Some years ago my sister had twins (yikes, they're 15 now!). Now everyone knows that you're supposed to have a conversation with the new mum about her babies. And everyone knows that the first question you ask is: "boy or girl?" And my sister would answer, "one of each". And then because they're twins, they know they're supposed to ask: "Are they identical?" My sister developed a range of entertaining answers to this one. My favourite was "all except he's got a ...". She even had one guy try to insist identical twins could be of different genders. One of my friends actually followed "Are they identical?" with "I can't believe I just said that" before my sister managed to answer. These people, who are smart enough to feel stupid, are actually the smart ones! Basically dumb formula questions aren't about a desire to know something but not thinking about it first; they're a conversation starter, said without much thought to their content. That's why so many people asked my sister if her twin son and daughter were identical, and its why some many people ask the same simple but not very bright questions at the petrol station when they just want to admire your bike (everyone used to ride once) / boat (they all know boats are for fishing) / Morris Minor (everyone's grandmother had one). What other formula situation/dumb questions have we all experienced? When I went to Ohio and met suburban suicide deer I finally understood why Americans ask... - No, we do not have kangaroos hopping down the streets in suburban Australia.