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    questions

    It’s 2016 and time for some answers

    by | 2 | Jan 6, 2016

    questions

    For this new year, I have decided to skip making resolutions and pose some nagging questions instead. These long-unanswered questions demonstrate more staying power than resolutions do anyhow, so here goes:

    • What happened to the United Nations’ peacekeeping role around the globe? How did the United States of America get saddled with the job – and enormous expense – of global policeman? Only a few years ago, an international crisis called for a peacekeeping force composed of member nations of the UN. Now nobody mentions it. Why?
    • Why should I be asked to “Press 1 for English?” Isn’t this America and isn’t English the language we speak? Yes! And to those merchants who confront their customers with this tomfoolery, I say: I never have and I never will press 1 for English, so “Puesto que en su pipa y el humo!”
    • I give up: How much wood WOULD a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?
    • And while we’re mulling that perennial riddle, once and for all, who IS on third?
    • Speaking of riddles, here’s one my grandfather loved, so, obviously, it’s been around a while (and is still awaiting an answer): If a squirrel running up and down a log 40-feet long gains a foot per second with each circuit, how long will it be before he is going both ways at the same time?
    • How did algebra ever become part of the core curriculum in high school – and why is it still there? I haven’t used algebra since I took the final exam, and I don’t know anybody who has. (P.S.: I made a C+ on the final exam and was glad to get it?)
    • How many pints go into a gallon? (And if you know the answer, maybe you could tell my long-suffering Aunt Clara how many pints went into my Uncle Jasper, her late husband. His cause of death remains a mystery, but we can rule out thirst.)
    • Who designed the Ocean Highway’s Median Project in Pawleys Island, S.C., and why has he not been horsewhipped in public?
    • And if he still has a job designing highways, why? (Editor’s Note: In its, uh, wisdom, the S.C. Highway Dept. eliminated the suicide lane on Pawleys Island’s busy Ocean Highway in favor of a raised median that allows motorists to cross the highway at only two or three spots. In short, state bureaucrats fixed something that wasn’t broken.)
    • Why can’t network sports announcers pronounce “Clemson“ correctly? They all say “Clemzon” – and that’s after hanging around the town and the team for a week prior to the game, and never once hearing anybody local (or even in the whole state) pronounce the name that way. (Let’s exempt NBC’s Al Michaels from this condemnation; the poor fellow, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, can’t even pronounce “coffee.” He calls it “quaffee.”
    • Where does ISIS get all the equipment it uses to wage war around the clock? Bombs, bullets, rockets, rocket launchers, grenades, electronics, knives, guns, you name it – who supplies these weapons? How are they paid for, how shipped? And from where? Maybe we’re bombing in the wrong places.
    • Why does water expand when it freezes, while everything else contracts?
    • Why don’t we switch to a value-added tax system and get rid of the time-consuming, complicated, expensive annual tax-paying system we now have? Think of the savings in the cost of paper and manpower.
    • This isn’t one of my questions, but I couldn’t resist including it: “If a child refuses to sleep during nap time, is he guilty of resisting a rest?”
    ###
    • Image: the copyright for this images appears to be abandoned (435 pages searched with no attribution) - should the copyright holder be identified, we'd be happy to attribute, license or take down.
    Robert Lamb

    Robert Lamb

    I grew up in Augusta, Ga., where I attended Boys' Catholic High. After a stint in the Navy, I attended the University of Georgia, majoring in English (Class of '61). I began my (wholly unexpected) journalism career on the old Augusta Herald, an evening paper, and went to work for The Constitution in, I think, 1976. I left in Sept. '82 to write The Great American Novel. That goal has proved remarkably elusive, but my first attempt (Striking Out, in 1991) was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award and my second (Atlanta Blues, in 2004) contended for an Edgar Award. My latest novel won no honors but might well get me nominated for a hanging. Titled A Majority of One, it is about a clash between religion and the Constitution over book-banning in a small Georgia town. I've also published a collection of short stories and poems: Six of One, Half Dozen of Another. Before retirement, I taught creative writing and American literature at the University of South Carolina and its Honors College, and feature writing in its School of Journalism. I maintain a now-and-then blog at boblamb.wordpress.com and I walk my dog on the beach a lot at Pawleys Island, S.C.

     

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    • Will Cantrell

      Bob: I enjoyed this piece. It gave me a few laughs which I can definitely use. More importantly, it shows that you’re one up on the rest of us (or at least me). Not only do I not have any of life’s answers, hell I don’t even know the questions. Good piece. Will

    • Eileen Dight

      “His cause of death remains a mystery but we can rule out thirst.” Wish I’d written that!

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