Thursday, 11 February 2010

Answers from the experts

The Guardian has a long-running feature called Notes & Queries in which readers send in questions on a range of topics, some frivolous and some recondite (this kind are often answered by world experts who disagree with each other). The one I sent in years ago was one of the less serious ones:
Is it true that there was once a distinguished Hollywood actor named Gustav Von Seyffertitz?
(He adopted an even more intriguing screen name.)

The query was answered clearly and authoritatively: Yes, there was.

The feature has spawned several paperbacks and is still running. A couple of months ago a fairly serious question:
Do any other animals, apart from humans, experience adolescence?
....evoked this admirable answer from Somerset reader Judy Crosher:

Yes, sheep do, but it's shortlived. For a few weeks the lambs skip and play, keeping well in sight of Mum. Then suddenly they seem altogether more muscular. The look in their eye changes. They escape under gates and over hedges, and hang about in small groups on the corner of lanes. The stance is unmistakable: huddled, heads together, mostly backs to the road and casting surly glances over their shoulders at passers-by. As a former teacher I have a strong urge to tell them off. Then, one morning, it's all over; they're back in the field, chewing monotonously.

1 comment:

Grumio said...

Yes, sounds exactly like my adolescence.

And indeed most of my twenties and thirties. And forties.

Of course, one has serious competition in the surly glance stakes at Reginald's. I don't usually try and match anyone, I just chew, monotonously.