When Billy's gone, that room should be
Henceforth known as the AD
(Like all that comes after BC)
It won't cause much upheaval.
It has no corners, isn't round,
And covers quite a lot of ground,
A carpet-nightmare, they'll have found,
And prone to moth and weevil;
Wherein all statesmen can be bound
To hear, see, speak no evil.
"An Oval Office," Mike White says, "must be the ideal venue for any activity which could be called a lip tickle." Geoffrey Langley's great aunt Edna, however, considers it a good place to be caught with egg on your face, or a venue for Australian Rules Blow Football. Harry Thomas thinks Bill Clinton could have used it to avoid being driven into a corner. "It's the place where the man who took the Pledge polishes off his staff," says Peter B Thomas, who also sees it as a suitable "closet to keep intern- ups attached to your trousers".
Michael Riggs has a splendid idea: "Is the name `William Clinton' on the door?" he asks; then he suggests: "Delete `Clin', insert `Harts', and you've got yourself a swish new HQ for the Creativity Office."
Sporting themes came second only to lewd ovoid innuendo. "For maximum efficiency," Mike Gifford advises, "it could be shared by Surrey County Cricket Club, Rugby Union HQ and the Egg Marketing Board." "A stadium for US-style miniature indoor cricket," suggests Eric Bridgstock. "Perhaps the President could supply the balls and one of the stumps." RJ Pickles sees it as a playroom for Ovalteenies. Michael Rubinstein thinks that teaching the President cricket in the Oval Office might help him tighten his play with loose balls and a straighter bat.
Geoff Wootton suggests piling oval offices on top of one another to make a building resembling a caterpillar: "If you're lucky, and the project isn't mothballed, then one day it will change into a butterfly and fly off taking lots of office workers with it, thus reducing congestion in city centres." Judith Holmes says: "Since the Oval Office is neither circular nor a rectangle, it is the ideal place in which to attempt to fit square pegs into round holes." She then ostentatiously refrains from making any allusion to Presidential accessories, but does suggest using it to cook the world's biggest omelette or as a factory for making overalls.
Bruce Birchall sees it as a place to be overly officious, or to conduct elliptical arguments, or to take ovalium in ovale of tears, or send out ovalentine cards (for Irish lovers, perhaps?), or an Ovalhalla for slain US war heroes to be taken by the Ovalkyries. He also mentions the famous Humphrey Bogart speech in Casablanca: "Oval the bars ... you had to walk into this one."
Sian Cole sent several pictures of extra-ovular activity, while Georgina Redhead fantasises about being locked in an Oval Office with Sian so they can both rummage through the drawers. Equally tastily, M Williams wants to paint the walls with chocolate to make the world's largest Easter egg. Fiona and John Earle point out that ovals do not run straight, and neither do men suffering from Peyronie's disease. Nigel Plevin thinks the Oval Office could be just the place for the president to entertain his compressed circle of friends.
Prizes to Bruce Birchall, Michael Riggs (for sycophancy) and Aunt Edna. Next week, unread copies of A Brief History of Time. Meanwhile, we're looking for uses for holes in the road. Ideas for what to do with them should be sent to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Dictionary prizes will be awarded to those we like best.