I have a friend who, as a child, was proudly informed by an uncle that he had made a model of HMS Victory from used matchsticks. My friend’s response – “Why?” – left his uncle not only speechless and very annoyed, but (later) somewhat ruminative as he pondered the entire course of his life.
The sheer pointlessness of human endeavour is one of its charms, and our creativity in devising pointless activities has paradoxically enabled us to become the dominant multicellular life-form on this planet. (It can be well argued that bacteria, or single-celled fungi, or even viruses, are King.)
Sometimes bathos descends into pathos:
Puzzled Jack Harris spent more than seven years completing a 5ft (1.5m), 5,000-part jigsaw – only to find the final piece was missing
He started work on the mammoth jigsaw in 2002, after it was bought for him as a Christmas present by his daughter-in-law, Eve.
Mr Harris, 86, of Shepton Mallet in Somerset, said the crucial part of The Return of the Prodigal Son may have been eaten by one of his daughter-in-law’s dogs.