Friday, September 12, 2008

Space pen

A pen and pencil lie on the table in front of Vladimir.


Vladimir: You know the story about the Americans and the Russians during the 1960’s space race?

George: Which one?

Vladimir: About writing in space.

George: I think I’ve heard that, how did it go again?

Vladimir: The problem was that ordinary pens couldn’t write in space so the Americans spent a million dollars developing the ball-point pen. Then they wanted to find out how the Russians wrote notes in space. They found that they just used pencils.

George: Ha, I remember that now. Use of existing resources.



In retelling an old story, Vladimir is careful not to refer to the story too directly and thus lose the floor. George is slow on the pickup and Vladimir can get extra ground from being the one to deliver the punch-line to this well-known story. George is left to deliver the moral of this story since he is unable to offer a better one.


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