Thursday, March 4, 2010

men, women, snakes, and courage.

Here's a story some of you might appreciate, and supposedly it's true:
Back in the good old days of the British empire, in colonial India, a British family invited held a dinner party. All the usual suspects were in attendance; an authentic British colonel, an American business man, and so on, just like in Clue. The colonel was explaining how men are endowed with a certain trait that allows them to be calm and courageous in times of danger, but women lack this trait and become hysterical in the same situations. While he was going on, the American noticed the hostess whispering something to one of the servants. The servant left and returned with a saucer of milk, which she place just outside an open door. The American puzzled at this until he remembered that in India, milk is cobra bait. He concluded that there must be a cobra in the room, but there was nowhere for the cobra to hid except under the very table they were sitting at. If he said anything, everyone might panic, and the cobra might strike someone. If he got up, he might startle the snake and the same might happen. So he interrupted the colonel, saying he'd like to test out the colonel's theory by seeing if they could all keep calm and quiet over the next few minutes. The guests sat quietly as they watched the time. Eventually the snake slithered out to the milk. A servant jumped up and slammed the door closed behind it. The colonel, impressed said that the American's calm actions proved his point. The American turned to the hostess and asked how she knew the cobra was under the table. She looked at him and said calmly, "It was on my foot."