There were once two people travelling on a train, a scientist
and a poet, who were riding in the same compartment. They had never
met before, so naturally, there wasn't much conversation between the
The poet was minding his own buisness, looking out the window
at the beauty of the passing terrain.
The scientist was very uptight, trying to think of things he
didn't know so he could try to figure them out. Finally, the
scientist was so bored, that he said to the poet, -Hey, do you want to
play a game?-
The poet, being content with what he was doing, ignored him
and continued looking out the window, humming quietly to himself.
This infuriated the scientist, who irratibly asked again, -Hey, you,
do you want to play a game? I'll ask you a question, and if you get
it wrong, you give me $5. Then, YOU ask ME a question, and if I can't
answer it, I'll give YOU $5.-
The poet thought about this for a moment, but he deciced
against it, seeing that the scientist was obviously a very bright man.
He politely turned down the scientist's offer.
The scientist, who, by this time was going mad, tried a final
time. -Look, I'll ask you a question, and if you can't answer it, you
give me $5. Them you ask ME a question, and if I can't answer it,
I'll give you $50!-
Now, the poet was not that smart academically, but he wasn't
totally stupid. He readily accepted the offer. -Okay,- the scientist
said, -what is the EXACT distance between the Earth and the Moon?-
The poet, obviously not knowing the answer, didn't stop to
think about the scientist's question. He took a $5 bill out of his
pocket and handed it to the scientist. The scientist happily accepted
the bill and promptly said, -Okay, now it's your turn.-
The poet thought about this for a few minutes, then asked,
-Alright, what goes up a mountain on three legs, but comes down on
The bright glow quickly vanished from the scientist's face.
He thought about this for a long time, taking out his notepad and
making numerous calculations. He finally gave up on his notepad and
took out his laptop, using his Multimedia Encyclopedia.
After about an hour of this, the poet quietly watching the
mountains of Colorado go by the whole time, the scientist FINALLY gave
up. He reluctantly handed the poet a $50 bill. The poet accepted it
graciously, turning back to the window.
-Wait!- the scientist shouted. -You can't do this to me!
What's the answer??-
The poet looked at the scientist and calmly put a $5 bill into