The speeding driver

Author's introduction

These are not my own stories. These are ancient stories. I do not claim even an iota of originality. The original authors are buried in oblivion, but the successors are following in the footsteps of their predecessors with gorgeous embellishment. I, too, have indulged lavishly in my own way of embellishment. Long live my humour-wisdom-flooded predecessors, who loved anonymity. May these tales liberate us from the heavy dryness of the mind, and may they transform the dryness of the mind into an ever-blossoming fountain-ecstasy.

The old lady anxiously awaits her plumber

An old lady phoned up a plumbing company, as she badly needed help with her plumbing. The lady said, "Please help me! You must send my plumber immediately! An old pipe broke, and my basement became totally flooded. How I am suffering! I have spent hours and hours cleaning the basement, and now I cannot even use my washing machine. I am so afraid that another pipe will break at any moment. One of your plumbers must come here sooner than at once!"

"Yes, my dear," answered the sympathetic secretary. "I am so sorry for what you are going through. But I have to inform you that we have more work than you can imagine. We are taking care of everyone who calls in the order they call us."

"When will the plumber be here? Tell me!" demanded the old lady.

"I cannot tell you precisely, as we are so busy. I can only say that a plumber will definitely come to your house. When exactly he will come is beyond my control."

"You tell the plumber that I want him here now!" insisted the old lady. Then she angrily hung up the telephone.

One hour later, the old lady called again, only to get the same kind secretary and to be told the same message: "My dear lady, how can I promise you when the plumber will be there? We will do our best."

The old lady kept calling and calling, but to no avail. Finally, a full three days later, she received a call from the plumbing company. The secretary told her that the plumber had come to fix her pipes, and that he was waiting for her at the door.

Already the old lady was furious. She opened the door and shouted at the plumber, "Three days! It takes you three days to come to me. I have been suffering so much because of you!"

"Forgive me! Forgive me!" implored the plumber. "I have come to the wrong house. I am supposed to go to Mrs Jones' place. She informed us ten days ago!"

The desperate artist takes his dog to the doctor

In the middle of the night, a well-known artist brought his dog to a young doctor. The artist said, "Oh, doctor, please forgive me for bringing my dog to you at this hour. I know you do not treat dogs, but veterinarians are so silly. They are not real doctors. They have failed badly in their examinations. That is why they can only become veterinarians and treat animals. They did not get real degrees, and so they do not have proper qualifications. You deal with human beings. I know it is beneath your dignity to treat an animal, but my dog is suffering badly. Please, please make an exception. I will give you lots of money. I beg of you to examine my dog and give him some medicine."

The doctor said, "All right! All right! What can I do? At this hour you have to bring your dog?"

"My dog will die without your help. His case is so serious."

Finally the doctor agreed and prescribed some medicine for the dog. The dog improved with every passing day, and his owner was extremely happy.

A few weeks later, the doctor came to the artist's house, carrying his own front door. The doctor said, "You are an artist. I know it is beneath your dignity to paint like this, but can you not do me a favour? You remember that I agreed to give medicine to your dog. Since you are an artist, can you not paint my door?"

The artist answered, "All right. Since you did me a very big favour, I will do what you are asking."

He started painting the doctor's door, but he did a very bad job. He had never before in his life painted a door.

When the doctor saw his door, he exclaimed, "You have totally ruined my door!"

The artist answered, "You asked me to do something which I never do. I am an artist, not a house painter!"

"But what about your dog? How is he doing?" asked the doctor.

"I am so grateful to you. My dog is still alive because of you. In fact, he is progressing very well," replied the artist.

"You see," said the doctor, "I am not a veterinarian, but I was able to cure your dog. How is it that you are such a great artist, but you cannot even paint my front door?"

What did I do all day?

Many students were at school in their classroom. Most of them were very diligent and worked hard at school, and also at home to prepare their assignments. One particular student, however, was extremely lazy. At the end of the school day, he went to the teacher and said, "Mrs Peabody, I beg of you, please, please tell me what I did today. Did I do any math? Did I do any spelling? Did I draw something? Did I answer any questions you asked? My parents will definitely ask me tonight while we are sitting around the dinner table."

"You do not know what you have done today?" asked the teacher. "Do you have any idea how sad and mad I am that you cannot remember anything at all that you have done in my classroom during the entire day!"

