Giggles from the brother

surprise emoticonSome years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco. Mensa, as you know, is a national organization for people who have an IQ of 140 or higher. 

Several of the Mensa members went out for lunch at a local cafe. When they sat down, one of them discovered that their salt shaker contained pepper, and their pepper shaker was full of salt.   

How could they swap the contents of the two bottles without spilling any, and using only the implements at hand?  

Clearly  —  this was a job for Mensa minds. 

The group debated the problem; presented ideas; and finally, came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer. 

They called the waitress over ready to dazzle her with their solution. 

“Ma’am,” they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the pepper shaker contains salt and the salt shaker” 

But before they could finish, the waitress interrupted. “Oh, sorry about that.”

She leaned over the table, unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them. 

There was dead silence at the Mensa table.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

43 thoughts on “Giggles from the brother

  1. How hilarious! I’m no Mensa member, but I have on occasion found myself making way too much of a problem that could be solved simply. Not long ago I used my “Find my iPhone” app because I couldn’t find my phone. After going through those steps my dad said, “why didn’t you just call your phone from the landline.” Duh! Never occurred to me!


  2. Hilarious. that could have been some of the researchers I worked with…that’s why they often needed us non-official-noncertified brains..or nothing would have gotten done. My brother’s an engineer – they are their own breed, too (giggles)


  3. I’m surprised at all the mentions of engineers. My late husband, daughter and son-in-law are all engineers, and I always found them to be more practical and quick thinking than I am. (Oh dear! Maybe that says something about me, not them.)


    • They are very practical and quick thinking. I always found them reluctant to make quick decisions even though their first thought was right. They liked to noodle things over. I worked for a large firm that was mostly engineering. Thousands of engineers. I could do a post on their stereotypical characteristics. Even those who were less engineer-like still shared some. Pocket protectors are the tip of the iceberg! When I was in training, I always threatened to do a class called “Simulating warmth for engineers.” True story. That said, many of them are my dearest friends (and siblings and exes.)


  4. I thought there’d be a quiz at the end, so at first switching tops was my solution. But then I remembered most (or a lot) of salt shakers have more holes than pepper shakers!


  5. Very clever … reminds me of the old standby, “How many Mensa members does it take to change a light bulb”? ANSWER: “None – We’re already too bright to need any artificial brilliance”. 🙂


  6. As a wife of an engineer, I got a big laugh out of this! Over-thinking is what he does, he can’t help himself. But, in the defense of all engineers everywhere, thank goodness they think that way. Our buildings, bridges, water systems, etc. would fall down around us (our not get built at all) without them! Just keep them away from the easy stuff.


    • I respect their logical thinking and learned a lot from living with them. My brother is one. I worked for an engineering company and I was married to one. However, the biggest downfall was getting a decision out of them. They don’t punt. They need to do all their research first.


  7. This is funny. My son was invited to join Mensa some years ago. His response was “why would I pay someone one hundred dollars to tell me I am smart.” I guess he does have some common sense after all!


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