He could afford it
- Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham
Sidgwick, 368 pp, £16.99, September 1993, ISBN 0 283 06157 X
This is the story of a man who insisted on having precisely 12 peas on his dinner plate every evening. He threaded the peas all in a row on to his fork and ate them, but if one of the peas was too big to fit on the prong with the rest, it was returned to the chef to be replaced by a pea of standard size. Once you know this everything else follows.