"I am very sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what I have done," answered the boy. "Please tell me, as my parents will most certainly ask me."

"How many subjects we have covered," replied the teacher. "In English we read out quite a few poems and talked about various metres that poets can use. In math we learned how to multiply two long numbers together. In science I demonstrated the laws of gravity. In art we learned how to draw noses and ears. How much we can do in one day!"

The boy pleaded, "I cannot remember anything at all that you are describing. You must please tell me what I myself have done. If you do not tell me, my father and mother will scold me and insult me."

"All right! I am telling you what you did. You slept all the time. You slept and slept and slept. You can tell your parents that this is what you have done during the entire day!"

The grandfather's riddles

A very loving and devoted grandfather went to visit his son and grandchildren. All of them — the grandfather, his son, his daughter-in-law and the three grandchildren — had gone out shopping. They were coming back together in the car, and they were all laughing and joking. The grandfather was playing many different games with his grandchildren. Everyone was getting along quite well.

The grandfather asked a riddle: "How do you know when there is an elephant under your bed?"

"How can you tell, Grandpa, how?" they inquired most eagerly.

"When your nose touches the ceiling," he replied.

They all laughed and laughed.

Then the grandfather asked Ronnie, his youngest grandchild, "Please tell me, what is your favourite ice cream? I am very keen to know."

Ronnie answered immediately, "Vanilla, especially when it is on top of hot apple pie!"

"Wonderful. Then just as soon as we get close to home, I will buy everyone a large piece of apple pie with a gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream on top."

"Really, Grandpa? That is great!" exclaimed the children.

Then they started playing all kinds of question and answer games in the car.

The grandfather said to his oldest grandson. "Does your alarm clock always ring on time?"

The boy said, "Grandpa, why do you have to worry? If it does not ring well, I just grab it and shake it very powerfully. Then it starts to ring and ring!"

The grandfather exclaimed, "What a wonderful grandson I have!"

The flattering wife and the smokers

Two friends both decided to give up smoking. One friend said to the other, "I cannot smoke any more, because I do not have enough money to continue with this terrible habit. My wife and I have already smoked for too many years. Just yesterday she told me that if we smoke when we have children, then the children will also smoke. Of course, that would be very harmful to them. So my wife has already given up smoking, and she has very firmly told me to stop smoking. I definitely will have a hard time, but my wife absolutely will not allow it any more."

The other friend said, "My wife and I have also been discussing our smoking. On our wedding day, she and I both decided that we would lead a strict life by staying within our limited budget. In this way, we have been able to save so much money. Recently I wanted to buy a new car, but my wife wisely suggested that I use her brother's old car. His car is still in quite good condition, so I do not mind in the least not driving a new car.

"A few days ago, my wife and I were talking about how much our smoking costs us each month. It is really very, very expensive. In order to save money, my wife decided that if one person in our family smokes, then the other one will not smoke. Then she told me that since I have tremendous will-power, I will definitely be able to stop smoking. Therefore, she will be the one who will continue smoking and not me. She said that, unfortunately, she has no will-power, so she is the right one to continue smoking. I said to her, 'I will be happy to be the one to stop smoking.' I was getting great joy from my wife's sincere flattery!"

May Paris please move to England

A little boy came home from school, and he was crying and crying. His father asked him, "Why are you crying? Have you not done well in your examination?"

"I am sure I have done well," said the boy. "I knew the answers to so many questions, like the longest rivers in the world, the largest and smallest countries, the highest mountains and many, many more. But during the examination, I was absolutely sure I was right in the answer I gave to one particular question. Now that I have come home, I see that I was definitely wrong."

"What was the question?" asked the boy's father.

"I shall tell you in just a moment, but I have something very important to ask you. You once told me that if we pray very sincerely, then God listens to our prayers. I remember praying to get a bicycle, and God answered my prayer. Then I prayed once for Cousin Jimmy to stop teasing me, and he stopped. Now I am praying to God with all my heart for only one thing," the boy said. "Father, please tell me the absolute truth. Is it really true that God listens to our prayers?"

"Yes, son, it is absolutely true," his father replied. "Now will you tell me what you are praying for?"

The boy said, "I am praying that Paris, which is in France, will move to England."

"What are you saying?" asked the astonished father. "What kind of prayer is that?"

