In the Midst of Laughter and Glee

To balance out the serious nature of my last post, I thought I would share two more humorous oddities I collected on my travels across Bristol.

I was passed by a van for an office supply company. Beneath the name (which I omit to spare their blushes) was the tag line For All Your Stationary Furniture Needs. It would be an easy joke to say that furniture in a van is seldom stationary. However, what of the meeting in which they decided not to stock chairs with wheels? Is this the sign of a maternal concern for the extra risks inherent in a chair that rolls; the supplier who makes risk assessments less risky? Or is it a less joyous belief in the sinfulness of chair races, a severe paternalism; by promoting only serious furniture are they taking the first step in replacing office chairs with spikes? Those with a whimsical bent and the wish to exercise it can but speculate.

Of course, like all jokes, this contains a secret core of pain. Those who laughed were joining the long lineage of those who accept the torture of English. It is only by ensuring that lists are granted the and that all civilised agree is the benchmark of a fair syntax, with the potential to limit it to a comma in cases of national security, by ensuring that all designs and advertisements are granted access to a proof reader that we may consign these travesties to the pages of history where they so rightly belong.

Our second tale comes from the Thali Café in Clifton. The menu indicates that food is served from 10.30 am, and yet the café opens at 12.00 noon. Do the staff leave out dishes for the daevas before they leave for the evening, in payment for a myriad small tasks performed in dead of night? Or is the arrangement in place to deal with vandals and thieves who breach the premises? In either case, is the 10.30 starting time left to the honour system, or are there giant pet feeders full of curry and rice waiting for the stars to be right?

In this case the explanation is more prosaic. The company uses the same menu in all of its branches, some of which open earlier. But before you accept this mundane truth, ask yourself whether the oddity is not more satisfying. I for one believe it is.


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