Mysteries of Modern Life

Here are a few things to ponder over your first glass of frozen concentrated substitute for artificial morning breakfast beverage (with or without pulp-like substances added):

Why is is that people will not shut off a car’s engine if the windshield wipers are part-way through a cycle? I do it myself, and I’ve seen others do it as well — they either turn off the wipers first, or if they are on an intermittent setting, simply wait until the wipers have stopped before shutting the car off. Why do we do this?

Why do Americans talk about ice hockey? As opposed to what? Sure, there’s field hockey, but very few people play it or talk about it. If I just say “hockey”, what are the odds that I’m actually talking about field hockey? Couldn’t you just assume I mean ice hockey? If I talk about “bowling” and I don’t specifically say the word “lawn”, you can assume I mean “standard” bowling — I don’t need to add an adjective.

And why do they talk about hot tea? If I wanted iced tea, I’d have said iced tea, but if I didn’t say “iced”, can you not assume I meant hot? This even penetrated the American-made show Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Captain Picard’s favourite drink order was “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot”. I’ve never heard of iced Earl Grey tea, so it should be obvious he meant hot. They did address this in the final episode “All Good Things…”, where an elderly Picard (in the future) was asked by a British woman if he wanted tea, and he answered “Tea? Earl Grey. Hot”, to which she replied “Of course it’s ‘ot!”

Why do smokers (many of which wouldn’t otherwise think of tossing garbage out the window of their car) not think twice about tossing cigarette butts out the window? Why not use the ashtray in the car?

Why do North American cars with power windows have an “express-down” feature (i.e. press the down button once and release it, and the window goes all the way down) on the driver’s window but not the others? European and Japanese cars have it on all the windows. And why isn’t there an “express-up” feature?


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