Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Case of the Disappearing Teaspoons

If you want a spoonful of sugar, you'll have to bring your own teaspoon.

Nicey at Nice Cup of Tea and A Sitdown does us tea-drinkers a great service by reporting the following story:

The British Medical Journal has just published a paper on its website on the troubling issue of teaspoon disappearance. The research was carried out in Melbourne at the Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. The study involved the tracking of 70 specially tagged teaspoons over a five month period. The results showed that a staggering 80% of the teaspoons went missing during the research period with an observed teaspoon half-life of 81 days. In order to maintain a base level of 70 teaspoons it was calculated that an extra 250 teaspoons would need to be supplied over the course of the year.

The ground breaking study also found that the type and quality of the teaspoons had no bearing on how susceptible they were to loss, with cheap plastic ones just as vulnerable as posh stainless steel ones. The study also revealed that large communal tea drinking areas suffered much more than small group orientated tea areas.

Whilst the researchers conclude that teaspoons could be disappearing to a Spoonoid planet, little real attempt is made to explain where they are going to. Indeed the data presented does not refer to the accompanying incidence of yogurt eating or those little individual cheesecakes in pots.

Spoonoid and Sockoid must travel in the same orbit, eh? On this topic, I picked up a lovely set of teaspoons when I was in Sheffield last May. (Yes, they are real Sheffield-made spoons.) Fortunately, they're all accounted for.

And don't you love the word "whilst"? Wonder why we don't use it over here?


Unknown said...

Yes, it is a nice word [though not as fascinating as some] and I find it hard to believe you don't use it 'over there'.

Would you use 'while' instead ?

Johnno said...

It's the teaspoon gnomes (gnomis microcochleare (te)) which are closely related to the pen gnomes (gnomis stylus) and the sock gnomes(gnomis soccus) .

Pen gnomes habitat my abode, knocking off pens with little regard for human laws, building their little houses with them. Sock gnomes are worse, never taking a matching pair of socks.

MaryB said...

Walker, yep. We say "while." Dull, ain't it? I do manage to throw in a "whilst" every now and then. And I use the word "loo" all the time. It's just easier than "bathroom" or "toilet."

Johnno, I have a pen gnome, as well. They mostly like to remove all writing utensils from anywhere near a telephone or computer. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

And did you filch your set, one at a time, whilst the wait staff was looking the other way?

MaryB said...

Oh, dear, Winston. How'd you guess? I had to stay in Sheffield an extra three days to complete the set!

petercmoore said...

Amongst a circle of my friends the word "spoon" has come to mean "idiot" or "fool".

"Which one of you spoons has taken the Post-It notes from my desk? Eh?"

The antonym for "spoon" is "Lord". As in:
"Brian's pinched a whole stack of Post-It notes from the stationery cupboard. What a Lord!"

I'm sure all this spoon-related information will help in some way. I'm just not sure how...

MaryB said...

Well, yeah, PT! It all helps, buddy. I'll try out "spoons" at work today and see how it (they?) floats.

And you knew I'd love finding "amongst" whilst perusing your comment!

Tamar said...

Well - talk about joy! This post (and the comments) has me laughing and laughing ... made my day. What on earth did I do without your blog all these months?

Unknown said...

If I typed the phrase "While the researchers conclude ......" I would think it grammatically incorrect over here in England - it has to be "Whilst ....." for me.

MaryB said...

There you go, Walker, thinking in English and not American! ;-)