Ray and Tom are sitting next to each other on a long flight from L.A. to Paris.

Ray leans over to the Tom and asks if he would like to play a fun game.

Tom just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

Ray persists and explains that the game is real easy and a lotta fun. He explains, "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $5."

Again, Tom politely declines and tries to get to sleep. Ray, now somewhat exasperated, says, "OK, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $50!"

This catches Tom's attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game. Ray asks the first question. "What's the exact distance from the earth to the moon?"

Tom doesn't say a word, but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to Ray.

Now, it's Tom's turn. He asks Ray, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down on four?"

Ray looks over at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the 'net and the Library of Congress.

Frustrated, he sends e-mails to his co-workers -- all to no avail. After about an hour, he wakes Tom and hands him $50.

Tom politely takes the $50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep.

Ray, more than a little miffed, shakes Tom and asks, "Well, so what's the answer?"

Without a word, Tom reaches into his wallet, hands Ray $5, and turns away to get back to sleep.


Ray Merriam

[ As Read on Car Talk]