12 March 2010

Read The Question

This afternoon my inbox contained the regular email from The Tablet with edited highlights of the paper's stories for the week. Often I scan the headlines and then read what catches my attention. One story, New powers for bishops to 'sack' priests, caught my attention in particular. Hurriedly I clicked the link to follow this story by Robert Mickens. As I read through I began to think 'this is not really new: I'm sure I read about this months ago' and so decided to corroborate with an instant google search. Trusty old ICN were quick to the rescue with this story, Pope gives new powers to bishops to release priests from ministry, but then I noticed the report was dated June 7 2009. Ah, thinks I, The Tablet are recycling old news. I was sure I'd read it before. Then I checked back on my email from The Tablet to discover they have sent me the electronic version of the paper from 13 June 2009. This explains a lot.

It reminded me of a tale I was recalling just the other day. During my mock O-levels (older UK readers will recognise this expression for our examinations) we were given a paper on physics, as I recall. After the results were published (which I'm pleased to say we all passed) our teacher gave a run down of some of the silly mistakes which were made. He told us a silly person who failed to read even the first question. He reminded us that the question was very simple. How many seconds are there in an hour? Through haste, ignorance or just plain laziness, he chided the class, if you were not careful in reading the question you might be fool enough to answer 60! You might be very bright but still fail on the simplest task and then, to the shock of the class, he revealed that there was one idiot amongst us who may be very good at physics but had spectacularly failed to master the art of reading.

Would you not agree, Mr Johnson, he said?

The shame. I thought I'd learnt to read the question, but clearly I'm up to my old tricks. Thank you to The Tablet for sending this test!

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