Silly Question: A loo, but not as we know it

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
DOZENS of readers were inspired by C Dye's question last week to boldly write about lavatories on the SS Enterprise. Most explain it through the Starship's mission: 'to boldly go where no man has gone before', but this fails to account for the absence of ladies' loos.

Others lay the blame on the no-zipper jump suits worn by the crew, suggesting that their waste products are beamed up, but the most exhaustive explanation comes from Jonathan Laban.

He blames the apparent loolessness on the Klingons and their envy of the technological expertise of Starship Command that enables their ships to be fitted with doors that go Sheesh. The highly secret sheeshing mechanism is, he claims, hidden under the cistern in the toilet complex on deck 3b, out of bounds to film crew. We omit his accounts of Star Trek the film and Star Trek the New Generation on grounds of good taste and space (the final frontier) respectively.

Which brings us to why triangular sandwiches are posher than square. Several point out that triangles stand up better, apex uppermost, on the serving plate, and Simon Cuff offers a traditional verse: If served with sandwich of squared bread,/ Your guest will frown and turn his head./ Happier he'll be by far/ If their shape's triangular.

Canon A D Rogers, however, religiously believes that triangular sandwiches were introduced as 'a triumphalist statement of Trinitarianism by the second wave of the Oxford Movement' as a protest against the straight-cut sandwiches of Unitarians and the crustless sarnies of the American Transcendentalists. 'The addition of parsley,' he notes, 'is attributed to Bishop Gore and his Kenotic Christology,' though the underlying symbolism is hotly disputed.

Many readers have written in to ask why there is only one Monopolies Commission. It's an old question, but answers are still welcome.

Andy King wants to know how to convince his boss to send him on an assertiveness course, and Alan Taylor asks: 'When we put the clocks forward in the spring, where does the lost hour go until we reclaim it in the autumn?' Replies and more questions to: Silly Questions, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.