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Birjees Hussain: Some things don’t make sense
February 02, 2018
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The saying is that the devil makes work for idle hands. When people are not keeping themselves busy they tend to think about things they should not or things that may upset them. Whilst we cannot control every dark thought that might creep into our minds when we have a free moment, we can certainly try to lighten our moods with some mind boggling thoughts about every day things that don’t seem to make sense yet we say them or do them anyway.

For example, when something catches fire and is destroyed why do we sometimes say ‘up in smoke’ and sometimes ‘down in flames’. Surely the result is the same in that if the fire is bad, it results in disaster.

Another thought I had was why we call certain types of golf clubs ‘driver’. It has no steering wheel and it doesn’t have wheels.

For that matter, still staying on sports, why do Americans call their sport ‘football’ when the foot does not touch it. Surely the game should be called ‘handball’? More to the point a football is round whereas the one used in the American sport is an egg shaped so perhaps we should call it egg-ball.

When we decide to change our place of accommodation, why do we say we are moving house? The house doesn’t move, only the occupants and their possessions do.

Why do we say, ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’? Have you ever seen packs of canines and felines falling from the sky when it rains?

A lot of clothes that men and women wear are rather similar. But why is that when a woman wears a shirt it is then called a blouse or a top?

Here’s a weird English Language conundrum. Why is it that the words ‘overlook’ and ‘oversee’ have totally opposite meanings?

Here’s a funny one and often used as a joke to lighten the mood by Quality Management Professionals when asking the 5Ws and 1H questions: who, what, where, when, why and how? But did you notice that if you replace the ‘w’ in ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ with a ‘t’, you have the answers.

We all love chicken. But if we are eating chicken who is eating the cockerel and the hen? Have you ever seen cockerel or hen sold in the supermarket? In fact, the answer is quite simple. Cockerel and hen are the animals but why is it that when they’re slaughtered they become chicken? The same applies to meat. Have you ever seen sheep being sold in the supermarket? Well you have but it is not labelled ‘sheep’; it’s labelled lamb or mutton. Again, ‘sheep’ is the animal and it becomes lamb and mutton when it comes to your dinner table. The same applies to cows.

Now when shops advertise that there is a ‘free gift with every purchase over an x amount’, why do they add the word ‘free’? Isn’t the ‘free’ implied because by its definition, gifts are free?

When our remote control batteries are dead, why do we press the buttons on it harder? Surely we should try changing the batteries?

Why do we say ‘a pair of trousers’ when there is only one item of clothing?

In the English alphabet, why do we say ‘w’ is ‘double u’ when it is in fact two Vs joined together. Shouldn’t we say ‘double v’?

Chocolates come in all shapes and sizes but when manufacturers make mini versions of the regular sized ones, they label the packaging ‘fun size’. But why would miniature versions of the normal size be fun? Surely a huge version would be?

I love watching ‘The Simpson’ but always notice something weird? Why is it that all cartoon characters have three fingers?

Moreover, why do we have ‘fishfingers’ when fish do not have fingers? Still on the subject of food, why can’t we have our cake and eat it. What would be the point of having a piece of cake and not being able to eat it?

And finally, I always thought that we were doing a disservice to Einstein, Sherlock Holmes and Lieutenant Columbo. Why is it that when we have someone who makes dumb statements, we call them ‘Einstein’? We often say, ‘Einstein here thinks…’ or ‘Listen, Einstein…’

Similarly when someone fancies themselves as a bit of an amateur detective and they’re not good at it, we call them ‘Columbo’ or ‘Sherlock’?

Oh yes, it’s sarcasm. So think funny thoughts and you’ll be better off for it.

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