While I believe my best File 770 posts come from thinking up interesting questions then finding the answers, Dave has taken the concept much farther and gotten a whole line of books out of it.
Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? answers the title question and scores of others, such as:
- Why can’t you buy grape ice cream?
- Do ostriches swim?
- Why can’t you buy bagel holes?
- Why do motorcyclists rev their engines at stoplights?
- Why does Diet-Coke float and Coca-Cola Classic sink? — “including Nobel-Prize quality original research.”
Dave and I were grad assistants in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University long ago. He was a gifted teacher and I enjoyed sitting in on his presentations. For example, I still remember how he compared the way readers process literary motifs with driving an automobile – drivers receive a constant flow of visual information but train themselves to ignore nonessentials and pay the most attention to things like stop signs. Motifs also arrest your attention and make you conscious of developments in a story. (I hope I’ve remembered that correctly because readers of this blog do something similar — wake up only when they catch my mistakes.)
Dave’s new book also tackles annoying “Unimponderables” like “Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?” and “Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille markings?”