I recently have become hooked on a TV game show called “Idiotest.” The purpose of the show is to ask the contestants questions that are so dumb, when they don’t answer them correctly – and the majority of them don’t – they end up feeling like complete idiots.
I hate to admit it, but when I watch the show, most of my answers (like 95 percent) also are wrong. And then when I hear the correct answers, I end up groaning and rolling my eyes. This might explain why I usually suffer from sore eyeballs after every show.
One quiz, for example, showed a picture of three people – one very tall, one very short and one of average height and said, “Point to the person who’s the opposite of not tall.”
The contestants pointed to the short guy.
“Wrong,” the host said. “Not tall means short. So the opposite of not tall is tall.”
It took me a while to figure out he was right.
He then asked, “How many outs are there in an inning of baseball?”
“Three!” the contestants answered.
“No,” the host said. “There are two teams up per inning, so there are six outs.”
I’m not sure why I like the show so much. For one thing, it reminds of back when I was a freshman in high school and my English teacher, Mr. Walkins, gave us what he called his Idiot Test. I’m now wondering if he’s the one who submitted the idea for the TV show.
On the day of his infamous test, Mr. Walkins told us, “If you listen very carefully to the questions, the answers will immediately come to you…out of sheer common sense. But if you don’t listen, you will waste a lot of time trying to figure out the answers. And I guarantee you they will be wrong.”
Of course, we all were determined to ace his test. We wanted to prove we weren’t idiots.
Mr. Walkins asked his first question: “I have two current-day United States coins that total exactly 15 cents. But one of them isn’t a dime. What are they?”
We all sat there tossing puzzled glances at each other.
“Are you sure they’re modern-day United States coins?” one student asked.
Mr. Walkins nodded. “Same as the ones you probably have in your pocket right now. You have five minutes to write your answer.”
Impossible, I thought. In order to total 15 cents, one of the coins had to be a dime.
The expressions on my fellow classmates’ faces told me they were as confused as I was…except for Allen, a straight-A student. He sat there smiling, his hands covering the answer he immediately had written on his paper. “It’s really very simple,” he said loud enough for most of us to hear.
We glared at him.
When the five minutes were up, most of us sat there staring at our blank papers.
“Give up?” Mr. Walkins asked.
Defeated, we nodded in unison. That is, except for Allen, who raised his hand.
“The answer is a dime and nickel!” he said, smiling smugly.
We laughed, thinking he wasn’t very smart for a straight-A student.
“That’s right!” Mr. Walkins said. “The two coins are a dime and a nickel.”
A roar of protests immediately filled the classroom.
“But you said one of the coins wasn’t a dime!” several of us reminded him.
Mr. Walkins chuckled and removed a dime and a nickel from his pocket. He held up the nickel. “Is this a dime?” he asked.
We shook our heads.
“Then one of the coins isn’t a dime, is it?” he said. “It’s a nickel! I told you to listen carefully. I didn’t say neither coin was a dime, I said one of the coins wasn’t.”
Before we even had finished muttering under our breaths, Mr. Walkins fired the next question at us. “A man goes into a pet shop and admires a beautiful parrot,” he said. “The salesman tells him that the parrot is guaranteed to repeat every word it hears. ‘If I am lying,’ the salesman says, ‘I will double your money back.’ Well, the man buys the parrot and takes it home. After two months, the bird still hasn’t spoken a word, so the irate customer returns to the pet shop and demands double his money back, as promised. The salesman refuses and tells him that he is sorry, but he had indeed told him the absolute truth about the parrot.”
Mr. Walkins then smiled his irritating little smile and said, “OK, class. Can anyone explain to me why the salesman wasn’t lying when he said the parrot would repeat everything it heard?”
Once again, Allen raised his hand so swiftly, it caused a breeze. “Because the parrot was deaf,” he answered.
I was tempted to launch a spitball at the back of his big brainy head.
The other night, I saw a riddle online that really made me think, mainly because it said the answer was very simple, yet the majority of people aren’t able to figure it out quickly.
The question was: “A father and his son are driving downtown when they are struck by another car. The father is killed instantly, and the son is rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, the surgeon looks at the boy, gasps and says, “I-I can’t operate on this boy…he’s my son.” Who is the surgeon?
I found myself struggling to think of an answer. Was the surgeon his stepfather? Or maybe the boy was adopted and the surgeon was his long-lost biological father?
The answer? The surgeon was the boy’s mother.
“Hardly anyone thinks of the surgeon as being a woman,” the quiz pointed out. “Even in this modern day and age, people still tend to think in stereotypical ways.”
I’ve decided that even though I don’t get the majority of the questions correct, I’m still going to keep watching Idiotest on TV. I guess it’s because it’s reassuring to know that most people can’t answer the questions correctly, either.
That is, except for Allen. I’m sure he’d ace every one of them. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion he might be working for the show as one of the question writers.
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