Dear Ed ...

I had an epiphany in Bunnings on Easter Sunday that I'd like to share it with you. I'd gone in for some low-tack masking tape, but I couldn't

find any and bought a Spathiphyllum palm instead. I was standing at the cash register wondering just how a quest to buy masking tape had ended up with the purchase of a pot plant when a Rolling Stones song came on over the PA, with a not-yet geriatric Mick Jagger singing, “You can't always get what you want, but if you try some time you might find you get what you need.” Shivers ran down my spine, then a ray of sun shone through the windows directly onto me. Does this mean Bunnings is the new church, given it was Easter and all that? And if Mick Jagger knows what I want, does he also know what I need? And if I dry Spathiphyllum leaves in the oven, can I use them as low-tack masking tape?



Dear Charmaine

Your query is way over my head. I thought of raising an arm to signal the lifeguards, then realised I was sitting at a desk and totally unequipped for aquatic activities of any nature. Apart from mosques and Bunnings stores both being green (albeit a different PMS shade), I can safely say that Bunnings is not the new church. And I would not rely on London School of Economics' most famous student for the dispensation of sagacity, bons mots, pithy advice or anything related to what most people consider to be normal life. But you probably could take notes on how to turn your hobby into billions.

However, I think you're stretching the truth a bit. Everybody knows that Bunnings stores, like casinos, are designed to keep the sun out, so consumers keep going up and down the aisles like rats in a maze, bouncing from fertilizer to barbeque, finally getting ejected into the carpark some days later clutching a macadamia cookie, a burnt sausage wrapped in a slice of dead white bread and a trolley full of Romanian whipper-snipper attachments for which you have no use. So, single ray of sun, plus epiphany, plus Rolling Stones song sounds like a load of [noun of choice*] to me.

But given you have raised matters celestial, and are desperately seeking meaning from random events, I would like to give you this, gratis, courtesy of one of my authors who has a day job as a compound typo generator:

You can use any of the trigonometric rations as long as you use the matching one and consider the angel opposite the smallest side.

Now isn't that a compound typo of dazzling beauty? You could turn “rations” back into “ratios” and “angel” back into “angle”, but you'd be missing the whole point. What kind of rations do angels eat? And why are they trigonometric? It brings to mind that movie where John Travolta walked around dressed as an angel, with wings attached to his back. I don't remember what he ate in that movie, but it probably wasn't trigonometric rations.

I hope you can gain some nourishment from the beauty of this compound typo. But I can't help with the Spathyphyllum.

Any queries, quibbles or quandaries, give me a hoy.


[* Please add your own noun here. My original choice was deemed offensive by Urban Dictionary; my second choice lacked the nuance I was seeking. Perhaps insert the foulest version of “fanciful nonsense” you can think of and be done with it. And, Curious of Kew, don't email me asking what my first choice was.]