The boy replied, "On my school examination the teacher asked, 'What is the capital of England?' I answered that the capital is Paris. Now I am praying and praying to God that immediately Paris should move to England and London should move to France!"

The speeding driver

A lady was driving very, very fast. She did not care in the least about the speed limit, as she was a little bit drunk. A policeman saw her driving and began to chase after her with his car, but she just went faster and faster. She went against all the red lights and made all kinds of turns. The policeman turned on his siren and was following the lady as closely as he could, but she was driving so fast that he could not catch the woman without causing a serious accident.

Finally the lady sped into a nearby gas station. She immediately ran into the ladies' room and locked the door.

The policeman arrived soon after her, and he saw the lady's car. He asked the station attendant, "Did you see the lady who was driving this car?"

The attendant answered, "Yes, she was driving faster than you can imagine and came to a sudden stop right here. Then she ran into the ladies' room."

"I see," said the policeman. "I am waiting right here for her." He waited just by the side of her car.

After about five minutes, the policeman went back to the attendant and said, "Where is this lady? I have been waiting forever for her!" The attendant replied, "I am sure she is still in the restroom."

The policeman went back to the lady's car. After fifteen or twenty minutes, she walked out of the restroom and came back to her car. The policeman immediately asked her, "Do you have any idea what speed you were going? Why were you driving so fast? Why did you go against all the red lights?"

The lady answered, "Can you not see? I had to go to the restroom! That is why I was driving so fast!"

The quarrelling couple finally agree

A husband and wife were always quarrelling and fighting. It seemed they could not agree on anything. One night they decided to go out to eat. The husband said, "Let us go to my favourite Italian restaurant. They make wonderful pizza."

The wife replied, "Oh, John, you know how I hate Italian food. It is so oily."

John, who happened to be Italian, answered, "Not this again. You are attacking not only my favourite food, but all my relatives as well. So what do you want to eat?"

"What about Japanese food? I adore sushi," said the wife.

"Martha, how can you possibly like that? Nothing can have less flavour than sushi," argued the husband.

Finally they went to a nearby shopping mall where they could each get the food they wanted. After eating, Martha said, "That was wonderful. What shall we do now?"

"It is just about time for the soccer match to start," answered John. "I would love to go see it."

"Can you imagine!" exclaimed Martha. "First of all, I detest soccer. Secondly, you know I hate large crowds. How can you even dare to suggest such an idea?"

Like that, their arguing went on and on and on. Their children were miserable that their father and mother were always fighting. Their friends were also very sad.

One day a very dear friend said to the wife, "Whenever you and your husband are together, you always quarrel and fight. Please tell me, is there anything on earth that you two agree upon?"

The wife replied, "Yes, we agree on one subject. But, again, we change our minds constantly."

"What is that subject?" asked the friend eagerly.

"We always agree that we shall get a divorce. Again, we cannot keep our promise!"

The newly married couple's oneness

After their wedding, a young wife said to her husband, "From now on, be careful. You must not say 'I'. Always you have to use the term 'we'. 'We did this.' 'We went here.' 'We have so much money.' Everything we must claim together as both of ours. If something good happens to one of us, it happens to both of us. Similarly, if something bad happens to one of us, it happens to both of us. Now that we are married, please feel we are one. Never, never say 'I'."

The husband found his new wife's request very unusual, but he did not want to upset her, so he simply smiled.

One night two of the husband's friends from college came to the couple's house. They all started talking very enthusiastically about their new careers. The husband said, "You will not believe my new job! It is wonderful. I am an accountant for a large sporting goods store. All the sports clothes I want, I can buy at cost." He was so happy, until he saw his wife looking at him very, very angrily. He remembered what she had told him earlier about not saying 'I', and so he quickly changed the topic.

The husband said, "It is so magnificent now that we are married. Last weekend we went hiking together, and this week we will start playing tennis together." Then he saw that his wife was smiling.

The husband said to himself, "This has gone a little bit too far! I must teach my wife a lesson."

The next morning the wife was cooking breakfast. Her husband was shaving, as he was getting ready for work. The wife said, "What are you doing? It is getting late." The husband said, "We are shaving, but we have only one razor. That is why it is taking time."

