The grumpiest farmer still has to pull as many weeds as the happiest farmer

A pairing chart to identify your best pair

A good chunk of the border of southern Pennsylvania is also known as the Mason-Dixon line; a line which was made by two guys (named Mason and Dixon!) to settle some colonial border disputes, and then later served as a sort of a proxy border for north/south in the US civil war.

If you were a direct descendant of either of these guys, or even if you were just some random person from a not directly related Mason or Dixon family — and you also lived in one of the Mid-Atlantic states near this line — I bet it would be super duper appealing to seek out a life partner with the opposite last name and then try to live in a town near that border.

Let’s say my name was John Mason and I lived in southern Pennsylvania. I’d go on an internet dating site, or even just Facebook, or even my local yellow pages, and just straight up start calling every family named Dixon and ask if they had any daughters of marriageable age. I’d try to meet as many as I could and then identify one of whom I could ask her hand in marriage. I’d eventually find one, let’s call her Betty-Sue Dixon.

I’d secretly go to her father and be like look I know it’s sort of old fashioned to ask for a lady’s dad’s permission to marry the lady in this modern time, but I’ve gotta loop you in on something — I’ve purchased a huge tract of land which straddles the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, and I plan on creating a massive compound there with your daughter. We will operate a pickle cannery and call it Mason-Dixon pickles; we will operate an AirBNB house named The Mason-Dixon House; we will have a pizzeria named The Mason-Dixon Pizza House, and inside we will have a “line” where people stand in order to purchase their pizzas. There will be no end to my obsession and I will bring your daughter with me down this mono-maniacal rabbit hole.

Then like a couple days later at bed time, Betty-Sue would be like “Hey John, I had sort of a weird conversation with my dad earlier today”, and this would be the moment of truth where everything I’d planned would either be dashed away or start coming to fruition, contingent on her reaction to the proposal I made to her father.

A paring knife knows best when to pare down a pear

One common activity for a couple who are “expecting” (a baby, that is) is to go around their house and start “baby proofing” it. You want to make sure anything you have that’s in the realm of sharp objects, sharp corners, super-delicate breakables, etc - all gets picked up and put away and generally battle hardened before your little bundle of joy shows up. This is one of those good for the goose and good for the gander activities. I guess your baby is the goose and your valuable objects are the gander? So you put things away and your baby doesn’t get an owie from your broken glass artwork — but also, your artwork can be put away safely before your little champ destroys it all.

Of course, if you’ve never had a baby before, you can’t really think like a baby. I guess you technically used to be a baby, but most of us can’t recall what happened during that time, let alone retro-empathize with our earlier selves to get back into the headspace you’d be in as a 10 month learning to pull yourself up and walk. Most people rely on advice from friends or baby books or whatever to instruct their baby proofing.

Here’s a really bad business idea, though … what if you could hire someone else’s baby to come do stuff in your house?! You’d give them like $100 and they’d come over for a play date and just have their little one play in your living space with utterly no constraints on their activity. When they finally get injured, you know that you’ve identified a source of possible injury for your own future baby — and in this hypothetical scenario you are willing to put a dollar amount on the health and safety of the other baby who is not your baby and let them get hurt so your little tiger doesn’t have to whenever they are finally born.

For the testing babies, not only are they getting compensated for their time (responsible parents would tuck these funds away for college), but getting repeatedly injured in stranger’s homes would build up an incredible sense of grit and fortitude, since whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I guess you’d want to be sure that you didn’t actually kill them.

Maybe over time if the babies did enough of this testing they’d develop a heightened sense of how to avoid injury. They’d come to have superhuman (age calibrated anyway) abilities at accident avoidance and be more agile than other babies.