Sometimes life offers up mysteries just too difficult to solve. We must learn to live with those conundrums. Either that or frustrate the daylights out of ourselves. Here are a few that I'm working very hard to accept as unsolvable Ñ so that I can get over my occasional irritation:

• Why do some people buying an item or two in a long line at the grocery store never reach for their wallet or purse until they hear how much it's going to cost? People, puh-lease Ñ there are dozens in line behind you, can't you expedite things just a little by getting your money, checkbook or credit card out and being ready to pay? Or did you think they were going to give it to you for free? (I know, this is supposed to be a sports column Ñ but once in a great while I just can't help myself.)

nWhy doesn't Derek Anderson, even though he's on the injured list, show up on the bench at Trail Blazer games? I just don't get it. I know he's having back spasms, but unless he's in a hospital, he ought to be there with his team, shouldn't he? It's what other players have always done. Why do I think there's more to this story than we're being told?

nSteroids. I know I really should care that athletes are risking their long-term health by using them. I know I should care that the ones using them have a decided advantage over the ones who obey the law and don't use them. I'm just not sure why I can't muster up any indignation about them. I mean, if an adult wants to take a chance like that, it would seem to be his or her choice. Besides, I love watching Barry Bonds hit those long home runs into the water.

nThis two-quarterback system at Oregon. What, exactly, is it all about? They always start Kellen Clemens, usually yank him after two series Ñ good or bad Ñ then turn it over to Jason Fife. Sometimes Fife plays a long time. Sometimes not. Quarterback is a leadership position, and I think being taken out of the lineup all the time has to undermine leadership.

nAt what point does the NBA Ñ and I don't mean just the Blazers, as all the teams do this Ñ decide that those silly contests, games and skits during timeouts are totally lame? I'd rather watch highlights of other games on the big screen (and you could even drop a commercial in there, if you must) than watch people further embarrass themselves in races, shooting contests or musical chairs. That stuff is so tired.

nI cannot believe how people refuse to admit how much the quality of college basketball has dropped off. The Harlem Globetrotters beat Michigan State and Syracuse last week. And this -isn't exactly the era of Wilt Chamberlain playing for the 'Trotters. Nowadays, the Globies are a motley crew that includes a way-out-of-shape Cedric -Ceballos and a bunch of has-beens and never-wases.

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