By Gareth Edwards

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The smell of success and the socks of despair.

More from the blog that aims to answer every possible question in the universe as sent in by you, the readers. Although if you aren’t reading this then sorry to have been presumptuous.

Why did humans decide on business cards?
In these days of carpets and clothing it’s not practical for humans to introduce themselves by scent-marking or bottom-sniffing. Besides we just don’t have the right glands, and our sense of smell is too unsophisticated to make the nuanced distinctions in odour needed to arrange a pack or society. So people have had to fall back on the next most obvious solution, using small pieces of cardboard to make subtle judgements about each-other's status on the basis of things like choice of font.

Did history correctly answer the Schleswig-Holstein Question?
No. In the examination history ran out of time, panicked and answered A to all of the remaining seventeen questions, one of which was the Schleswig-Holstein question. So the fundamental problem is that history never actually read the Schleswig-Holstein question, the actual answer to which was C.

Blu-Tac or drawing pins?
Drawing pins for red meat, Blu-tac for fish and chicken. With game you can use either but I recommend Sellotape.

What about those bloody immigrants eh?
A frighteningly-phrased question from this reader, but immigration has always been a massive problem as far as the British are concerned. Take the Indians. Boat-loads of British people immigrated into India and killed lots of them. Then they took over loads of things and didn’t even open any decent restaurants.  On the other hand there have also been problems with immigration into Britain. The worst example that we know of was the Normans, who came over here taking our jobs and harrowing our North. Possibly the Angles and Saxons were worse but we don’t know because they killed all the Romano-Celtic scribes so nobody knew how to write down the subsequent outrages. Maybe this is a good argument for having a basic literacy element in the citizenship test. Fundamentally, some people have been coming over here/going over there and stealing our/their jobs/culture/mammoths for some time and I suspect it may now be too late to get everyone to go back to where they all came from (i.e. The Rift Valley).

Where do all the socks go once they enter the washing machine?
The washing machine doesn’t destroy socks, but it does literally turn their world up side down, and round about half way through the spin cycle many of them begin to yearn for a better life. Some of the socks go on to further education, or travel, others may pen a semi-autobiographical rite-of-passage novel. These last ones encounter a lot of rejection from publishers banging on about how it’s hard to sell anything these days that isn’t a “genre” and eventually become disillusioned. In the end they try a succession of low-paid tutoring jobs then go back to being socks, but kind of angry deep down, so they go at the heel.

If "nemo" is Latin for no one, who did the clown fish find?
The clown fish found only the endless sea of always-absent meaning that Jacques Derrida called Différance. Also a really funny but dumb blue fish called Dory.

So now hopefully the birthday-candle of knowledge flickers ever-so-slightly brighter in the malevolent catacombs of endless chaos.  Why not send in your own questions on any subject big or small, before the tiny flame gutters and all is infinite darkness?


  1. I'm so glad you cleared that up about the socks. I was really beginning to wonder...

    Hmmm, my Christmas-addled brain can't think of questions, big or small, right now. I shall return later with a deep mystery that only you can solve.

  2. I think 'Finding No-One' was the title of the first draft by Harold Pinter.

  3. The missing socks make up the substance scientists ignorantly call dark matter - God knows, there are enough of them.

  4. Why does only the left side of my body make clicking noises?

  5. Annually, how many people eat their shoes? Is this number greater than the number of people who eat their hats?

  6. I'm a Kenyan and we're great runners but why do I get a stitch whenever I run more than 50 metres?