Silly Question: Begging for permission to be pushy

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ARTHUR MURDOCH, a friend of Andrew Middleton, has written with what may be the definitive guide to assertiveness:

'I think you asked how you would persuade your boss to send you on an assertiveness course. It's probably too late now and anyway you will have got lots of better answers than the one I could come up with. Is it all right if I make a suggestion? It's not very good so just bin it if you want to. It's not as if I've had any experience in this sort of thing so there is no reason why you should take any notice but I just thought you might be interested. I don't mind if you're not. You've probably got lots of more important things to do anyway.

'Anyway, what I thought was that you could leave lots of course brochures lying around where everyone would see them. (You could ask someone else to ring up and get them.) Then you could have a conversation with a friend just as your boss is walking past. 'I wonder what this brochure is about.' 'It's about assertiveness.' 'That sounds interesting.' 'Yes it does.' The boss would then join in and offer to send you.

'I hope you don't mind my writing. Now I've written it down it doesn't seem very good. The boss might send your friend instead. But then I suppose he knows best.

'Sorry to have bothered you.'

Having taken up all that space in such a pushy manner, Mr Murdoch has left us with little room to go into other problems in depth. Here is a summary:

Why do toe-nails grow more slowly than finger-nails? Because of the extra time it takes to reach down and bite them (Isobel Hawking). Because finger-nails grow in the light (Richard Blythe).

Why does light travel at 186,000 miles per second? To pander to Eurosceptics, claims Richard Blythe, pointing out that almost everywhere outside Britain it pushes on at close to 300,000 km per second. Reverend John Ticehurst, however, believes that the 186,000 miles per second figure was chosen because God did his stuff before the metric system was invented.

Why won't you print this question? Because the answer is false (Alison Hamilton). Because if we did so this would be the answer (Kit Heneville). I cannot remember what the question was (Isobel Hawking).

This week's enigmas:

Why are the pages of a dictionary numbered when the user will be navigating alphabetically? (P Rylands)

Why are all squirrels the same size? (John Collis)

Why does a dripping tap keep you awake when a ticking clock does not? (Andrea Turner).

Why is it so difficult to find the address of a newspaper when you want to write to it? (Valerie Esplen.)

All answers and further questions please to: Silly Questions, at the usual address.