnerability in asking these tough questions, I’ll give you a freebie…

Question: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

mab tackles this tough question that has been passed down through the centuries and comes up victorious: A woodchuck would chuck a lot of wood if a woodchuck could chuck wood. When a woodchuck thinks he should chuck wood, he wants to chuck wood good. But, while a woodchuck would like to chuck, wood makes the chuck feel no good. So, if a woodchuck chucks any wood, the coming upchuck is understood. So, woodchucks know throughout the hood that they can’t chuck wood. When a young chuck tries to chuck any wood, his mother puts him into rehab immediately.

* According to Steve, this is the proper spelling. I can respect that.