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Wonderful world of whimsy
Nov 25, 2011

 

 A man is stopped by the police at midnight and asked where he’s going.
“I’m on the way to listen to a lecture about the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the human body.”
“Really? And who’s going to give a lecture at this time of night?” asked the policeman.
“My wife.” the man replied. 
I’m not sure if any of the following actually happened, but it makes a great story.
At a computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry, saying: “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”
If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, General Motors replied, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics: 
• For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day. 
• Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
• Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason, you would simply accept this. 
• Occasionally, executing a maneouvre, such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
• Apple would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads. 
• The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed an Illegal Operation” warning light.
• The airbag system would ask, “Are you sure?” before deploying. 
• Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna. 
• Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. 
• You'd have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.
He said to me, “What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?”
I said to him, “Turn sideways and look in the mirror!”
He said to me, “How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?”
I said to him, “I don't know. It’s never happened.” 
In Charlotte, North Carolina, a lawyer supposedly purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars and then insured them against, among other things, fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost “in a series of small fires.”
 The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. 
The lawyer sued and won! Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed that the claim was frivolous, but nevertheless said that the lawyer held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable “fire” and was thus obligated to pay the claim. 
Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars that perished in the “fires.” 
Now, the best part ... After the lawyer cashed the cheque, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine. 
This allegedly “true” story won first place in the Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.
“Very funny, I thought; but hang on, why do I already know it?” wrote Marcel Berlins, a lawyer and university lecturer, in an October 15, 2002, Guardian commentary. “If it won a ‘recent’ contest, how come I remember it from way back? Anyway, what is this ‘Criminal Lawyers Award Contest?’ On to the Net I went, to discover very little, except that every time I tried to get information about this alleged contest or its organizers, I got a form to fill in about some legal services outfit. Conclusion: the whole thing is made up, and anyway, I don’t think it’s legally possible, on several grounds. But I bet it will keep doing the rounds, just because the report says ‘this is a true story.’ Moral: not every legal anecdote that comes from America is the truth, even if it is headed Only in America.”
The story falls under the category of “Urban Legend.” The hoax and variations of it have been circulating since the 1960s.