Burt Prelutsky

Many years ago, there was a popular radio quiz show called “20 Questions.” The challenge faced by the panelists was to come up with the identity of a person, place or object. All they were told in advance was whether that something was animal, vegetable or mineral.

I have my own list of questions that I suspect would have stumped even the resident experts, Fred Van De Venter, Florence Rinard, Johnnie McPhee and Herb Polesie. To begin with, why do basketball fans go berserk whenever a player dunks a basketball? Considering that the height of the basket has remained 10 feet off the ground even though today’s players are typically one-and-a-half or even two feet taller than they were when the game was invented, the chorus of “oohs” and “ahs” make no sense at all.

Next, I’d love to know why the utterances of such people as Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Penn and Donald Trump, are given such wide dissemination? I mean, even if you found yourself agreeing with any of their banal observations, they never even attempt to say anything in an interesting or amusing manner. In days gone by, you had to be Shakespeare, Twain or Oscar Wilde, now you merely have to appear on “The View.”

Why does singer-song writer Sheryl Crow, who is now well-known for having insisted that, for the sake of the environment, people should limit themselves to using a single sheet of toilet paper per bathroom visit, “except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two or three could be required,” continue doing concert tours? After all, having already made a fortune off her music, it’s not as if she needs the money. So, why will she be busing her band and tons of the paraphernalia required for live performances to such far-flung places as Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota? One would think that the woman who claimed “paper napkins represent the height of wastefulness,” and just so happens to have created a clothing line with what she calls “dining sleeves” -- dress sleeves that are detachable and can be used in lieu of napkins -- would happily do without the ego gratification of performing in person for her adoring fans.

I just wonder if at next year’s Grammy awards, where so many boozers, druggies and sex addicts, take the stage wearing ribbons meant to impress us with their social consciences, a lot of performers will show up with little golden toilet rolls on their lapels, letting us know that they’re dedicated single-sheeters.