Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Timeshifting

These days, I've been listening to podcasts from NPR on my commutes to and from work. One of these is "Car Talk," with Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers. A regular feature of that program, to which I'm sure nobody needs any introduction, the Puzzler. Ordinarily, I gloss over the Puzzler, because they usually involve Higher Logic, small bits of paper with cryptic notations on them, or algebra, which I leave to the pros and concentrate instead on the often very funny byplay with the callers.

This week's Puzzler, though, I figured out nearly as soon as Ray Magliozzi read it out. Here it is; see if the answer is as immediately apparent to you as it was to me (quoting from memory):
I visited my friend Mary in her office. As I walked in, she was dialing the phone. She shushed me, saying she wouldn't be a minute, she was calling her husband. The call went through, and when her husband answered, she said, "Hi, Tim, it's me." She then asked a question that would have been a very strange way to open a conversation twenty (or thirty, or fifty) years ago. A strange question for any caller to ask anybody, not just Mary to Tim. What was the question?
Write your answer on a 5000-watt Black & Decker electrical generator, with stereo speakers, full carpeting, eight-cylinder Speedo rack-and-pinion flywheel wind-up, and a pony, and send it to...

11 comments:

DonBoy said...

rot13:

jurer ner lbh?

gregra&gar said...

"Where are you?" I have never had a cell phone and was non-plussed when a friend called my standard land line with just such an opening ten years ago. The answer to the puzzler was as apparent to me as you say it was for you.

goodfoot08 said...

"Are you home?"

a variation, only.

Will Divide said...

How about, "can you hear me?"

BreadBox said...

I definitely think that it will be "where are you", but another one that I like is "did you get my email message?" which is a frequent phone question to me... especially when I haven't responded to someone...

N.

bobby lightfoot said...

"Can I borrow 4 bucks for a gallon of gas?"

Neddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neddie said...

One day I'll learn to spell, and then I'll be dangerous.

I was thinking "Are you at home?" too, but "Where are you?" makes sense too.

"Can you believe we invaded the wrong goddamned country?" is another candidate.

Matt said...

"Where are you?" was my first thought . . .

though I suppose "I can has cheezburger?" would work, too.

reincheque said...

Hmmm, she could've been ringing the home phone and asking what room he was in (if they had handsets in different rooms)...

How's about "did YOU post our sex video on Youtube?"

Regards,


djp

noblesavage said...

"I'm leaving you for Neddie Jingo."