The teacher and his demanding wife

On Teacher's Day all the students from one classroom got together and bought a huge bouquet of flowers for their teacher. When they offered him the flowers, the students said, "Mr Parker, you are our most favourite teacher. We all went together to get these flowers for you. Even though you are very strict with us and always correct our mistakes, you do it so kindly."

The teacher was deeply moved. He said, "Thank you, my dear students, with all my heart. I am very, very surprised and very, very happy. This is the largest bouquet of flowers I have ever seen! As for my strictness, you know how much I care for your progress. That is why I try to correct all your mistakes."

The students all smiled and applauded.

Many other teachers were also given flowers, but no one received anywhere near the amount Mr Parker did. At the end of the school day, he decided to bring his flowers home and give them to his wife.

He wanted to make her happy, as she was always very strict with him. She always demanded that he do things exactly in her way.

When he came home, the teacher said to his wife, "Here is a little surprise for you!"

She asked, "How did you get all these flowers?"

"Today is Teacher's Day, so my students gave them to me. They said such nice things about me."

"Then why are you giving these flowers to me?" she inquired. "You know how lovingly I place flowers throughout the entire house. We already have so many."

"I am giving them to you because I am a very sincere person," answered the husband.

"You are a very sincere person?" said the wife. "What are you trying to tell me with your sincerity?"

The husband said, "During the day, you work as a tour guide. You think that your role is not to be a teacher, but to offer guided tours. But I wish to tell you that you are also a teacher. A teacher's business is to correct his students. In my school I am definitely a teacher. But at home you are my teacher, since, according to you, I do not do anything correctly."

Intelligence versus money

A little boy asked his father, "What is more important, money or intelligence?"

The father said, "Definitely intelligence is more important. Money comes, and money goes. But if you have intelligence, you will be able to do many things in your life."

"Really? What do you mean?" asked the little boy.

"Do you remember what happened to your Uncle Joe? He inherited so much money from his father, but he had no intelligence. He spent so much of his money buying a new house, new clothes, new cameras and much more. Then he bought a Russian restaurant, because he likes Russian food so much. Unfortunately, he had no idea how to cook, let alone how to make Russian food. He started losing more and more money. Within one year he had spent all his money, plus he owed far more money than ever before. Now do you understand?"

The little boy answered, "Yes, Father, thank you. You are so right. If someone is intelligent, he should really be happy. If he has any problems, he will easily be able to solve them."

"Exactly," said the father. "You have understood what I am trying to explain to you perfectly."

"That is because you are such a good teacher," said the son. "But what about people who are very, very smart and cannot even do simple things? One boy at school is a genius, but he cannot walk to school alone, since he gets totally lost."

"You are right, Son," answered the father. "But that is not real intelligence. Real intelligence is knowing what to do and how to do it in practical situations. You must always treasure that intelligence."

The boy said, "How wise you are, Father. Since you are telling me that intelligence is much more important, then you can keep all your intelligence. Please give me the less important thing — money!"

Multiplication made easy

One day a mathematics teacher was giving each of his students a very difficult problem to solve. He was asking them about fractions, square roots, the circumference of a circle and so on. Naturally, most of the students could not solve the problems.

The teacher asked one boy, "Please tell me what is 7,000 divided by 1/7?"

The boy tried and tried, but could not solve the problem. Then a brilliant girl said, "That is just 7,000 times 7 or 49,000."

The teacher was very, very pleased and said, "Yes! That is wonderful." Then the teacher said to a boy who was very clever, "I shall give you a complicated multiplication. Will you be able to do it?"

This student said, "No matter how complicated your multiplication problem is, I will definitely be able to do it."

The teacher said, "That is fine. How long do you think you will take?"

"It will take me no more than a fleeting minute," the student replied.

The teacher was surprised. "What are you saying?" he asked.

"Will you be able to multiply any numbers so quickly? How is that possible? Even I will take some time to multiply together two long numbers."

"I tell you, I can do it faster than the fastest!" said the student.

"Very well," said the teacher. "Then let me see you do it." Then he gave the student a very difficult multiplication problem. Both numbers were seven digits long.

The boy immediately got out his calculator and multiplied the two numbers very quickly. The teacher asked, "What are you doing?"

The boy said, "I am multiplying! You did not tell me that I could not use a calculator!"

From:Sri Chinmoy,The speeding driver, Agni Press, 2003
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