how to have many happy returns

creativity
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The Independent Online
Two of our readers have discovered the secret of perpetual motion. RM Johnson says simply: fix two boomerangs back to back and send them on their way. Nicholas James is more specific, advising that the second boomerang, B2, be launched to impact with the first, B1, (both previously having been supplied with velcro attachments to ensure adhesion) at the moment of turn in B1's trajectory. They then travel together to the original launch point of B1, when B2 turns, and effects its re-launch, and so on.

Many readers had many ideas for things to do with boomerangs, which they have forgotten, but expect they will come back one day. Whatever you do with a boomerang, Greville Aldridge advises, don't flush it down the toilet or you'll get a surprise.

AJ Brewer suggests crossing a boomerang with a tennis ball for solo tennis. John Dyke sees it as a cheap and reusable alternative to the stamped addressed envelope. Or, since it's an anagram of moo-banger, use it to beat a mad cow.

Harold Stone points out that a number of boomerangs end- to-end will measure the shortest return distance between two points. Jonathan Scragg uses his as splints for broken bananas. Splints for a dog's broken hind legs, says RJ Pickles, or truncheons for bent policemen.

Susan Gidden explains how to use a boomerang to test Einstein's theory of the curvature of space- time: "Just tie one end of time/space to the boomerang and see if it comes back."

Cathy Benson uses hers for hedge-trimming and dead-heading from the comfort of the patio, while simultaneously exercising a lazy dog. Navin Patel recommends boomerangs for people who like throwing sticks but don't have a dog. Linda Browning ties her boomerang to an extending dog lead to take the animal for walkies. Elizabeth Miller's is a frisbee substitute for the balcony-bound flat-dweller.

Len Clarke bought one once, but it wouldn't come back. He took it back for a refund, but they said it was non-returnable. Ciarn Ryan points out that a boomerang makes a good wooden aerial for a wooden radio that doesn't work. Fillet them, paint them yellow and sell them as savoury bananas, says Sandy Marshall. More ideas:

Tactile roadsigns indicating a bend (John Hampson). For stirring tea around corners (Tony Blades). Attach to bucks, to ensure the buck stops with the person who launched it (Geoffrey Langley). Logo for Impotents Anonymous (Fred Phipps). Symbol of throw-away culture (Nicholas E Gough). Diving board for dwarf synchronised swimmers, or in triplicate as stumps for Devon Malcolm to practise his out-swingers (Gerry Flanagan).

Prizes to Susan Gidden, Gerry Flanagan, Harold Stone. Next week, we shall report on what to do with those plastic things you can't stir tea with.

Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of Chambers' Guide to Grammar and Usage which advises: "If the most logical, most natural and most unambiguous position for an adverb... is between to and a following infinitive, then that is where the adverb should be put." So we seek ways to creatively use a split infinitive. The three best will win the above book. Ideas to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

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