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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014
Just for a few laughs
Karan Thapar
September 15, 2012
First Published: 22:01 IST(15/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:32 IST(16/9/2012)

Since our politics is so depressing and I, for one, am desperate for a change, let’s have a bit of fun. I get swamped by a daily deluge of emails and I’ve culled the choicest bits to share with you. So sit back and enjoy yourselves.

Here are some facts you could never have dreamt of but they’re all true and verified by Trivial Pursuit. They’re also utterly worthless. The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain whilst a goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. And, my favourite: humans cannot sneeze with their eyes open.

Next a few quotations about politicians that I’m confident you’ll agree with. “The problem with political jokes is they get elected” (Henry Cate the VII). “We hang petty thieves but appoint the great ones to public office” (Aesop). “A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country” (Texas Guinan). And, my favourite: “Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks!’ (Doug Larson).

Now, since many of my correspondents are British or anglophone, it’s not surprising they have fun at the cost of the French. But it seems some of the best sarcastic wit is a touch francophobic. “I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind” (Gen George Patton). “We can stand here like the French or we can do something about it” (Marge Simpson). “The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee” (Regis Philbin). “The last time the French asked for ‘more proof’ it came marching into Paris under a German flag” (David Letterman). “It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us” (Alan Kent). And, once again, my favourite: “Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It’s not known. It’s never been tried” (R Blount).

Finally, two rather amusing answers from what they call ‘the why and because’ category. First, why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s have them on the left? Because: when buttons were invented, they were expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed it’s easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right. And that’s where women’s buttons have remained ever since.

Second, why do people clink glasses before drinking a toast? Because: in the days when it was common to try to kill an enemy by offering a poison drink, it became customary for the guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the host’s glass and both men would drink simultaneously. This was the host’s way of proving the drink was safe. But when a guest trusts his host he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own. And now its become a nice habit.

Let me leave the last word to Ronald Reagan: “It has been said politics is the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” Who would disagree? Although I could add the oldest profession provides a useful service. Would you say that of the other one?

The views expressed by the author are personal


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