Unlike our bossy proverbs, Albanian ones lack meaning

The mango weeps in the fruit bowl because it is forgotten - this is poetic but rather unhelpful

I HAVE received some requests from readers for a further selection of Albanian proverbs, which I think shows very good taste on their part, and I am happy to oblige.

(In case any reader has not encountered traditional Albanian proverbs before, I must just remind you that they are very different from ours. Ours are very bossy and practical - look before you leap, don't count your chickens till they're hatched, etc - but theirs are a bit more poetic, a lot more unhelpful and sometimes apparently meaningless. )

Anyway, less talk, more words. (Which, as it happens, is also an old Albanian proverb.) Here goes!

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There is nothing random about a random police breath test. Have you noticed that they stop only motorists and no-one else?

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The mango weeps in the fruit bowl because it is forgotten.

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The medieval warrior got up in the morning and went to work in a suit of armour. That is why it is called a suit. It may look glamourous now, but then it was just a suit.

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Three oxymorons for our time: working breakfast, fun run and sporting personality.

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A tall man wearing a hat looks even taller, but a small man wearing a hat looks like a small man wearing a hat.

If we all had eyes in the back of our heads, our cars would have at least four different reverse gears - and no mirrors.

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If Christmas cards arrived at any other time of the year, they wold be classed as junk mail.

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There is no such thing in nature as a lawn.

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The only fate really worse than death is immortality.

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We take it for granted that period costume drama is only set in the past, but all science fiction is period costume drama based on history which has not yet happened. Thanks to science fiction, we can now be nostalgic for the future.

Everyone knows what a Stanley knife is, but nobody knows who Stanley was.

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If the stuff written by Shakespeare was blank verse, what is blank prose?

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Marketing: the art of selling a non-stop cholesterol-choked fry-up by renaming it "the all-day English breakfast".

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Which way does a banana bend?

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A man who falls off a ladder always hits the ground and hurts himself, but a man who walks under a ladder only hurts himself if the man on the ladder is falling off at that moment, or dropping something, which would seem to suggest that it is bad luck to go up a ladder and good luck to go under it.

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Why is it wrong for rats to leave a sinking ship?

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You can try turning back the clock if you like, but you will always come to the same time again.

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Three things for which there is no opposite: a dawn raid, a strip search and a thank you letter.

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We all know the difference between shopping and window shopping, but what do you call it if you go out buying windows?

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What does a fake antique become when it reaches its hundredth birthday? An antique fake antique? And therefore a real one?

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A conductor shaves for the benefit of the orchestra, but he gets the back of his hair cut for the whole audience.

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There was a time when "retro" suddenly became the term for everything that is old-fashioned and vaguely nostalgic, but nobody uses the word any more, presumably because it has become old-fashioned and vaguely nostalgic...

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