Zen and the Art of Telling Time.

May 28, 2007

RAY: This puzzler was sent in by a fellow named Roger from Sunnyvale, California.

My friend Russell is about as laid back as you can get. He doesn't own a watch or a cell phone. He even unplugged the clock in his car.

Recently, he visited this brand-new, mega-bookstore near his house. First, he checked out the cafe where he bought himself a cappuccino, decaf of course. Then he drifted over to the periodicals area where he perused his favorite golf publication, 'Putz' magazine. And then, as you might expect, he found the yoga and meditation books and after considerable browsing he finally made a purchase and left.

As soon as he got his car on the highway he remembered that his sister had invited him over for dinner. Now, Russell's sister is one uptight pain-in-the-butt clock watcher, and if he showed up late for dinner, she'd kill him. He began to sweat. 'What if I spent too much time in the bookstore?' he worried.

In a panic, poor Russell reached for the book that he had just bought, 'Zen and the Art of the Leveraged Buyout.' Within moments, his fear had abated. He wouldn't be late after all. What was in that book that set his mind at ease?

RAY: What he saw in the book was not the text or the title or any of that. What he saw was the receipt with the time on it.

TOM: Exactly, the receipt.

RAY: He saw the time and he knew he had plenty of time. He wasn't going to be late for dinner. Anyway, who's our winner?

TOM: Oh boy. The winner this week is John Salinger, from Berwick, Maine. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, John is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which he can pick up our CD of calls that are all about fathers. It's called 'Why You Should Never Listen to Your Father When It Comes to Cars.' And it's yours, John, if you want it, for being our Puzzler winner.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter