Green Means Go!

Jun 16, 2008

RAY: This is from my spring break series. It was sent in by a fellow named Richard Blythe. And I did mess around with it a little bit but the spirit of it is there.

Some years ago a college friend and I drove to Florida for spring break. We spent most of our money on beer and babes and like fools we squandered the rest. But after a week that we mostly couldn't remember, broke and sunburned, we began the drive back to college.

At one point we found ourselves on a long stretch of a country highway that had two lanes in both directions. It was mid morning, clear weather, no inky shadows. Off in the distance we saw two trucks in front of us as they slowed and eventually stopped for a red light.

One of them was a cement truck. And the other was a dump truck and the dump truck had a tarp covering its load which could have been anything from wood chips to, say, granite tombstones but no way to tell. I was driving and because our car and these two trucks were heading in the same direction, I obviously had to stop behind one of them. So I asked my co-pilot what he would do.

"I dunno," he said. "What does it matter?"

"Well," I said, "I would like to stop behind the truck that's likely to accelerate faster when the light turns green."

"Oh," he said and started thinking about it and he said, "in that case I'd stop behind the cement truck."

And he was right.

When the signal changed the cement truck, although no jackrabbit, did beat out the dump truck. So the question is, did he have x-ray vision, was it a lucky guess, or something else?

And if it was something else, what was it?

RAY: Here's the answer. When the signal changed, the cement truck did beat out the dump truck. And my friend didn't have x-ray vision, but what he noticed was - 

TOM: The cement truck wasn't turning.

RAY: Exactly! Even though he couldn't see into the cement truck he knew that there was no cement in it because the drum wasn't turning.

TOM: Whoa. That's good.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah. The winner this week is Matthew Patterson from Seattle, Washington, and for having his answer selected at random from the pile of correct answers that we actually got, Matthew's going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get our brand-new four-CD set, Field Guide to the North American Wacko.

RAY: Congratulations, Matthew!

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