Answers please, to mysteries of our time

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Today we present Ten Great Mysteries of Our Time!

1. We all know, because we have been told so many times, that the future of communications is going to fall into the hands of one man.

The mystery is: why can nobody make up their minds whether it is going to be Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates?

2. If shooting is such an integral part of sport, the mystery is why combat knife fighting isn't an Olympic event as well.

3. As things stand at the moment, the number of children who are shot every year, by madmen or normal people, is very small. A dozen or so. Perhaps two dozen in a Dunblane year.

The number of children run over and killed by cars and lorries every year is very large, running to hundreds, even thousands.

There is great pressure to get guns banned, in order to prevent them falling into the hands of another madman who might create another Dunblane.

There is no pressure at all to get cars banned, even though they are well known to cause much higher levels of death to children, and even though a car is a much more effective weapon of death than a gun.

It is sometimes said that a car in the hands of a madman cannot do as much damage as a gun in the hands of a madman. This is true. It is not the problem, however. What worries people is not the damage a car driven by a madman can do. It is the damage which a car driven by a normal person can do. Many more children are run over by normal citizens than are shot (or run over) by madmen.

But nobody tries to ban cars.

Or control normal citizens.

Why not ?

It's a mystery.

4. Now that Chile and South Africa have spent their season in the limelight as the newly fashionable wine-producing country, in the wake of Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand, etc, etc, is there any wine-producing country left which hasn't had its hour of discovery and triumph?

5. Once every five years politicians have to take notice of what the public thinks, because at a general election the public can pass judgement on them. This is hard for politicians, because as a general rule they despise the public and do not respect what they think, even though they say the opposite. They say: "The man in the street is no fool", even though they privately think that the man in the street is an idiot. As the election comes closer, the party in power prepares little tax cuts and little sweeteners for the electorate in the belief that the public is fool enough to forget the last few years of misrule and vote them back in again.

The mystery, however, is not whether the public actually is an ass or not.

The mystery is why on earth politicians want to be voted back in again.

6. Never have two jolly people laughed so much as Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright in Two Fat Ladies.

But what were they laughing at?

7. When the National Lottery first appeared, a statistician said, of the chances of winning, that if a casino offered the same odds, it would be closed down.

The mystery is: why do people buy lottery tickets?

8. We are often told that women are afraid to go out by themselves late at night in cities, because it is dangerous, ie because they might be attacked by men. Women are therefore warned not to go out by themselves late at night in cities.

But women are not causing any trouble.

It is men who are causing trouble.

The mystery is: Why is it not men who are banned from going out late at night in cities?

9. A red-faced BBC is still worrying why Rhodes seems to have been such a total turn-off for the audience, even though all that money was spent on it and they even got that sexy chap from Drop The Dead Donkey to star in it.

Has it occurred to them that when 90 per cent of the audience switch on a programme called Rhodes, they're going to expect to see a sexy young chef showing them how to cook, and will switch off again when he's not there?

10. Who, over the age of 15, actually looks forward to Christmas?

If anyone knows the answer to any of these, or to the mystery of whether Greg Proops is related to Marje Proops, please get in touch, though not necessarily with me.

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