Like a watched pot, a watched phone never rings

Remember that saying “A watched pot never boils”?

I’m pretty sure it was that pauper dude who coined all the brilliant phrases that he apparently didn’t want people to know Benjamin Franklin was really saying.

So the founding father / inventor / brainiac made up the pseudonym “Poor Richard” and tossed all those noggin nuggets in an annual pamphlet dubbed “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

It ran from 1732 to 1758, according to Wikipedia, and covered every topic from weather patterns to astronomy to complicated mathematical theories to natural remedies to, of course, sage wisdom and proverbial advice. That’s Poor Richard in a nutshell. You’re welcome.

Anyway, Ben and Rich both had a good point — waiting for water to bubble takes a lot longer when you stare deep into the pot.

I’m guessing the same theory applies to expecting text messages. They never boil, either.

You know what I mean. Staring at that tiny screen may make your blood start to simmer. And your eyes begin to cross. But it sure won’t make a kid message Mom anytime before the harvest moon.


Dumb Ben-Richard. Even with those shared personalities and hundreds of suggestions, they didn’t have the decency to put in a single chapter about how to repair that gash in your chest where your heart used to do its thing.

You know, before you had to take your kid back to college for his sophomore year and you found your old ticker in 18,547 itty bits on the floor, that is.

(Quadruple sniff.)

I looked under “Repairs” and “Fixes” and “Mending,” et al, yet it didn’t help one bit. I mean, sure, I can build a log cabin and tell you when low tide’s coming and make cough syrup from an oak leaf now, but still…

Why didn’t Ben or Richard or anyone else warn me that saying goodbye to your child the SECOND time he leaves for fall semester is harder than the first?

(All out goose honk.)

Maybe it’s because those three months they were home for the summer lasted 45 seconds. Maybe it’s because they need you less than they did the first time around.

Maybe it’s because there’s no element of fearing the unknown — you are acutely aware of how quiet and empty the house will be when you get back home.

Then again, perhaps it’s because when you took one last look at your child as you pulled away from campus, you saw a man standing where a boy was a year ago.

(Full-on ugly cry, complete with raccoon eyes.)

Before you non-college-despair-moms even start with the obvious questions, the answers are as follows:

• Of course, I’m happy for and extremely proud of him.

• Yes, I’m thrilled he’s strong and independent.

• Obviously I’ll see him. He’s not going to the International Space Station … that I’m aware of, anyway.

• No, I don’t want him to live with me forever. Well, not really…

I warn you well-adjusted, tear-free humans to tread lightly on those of us reeling from the sophomore sting. Cut us some slack and DO NOT get our pots boiling.

‘Cause we’re not above sending your youngest kid a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac — chock full of propaganda for UCLA crammed between every page, capisce?

— Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist looking for any excuse to shuffle off to Buffalo every weekend between now and May 2020. All reasonable requests considered: www.patriciakimerer.com