Miles Kington: A moment to contemplate the minor questions of our age

Why do we still call it a 'glove compartment'? And why do all countries remember losing on penalties, but never the times they actually won?
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The Independent Online

Nobody ever has time enough to contemplate the great questions of our age, except A C Grayling and Alain de Botton, but there are often moments when it would be nice to consider the minor questions of our time, such as when we are sitting in a traffic jam or waiting for the car to fill up with petrol, and need to give our thinking faculties a brief work-out. Today, I am bringing you 40 of the questions which I use as brain-teasers on such occasions. Please use any you wish.

1. Why does the Alliance and Leicester send me several emails every week asking me to confirm my customer details, even though I am not a customer of theirs, and never have been?

2. And never will be, if this is the level of their competence?

3. Why do so many people say, "I'm sorry, but..." when they are not sorry at all?

4. Why do so many people on the phone ask me to "confirm my address", when they have no idea what my address is at all?

5. And what they really mean is to "tell them my address"?

6. Why do we still call it a "glove compartment"?

7. Why do we still call it a "sponge bag"?

8. Why do we still call it a "telegraph pole"?

9. Why does anyone take the Oscars seriously?

10. If train announcers are sorry for any inconvenience this delay may cause, why do they never sound sorry?

11. Is there a more sickening expression than "loved ones"?

12. What is the difference between a jersey and a pullover?

13. What is the point of Dan Cruickshank?

14. Why is there an announcement in theatres by someone saying: "Please take your seats now, as the curtain will be rising in two minutes", when everyone knows it won't be going up for at least seven?

15. What is talcum powder made of?

16. Why is it Oxbridge? Why not Camford?

17. Why do people allow their children to record their telephone answering messages in simpering tones?

18. Why do international footballers walk on to the pitch holding little boys by the hand?

19. Why are orange-headed people and orange-coloured cats called Ginger, when ginger itself is not red?

20. Who was Roland Garros?

21. Why is Los Angeles known for short as LA while San Francisco is not known as SF?

22. Why do the police say they are acting on "intelligence received" when what they clearly mean is "on grubby information received" or even "on unintelligence received"?

23. How is it possible for a bird living today to imitate a Trimphone, which has not been around for years and years?

24. Unless it learnt it from its parents, which would be patently ridiculous.

25. Why do all countries remember the times their football teams went out on penalties, and always forget the times they actually won the penalty shoot-out?

26. Thus leading to a situation in which all countries think they are bad at penalty shoot-outs?

27. Especially Italy?

28. And, even more so, England?

29. How is it possible for crowd violence to break out when an English crowd is watching the World Cup on a large, public television screen, and there are no fans from the other side present?

30. If the hour which kicks off the evening's drinking is called Happy Hour, what should we call the final hour of drinking?

31. Is the present outbreak of gang warfare and knife crime directly attributable to the presence of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on the school syllabus?

32. Why is a footballer who is six foot seven inches high called Crouch?

33. Why are so many computer magazines so badly and unattractively designed?

34. Why are there so many computer magazines anyway?

35. Shouldn't the geeks and nerds be getting all their info from the internet?

36. And what is the difference between a geek and a nerd?

37. Who was Jules Rimet?

38. Are there going to be any other big 80th birthdays this year?

39. Heavens, is that really the time?

40. Shouldn't we be on our way now?