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Questions From an Old Man

I've spent half a century writing for radio and print (mostly print). I hope to be still tapping the keys as I take my last breath.

As a journalist of ancient vintage I’m used to not having my questions answered. Politicians routinely answer a question you didn’t ask. Entertainers slickly swerve away and babble on about their latest movie, album, etc. being the best work they’ve ever done; “I was born to play this role in the nude.” Many athletes have exclamation points where their brains ought to be and always default to ancient one-game-at-a-time and 110 percent clichés. Person-in-the-street questions do get direct answers but they’re often too blunt to print.

Yes. I'm puzzled.

Yes. I'm puzzled.

Here Is My Current List of Things That Baffle Me; No Doubt Others Will Crop up in the Future.

Why is there chocolate-flavoured beer? What’s wrong with chocolate-flavoured chocolate and beer-flavoured beer?

Why don’t most of my clothes fit me anymore? Actually, I have the answer to that one and it relates to beer-flavoured beer.

Why do men wear hats indoors when there is very little chance of getting a lucky strike of pigeon poop?

Is there some reason why we have a little pinky toe other than to locate the exact position of the legs on furniture?

I found the chair leg.

I found the chair leg.

Are the designers of packaging born malevolent or do they take intensive training in how to infuriate arthritic old geezers?

What the heck is cream of tartar and why do we have several little boxy things full of the stuff in our spice drawer?

After a miserably frustrating three months rearranging our telephone/internet service I have to ask is there a telecom out there somewhere with employees who have at least opposable thumbs?

By what higher power was my maternal grandfather chosen to be the best driver in the world and all the other road users around him to be blithering morons?

What is it with moustaches?

Does anybody keep a record of whether or not their light bulbs last 10,000 hours as they are guaranteed to do? I’m pretty sure I’ve never had one that lasted half that time.

Why do certain people reach the end of the escalator, get off, and stop? Have to admit this is mostly a characteristic of people from my age group. Is this the reason cattle prods were invented? “No Cedric I’m sure the Depends are on the left.”

How do I hate stickers on fruit and veg? Let me count the ways.

Why do hurricanes always "barrel" towards land?

Why do I keep coming across the word “perfect” everywhere? I want to send this parcel to Mumbai―“Perfect.” I’m going to have the linguine primavera―“Perfect.” I am now going blow up the place where they create what they call music today―“Perfect.”

Are people listening to me anymore?

Why do politicians say “With all due respect to my honourable friend” when what they really mean is “That bucket of fetid pond scum is a lying weasel with an oozing boil on his bum”?

How can I stop Kevin, who has a suspiciously south Asian accent, from calling me every week to sell his service that cleans my heating ducts?

“You gotta jump down, turn around
Pick a bale of cotton.”

Wouldn’t it be easier just to pick the cotton and forget the jumping and turning bit?

Why do nurseries/garden centres display attractive plants in September to fool certain older gardeners into believing they don’t have that one only to discover they planted the self-same flower in May?

When did the stuff I shove in the ground every spring for the rabbits to eat change from being plants to plant material?

When did a report’s “Summary” become an “Executive Summary”? And, does the addition of an adjective alter the nature of the contents?

Do people who write in Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic have a choice of fonts?

Would it be possible to get the fleas of a thousand camels to infest the armpits of the person who invented the leaf blower?

Why did the couple I saw in a café last night even bother going out together when both had their laptops open on the table and each periodically checked their i-things?

When will the Sunnis and Shias learn to live peacefully with each other just like Protestants and Catholics have for centuries? Oh right. Okay scratch that one.

Why does our cat Cleo scamper down the stairs in a straight line when no one else is using them, but amble in a zig-zag pattern in front of us when we are descending? Does she think she’s going to get some of the life insurance money? Spoiler alert Cleo, there is no life insurance.

And while the Cleo file is open here’s a puzzle. Catch a whiff of her breath and you’d think you were downwind from a fish plant. Yet, she cleans herself by licking. So why doesn’t her fur smell like a week-old herring?

What is the ratio of car alarms disturbing a peaceful Sunday afternoon or shattering the silence of the night versus the number of thieves who are scared away by the infernal inventions?

Why is it that every home fix-it job requires an exotic tool or part that I don’t have, and neither does the hardware store?

Who thought that “phlegm” was a really good spelling?

How did we arrive at the word “spendthrift” whose two syllables contradict each other?

Would somebody please explain to me what the blazes “post-modern” means? And no, it’s not e-mail.

Why do middle-aged and older male politicians feel it’s de rigour to always appear in public holding hands with their spouses like they are lovesick teenagers?

Although not Always

Why do they call it an “Operating Theatre”? Is there an audience? Was there one for my vasectomy? Sheesh, I hope not.

Why are there no modern names for men that begin with H―Hubert, Henry, Humphrey, Hector, Herbert, Hugo, Howard, Harold, Horace?

Quote: “This opens up a whole new can of worms.” Has anybody ever seen a can of worms? I haven’t.

Why can I never spell ocassionally correctly? Crud, I did it again.

When I see the word “Reduction” in the description of a dish on a menu I know it’s not going to apply to the price.

I see signs all the time advertising “Prime real estate location.” Is there any not prime real estate? It can’t all be prime.

At what age do people start saying things like “Oh My,” or “My word.” Don’t answer that because I know the answer. I have reached that age.

Why is there rap?

Why do fire hydrants jump off sidewalks and smash bumpers causing damage costing $677.00 plus tax?

Listening to Andrea Bocelli singing “Moonriver.” What exactly is a huckleberry friend and why is s/he/it waiting round the bend?

Why do they entomb cucumbers in those plastic condoms? And, who are “they” anyway?

Why are cops called police officers when the highest rank in uniform is sergeant?

Why hasn’t the inventor of bacon been beatified?

Is anybody else sick of hearing people, mostly politicians, say “We need to have a conversation about this”?

Why do I go downstairs to fetch my reading glasses and come back upstairs with only a cup of coffee?

Anthropology: The need to say sorry after insulting an entire civilization.

When will advertisers stop using the tired old tag line “It’s all about you” when we all know that it’s complete, 100 percent moose droppings?

Why are wabbits always called “bunny?”

Why do scalloped potatoes always take longer to cook than you plan for?

What the world needs is post-laundry self-matching socks. Where are they?

Isn’t time to retire the phrase “Limited time offer”?

Cat’s pyjamas? Where did that come from?

Why do I have such trouble pronouncing artisanal; it always comes out sounding like it has to do with bums?

Why do we say the flu? We don’t say the tonsillitis or the stomach ulcer.

Why do governments always say they are “actively” studying an issue? Can you passively study an issue?

I dreamed up a simply brilliant name for a swimming pool maintenance company and―crap―now I can’t remember it. Why is that?

How come I can buy summer sausage in the winter?

Why do the bassists in jazz combos get solos?

Is it time for my gin and tonic nurse?

Bonus Factoid


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Rupert Taylor

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