Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why is a Bicycle?

"Why is a bicycle?" my father used to ask me. I know the answer now: "Because a vest has no sleeves." You disagree? Fine. Please write your own answer. I'm really more interested in the question, anyway. I like to collect questions. Here are a few of my favorites:

For more fun with questions, see: Curiosita, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb

And if you feel like answering any of the questions above, or adding your own favorite questions in the comments, well...I say again: Why not?


  1. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson)

    "Or next day maybe?" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson)

    You know, there's all kinds of crazy stuff out there. You can't just wander around out there and believe what you read. It's like walking out into the street and talking to just anybody. You wouldn't do that, would you? - Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn, Page 129

  2. She says,
    "Ooh, darlin', don't you know?
    The darkness comes, and the darkness goes."
    She says,
    "Ooh, babe, why don't you let it go?
    Happiness ain't never how you think it should be so."
    - She Runs Away by Duncan Sheik

  3. Oh, I knew someone would contribute some Alice! Thanks, Little Willow!

  4. Alternate answer to your question: Because, and of course. (You have to know the logic of Professor Irwin Corey to understand how that works.)

    I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but if you share the logic of your answer I'll share mine.

    For a long time I used to collect questionnaires from magazines with the idea that one day I would compile selected questions into the weirdest quiz of all times. I wonder what I did with that file...

  5. Well, David, that was my father's answer, not mine. I think it's an old joke, where no matter what the question, you answer: Because a vest has no sleeves. A zen sort of joke. A Dada joke. (uh, yes, that's a very bad pun.)

    And you MUST find that file, because I'd like to read that compiled questionnaire! (Does it include questions from old issues of Tiger Beat?)

  6. I love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Phantom Tollbooth. Now two of my favorite books are on your list.

  7. I love this Rilke-esque post!

    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?"

    (Mary Oliver, The Summer Day --

  8. Oh, yes, jules! That's one of my could I have left Mary Oliver off my list? I also love her poem that begins: "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began..."

  9. That's one of my top-five favorite Oliver poems, Sara (the one you started off with) . . .


  10. This must be one of those questions exclusive to fathers. My dad would ask, wait, provide the answer, and then laugh without giving any explanation.

    I've never heard of anyone else who had heard of my father's "favorite joke." Do you know where it might have come from in the first place? (This is one of those things I regret not asking him, but then again, I had no reason not to think he hadn't made it up himself.)

  11. I don't know where it came from, Magda, but I'll try to find out. I'm sorry your dad's not around for you to ask. Did he like puns, too? My dad is big on those. The more he can make me groan, the better.

  12. wrong! My father's answer is the correct one: because a snake has no legs.


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