Why do Clocks run clockwise?

BOOK: Why do Clocks run clockwise?
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WHY DO CLOCKS

RUN CLOCKWISE?

An Imponderables®

Book

David Feldman

Illustrated by Kassie Schwan

For Michael Leo Feldman

Contents

Preface

xxi

WHAT is the purpose of the warning label on a

mattress? And what happens if I rip it off?

1

WHY do dogs walk around in circles before lying

down?

2

IF nothing sticks to Teflon, how do they get Teflon

to stick to the pan?

3

WHY is the scoring system in tennis so weird?

3

WHY have humans lost most of their body hair?

6

WHY don’t people get goosebumps on their

faces?

8

WHY doesn’t countdown leader on films count

all the way to one?

9

WHEN a company sells lobster tails to restaurants

and stores, what do they do with the rest of the

lobster?

9

WHY do they need twenty mikes at press

conferences?

11

WHY do some localities use salt and others use

sand to treat icy roads?

12

vii

WHY is the telephone touch-tone key pad
arranged differently from the calculator key pad?

14

WHAT is the difference between a “kit” and a

“caboodle”?

15

WHAT is the purpose of the ball on top of a
flagpole?

17

WHY does Wayne Gretzky wear a ripped

uniform?

18

WHY is there always pork in cans of pork and
beans?

19

HOW do military cadets find their caps after
tossing them in the air upon graduation?

20

WHY does American electricity run on A.C. rather
than D.C.?

21

WHAT is that sniffing noise boxers make when
throwing punches?

22

WHY, in any box of assorted chocolates, are the
caramels square, the nougats rectangular, the nuts
oval, and the creams circular?

24

WHATEVER happened to pay toilets?

25

WHEN a pothole is formed on the road, why
don’t we see the displaced concrete?

27

WHY do most cities in the United States put a
maximum-height restriction on a fence a
homeowner may put around his residence?

27

WHY do your feet swell up so much in airplanes?

31

viii / DAVID FELDMAN

WHY are hamburger-bun bottoms so thin?

32

WHY do golfers yell “fore” when warning of an
errant golf shot?

34

WHY are all executions in the United States held
between midnight and seven A.M.?

34

WHY do ants tend to congregate on sidewalks?

37

WHY do American cars now have side-view
mirrors on the passenger side with the message,

“Objects in the mirror are closer than they
appear”?

38

WHY do dogs smell funny when they get wet?

40

Why do all dentist offices smell the same?

41

WHAT are those large knobs between sets of
escalators in department stores?

42

WHY is Jack the nickname for John?

43

WHICH side gets the game ball when a football
game ends in a tie?

44

WHY do ketchup bottles have necks so narrow
that a spoon won’t fit inside?

44

Ivory Soap advertises its product as 99 and
44/100 percent pure—99 and 44/100 percent

what
? And what is the impure 56/100 percent of
Ivory Soap?

46

WHY do we grow lawns around our houses?

47

WHY do many exterminators wear hard hats?

51

WHY DO CLOCKS RUN CLOCKWISE? / ix

WHO was the Emmy that the Emmy Award is
named after?

52

WHY don’t dogs develop laryngitis, sore throats,
voice changes, or great discomfort after barking
continuously?

53

WHY are there eighteen holes on a golf course?

54

WHAT does 0° in the Fahrenheit scale signify?

55

WHAT does each one-degree increment in the
Fahrenheit scale signify?

55

WHY doesn’t rain come down the chimney into
the fireplace when smoke can get out the
chimney?

57

WHY do Curad bandage wrappers sparkle in the
dark when you open them?

58

WHY do garment labels often say “
Professionally

Dry-clean Only”?

59

WHAT is the difference between “flotsam” and

“jetsam”?

60

WHY do doughnuts have holes?

62

WHY does a newspaper tear smoothly vertically
and raggedly horizontally?

64

WHY are the Netherlands also called Holland and
the Low Countries? And why are its people called
Dutch?

65

WHAT are those twitches and jerks that
occasionally wake us just as we are falling asleep?

67

x / DAVID FELDMAN

WHY are there twenty-one guns in a

twenty-one-gun salute?

68

WHY do women tend to have higher voices than
men? Why do short people tend to have higher
voices than tall people?

70

Washington, D.C. streets are named

alphabetically. Why is there no “J” Street?

71

WHAT happens to the tread that wears off tires?

72

WHY do whips make a cracking sound when
snapped?

74

HOW did Xmas come to stand for Christmas?

75

DO batteries wear out faster if you turn up the
volume of a radio?

76

WHY do some ranchers place old boots on
fenceposts?

77

WHY do bananas, unlike other fruits, grow
upward?

81

WHY is there a black dot in the middle of
otherwise white bird droppings?

83

DO toilet-seat covers really protect us against
anything?

83

WHY do sailors wear bell-bottom trousers?

84

WHY doesn’t sugar spoil or get moldy?

85

WHY do nurses wear white? Why do surgeons
wear blue or green when operating?

86

WHY DO CLOCKS RUN CLOCKWISE? / xi

WHY doesn’t a “two-by-four” measure two inches
by four inches?

87

WHY is an acre 43,560 square feet?

89

WHY do men’s bicycles have a crossbar?

90

WHY is royalty referred to as “blue-blooded”?

91

WHY are people immune to their own body
odor?

92

WHY are the outside edges of the pages of many
paperback books colored?

93

HOW do they shell pine nuts?

94

HOW can owners of small cemeteries make
money? How can they plan their finances when
they have to wait for people to die before they
derive income?

95

WHY are most homes painted white?

100

WHY is one side of Reynolds Wrap aluminum
foil shiny and the other side dull?

102

WHY do superficial paper cuts tend to hurt more
than grosser cuts?

103

WHY does the brightest setting of a three-way
light bulb always burn out first?

104

HOW do three-way light bulbs work? How do
the bulbs “know” at which intensity to shine?

105

WHY do snakes dart out their tongues?

106

xii / DAVID FELDMAN

WHERE do they get that organ music in skating
rinks?

107

WHAT do Federal Express delivery people do
after 10:30 A.M.?

109

WHY do so many mass mailers use return
envelopes with windows?

111

WHY does the skin on the extremities wrinkle
after a bath? And why only the extremities?

112

WHAT happens to the razor blades that are
thrown down used-blade slots in hotels?

113

WHY doesn’t evaporated milk have to be
refrigerated?

114

WHY is evaporated milk sold in soldered cans?

114

WHAT causes the ringing sound you get in your
ears?

115

HOW did chocolate bunnies for Easter come
about?

116

WHY do old women dye their hair blue?

117

WHAT are the criteria for the placement of a

“Dangerous Curve” or “Dangerous Turn” sign?

119

WHY don’t we ever see dead birds?

120

WHY do all packaged bakery goods seem to be
registered by the Pennsylvania Department of
Agriculture?

121

WHY DO CLOCKS RUN CLOCKWISE? / xiii

HOW do they keep all the raisins in cereal boxes
from falling to the bottom?

123

WHY do runs in stockings usually run up?

124

DOES putting women’s hosiery in the freezer
forestall runs?

125

WHY do traffic signals use red, yellow, and green
lights? Why is the red light on top, green light on
the bottom, and yellow light in between?

126

WHY are cows usually milked from the right
side?

128

WHY do many merchants ask customers to put
their addresses and phone numbers on credit card
slips?

129

ON airplanes, why do our ears pop and bother
us more on descent than on ascent?

130

WHERE do houseflies go during the winter?

133

WHERE does white pepper come from?

135

WHAT purpose do wisdom teeth serve?

137

WHY are ancient cities buried in layers? And
where did the dirt come from?

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