Some years ago a farmer chap approached me as he wandered rather erratically out of the pub, and said, 'Ah! You're the very man to ask! You've got a bleedin' PhD in science eh? This bloody particle smasher in Switzerland thing. What the hell use is it?'
So I said, 'Oh, the Large Hadron Collider?' which made me sound intelligent, and then added, 'I don't know,' which didn't.
I could have said much more, but I really couldn't be bothered.
So he said, 'You, don't know! So what the hell have they spent millions building it for?'
So I said, 'To try to find things out about matter and the universe.'
So he asked, 'Why?'
So I said, 'Eh... because it's interesting, and it might show us how to do some new and amazing things, eventually.'
So he said, 'What things?'
So I said, 'I don't know.'
So he said, 'Well who the hell does know then?'
So I said, 'Nobody. They don't know what it will find out. Or even if it will find out anything.'
So he rolled his eyes and asked, 'So how come, when I know that a new dairy unit would help me make more milk, I can't even get a loan, but these guys with bleedin' PhDs in Switzerland get millions to spend on a thing that they don't know will do anything?'
So I admitted, 'I don't know.'
So he said, 'Do you actually know anything?'
So I furrowed my brow, thought about this a bit, and said, 'I don't know.'
So he said, rather firmly, 'Bloody hell... I'm glad I've not got an education!'
And then, more recently, he accosted me again, drunk again, with, 'This Hicks Boron thing. What the hell is that?'
'The Higgs Boson?'
'That's what I said... What is it?'
'I don't know.'
'What use is it?'
'I don't know.'
'Are you still getting paid to teach people?'
'Because,' he declared before I could answer, 'I don't fuckin' know!'