Isn’t it such a letdown when you hear a story which you feel is column-worthy, but to be sure you look it up on Snopes to find it’s not true?

I heard one the other day, which immediately brought to mind my dad’s favorite curse. Now mum and dad were not cursers. I remember dad dropped the f-bomb when the very recalcitrant and evil outboard motor on a little boat we used for fishing frankly refused to start, despite the more and more desperate yanks my father gave on the rope. I think he may have used it one more time, this time heaping scorn on the equally recalcitrant lawnmower. I think the two had secretly married and were bent on causing dad grief.

Mum, on the other hand, only used the f-bomb once, and then, God bless her little cotton socks, used it as a noun, which made the whole scene way more comical than she’d intended.

Dad’s usual curse was “for crying down the sink.” This was usually uttered at a moment of complete and utter frustration, usually at us kids. Another was “God save the king,” normally accompanied by a good storming out of the room so he could remedy whatever we’d done to put the king in jeopardy.

Mum, on the other hand, when she got to that stage, would just go eerily quiet – and under that accompanying stony gaze, we knew she was at the very least, shall we say, displeased with us.

So, the story I wanted to bring to you today had me uttering “oh, for crying down the sink.” Disproved though it may have been, there is a modicum of truth in it.

A university in England announced it was going to take all the analog clocks out and replace them with their less romantic, digital cousins, because “students could not tell the time on an analog clock.”

On checking the facts, ma’am, just the facts, I discovered the university was only going to replace those pesky clocks in exam rooms, as the students had trouble figuring out how much time they had left in their exam.

Well – for crying down the sink. You would think if someone had made it through high school and on to tertiary education, somewhere along the line they would have worked out big hands and little hands and how to add and subtract time with ease. Apparently not.

The one, however, that had me rushing out wanting to save the king was from an actual video clip of some idiot snowflake declaiming education – that it was all a fascist plot and was completely worthless.

After all, he proclaimed “we have the internet now, you can look anything up, you can ask Alexa – it’s all there!”

Yeah, well, sweetheart. I have news for you. This meteoric educational leap you’ve just taken would rather require you to have learned your a-b-cs and your 1-2-3s so you could fathom what the internet was trying to tell you.

Oh, for crying down the sink.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at