I saw a sports car rear-ending an ice cream van. I stopped to make sure the occupants weren’t injured. They were fine.
The problem was the sports car had lodged itself under the ice cream van, and we couldn’t move them off the road. I phoned the police to attend and asked if there was anything else I could do.
“Can you go to the ice cream van driver and ask him to put some cones out."
I keep anecdotes like that one up my sleeve. Whenever I find myself in the company of others and something triggers my memory, I’ll recount a story. I find the ones with punchlines are best.
For the times when I’m waiting for a bus, on a long journey, or even just a boring lull in the conversation, I keep a bank of quick puzzles in my head. Most people like a puzzle. It passes the time.
The problem for most people is remembering all those anecdotes and puzzles. Anecdotes come to mind when something triggers the memory. Mention a road accident and I’ll recall the ice cream van accident.
With puzzles, it’s not so easy. So here are a few you can try. Answers are at the bottom and they include a neat way of remembering them all.
- If 11 + 2 = 1 what does 9 + 5 = ?
- A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece. Which has the most?
- An Arab sheik is old and must leave his fortune to one of his two sons. He makes a proposition: Both sons will ride their camels in a race, and whichever camel crosses the finish line LAST will win the fortune for its owner. During the race, the two brothers wander aimlessly for days, neither willing to cross the finish line. In desperation, they ask a wise man for advice. He tells them something; then the brothers leap onto the camels and charge toward the finish line. What did the wise man say?
- What tastes better than it smells?
- There are three doors in front of you. You must go through one to avoid being killed by an assassin. The door on the left leads to a pit of lava. The door in the center leads to a room filled with deadly gas. The door on the right leads to a lion that hasn’t eaten in three months. Which door do you choose?
- What weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of stones?
- I’m standing on one side of a 40ft wide river and my dog Toby is on the other. I take a dog treat out of my pocket and Toby immediately crosses the river without getting wet and without using a bridge a boat or any other means than his legs. How did Toby do it?
- You see a non-motorised rowing boat going upstream on a non-frozen river yet there isn’t a single person on board. How is that possible?
- You and your spouse have three sons, and each son has one sister. How many people are in the family?
- What odd number becomes even when you take two away from it?
- During which month do people sleep the least?
- If you’re running in a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in?
How on earth am I going to remember all those? Honestly, you will surprise yourself.
Once you have read the answers over twice, read the questions one more time and you will see how each logically follows on to the next. Our memories are more powerful than most people think.
This neat little trick will mean you have a bank of questions in your head that you can use any time you have… the time. Time — go.
When you are hanging around waiting, you have all the time in the world, that’s your cue. It’s how you remember the first one.
- The 11 + 2 refers to the time 11 pm + 2 hours = 1 am. Thus 9 + 5 = 2. You have all the time you want to get this (clue).
- Sticking with the theme of time — an hourglass has the most moving parts, what with all that sand.
- And when you think of sand, you think of the desert. And that brings you to the Arba Sheik. Answer: The rules of the race were that the owner of the camel that crosses the finish line last wins the fortune. The wise man simply told them to switch camels.
- What tastes better than it smells, why a tongue, of course. You remember this one because camels have big horrible tongues.
- You use your tongue and teeth to eat food. What has big teeth? A lion — picture it behind one of three doors. Answer: The door on the right. A lion that hasn’t eaten in three months would be dead.
- When you say ‘dead’ for the answer to №5 — think dead weight. Now you have the weight question. Answer: They are both the same, stupid. A pound of feathers is the same weight as a pound of stones.
- Whenever I think of stones, I picture myself skimming stones at the side of a river. Answer: Think laterally. It’s winter. It’s cold, really cold — the river is frozen.
- There have to be people on board to power it upstream. Answer: The rowers are all married. Not a single person among them.
- Married people have kids sometimes. The three sons have one sister, the same sister. Mum, dad, 3 sons and a sister. So that leads you to the answer six.
- Six is an even number. So now you have the number question. Clever people might say the answer to this is also six, because if you take away the S and the I from SIX, that leaves X, which is ten in Roman numerals and ten is even. But the answer is Eleven, because if you take the E and the L away you are left with EVEN.
- The key to remembering this one is the TWO you take away. The second month of the year is February. And people sleep less in February because there aren’t as many days.
- It is also the clue for overtaking the person in second place. Answer: Second place. If you overtake the person in second, you are one behind the leader, so you are now second.
About the Creator
Curious mind. Author of three funny memoirs. Top writer on Quora and Medium x 9. Writing to entertain, and inform. Goal: become the oldest person in the world (breaking my record every day).