Ah! A nodeshell to rescue!

Ever want to be the life of the party, win friends and influence people? Show off your (drumroll please) amazing ability to short circuit the language center of the human brain?!?

Do a couple of these tricks with a small (no more than 5) group of people and you'll be guaranteed all these things ... and more (like the girl who slapped me because everyone laughed at her for falling for these pranks).

Try them on your best friend, then check the bottom of this writeup for the results I've most commonly observed. Then go Broadway baby!

One
Ask someone to "say the word tin, like a tin can, out loud, ten times."
Then ask them what an aluminum can is made from.

Two
Ask someone to spell the following words:

  • folk, as in folk song
  • joke
  • coke, as in Coca-Cola (or cocaine, depending on the party)
    Then ask them what the white of an egg is called.

    Three
    Ask someone to spell the word fort.
    Then ask them what they eat their cereal with.

    Four
    Ask someone what they would call a spooky thing that haunts houses.
    Then ask them what one puts in a toaster.


    One: Nine times out of ten, the person questioned will say an aluminum can is made of tin, so ask them several times to make sure.

    Two: Again, about 90% of people will say "yolk" as in egg yolk, instead of white. And as Azure Monk pointed out, a statistically insignificant number of people will actually answer with albumen. Mostly doctors, for some reason.

    Three: Most times, you'll get the word fork for an answer. It's most amusing when they actually spell fork.

    Four: Yup, you're catching on ... most people say toast. However, if you put toast in a toaster, you get burnt toast. The correct answer would be bread, but people will quibble with you if they've hung around this long and haven't murdered you out of their own embarrassment.

  • The technically correct response to number two is 'albumen'. (Q: What do you call the white of an egg? A: The white! is rather redundant, eh?)

    Even if you don't trip them up, you can sting them with this technicality, because no one knows the word albumen... except, apparently, me.
    Azure Monk runs off to hide in a hole.

    Anyway, here's another one:

    Ask them to say 'silk'.
    Ask them to spell 'silk'.
    Ask them to say 'silk' three times.
    Ask them "What do cows drink?"


    The answer, of course, is water.
    Here's another one.

    You are driving a bus. At the first stop, 17 people get on the bus. At the second stop, 6 people get on and 11 people get off. At the third stop, 14 people get on and 5 people get off. At the fourth stop, 4 people get on and 9 people get off. What color are the bus driver's eyes?

    Looking back at the first line, the bus driver is you. So the bus driver's eyes are the color of your eyes. An alternative is to ask what the bus driver's name is. This is a fun one, but it only works verbally. The order of the stops, the names, and the numbers of people are obviously unimportant.

    As a sidenote, Stupid Human Tricks is also a segment of The Late Show, Dave Letterman's late-night television show. People come up on stage to show off their stupid human tricks. They demonstrate tricks such as bugging their eyes out of their heads, crushing soda cans on their foreheads, and, my personal favorite, juggling while recited the alphabet backwards in French. See also: Stupid Pet Tricks.

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