On a Delta Airlines flight from Dallas to Des Moines, sitting next to each other are a late-twenties Indian looking guy and an early thirties Chinese looking guy. The Chinese looking guy is absorbed in his Wall Street Journal and is minding his own business, the Indian looking guy is having trouble keeping his head still. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was his job to memorise all the faces of his co-passengers. But he’s got that excitement about him, so it couldn’t be work. He may be visiting Des Moines for the first time inspired by what Jack Kerouac had to say about the girls of Des Moines. I would have been just as excited in that scenario, but no, he doesn’t have the face of a person who’s into books; everyone’s into looks. He has the face of a person who lives an unexamined life.
I: Say, may I have the sports page?
C: Excuse me?
I: Ah, nevermind.
I: I recently spent a month in China, away on work. I was analyzing the pollution levels, you see. I work for the Environmental agency here and they sent a few of us over there to see just how bad they’ve got it. Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed about it, about the pollution in Chinese cities. I guess you don’t read the New York Times, seeing how you’re reading the Wall Street Journal. Anyway, I explored quite a lot of your country. I visited some 15 of the 22 provinces. Pretty extensive, right? Now tell me, which part of China you are from and be amazed by how much I know about your place. I don’t mean to embarrass you with my depth of knowledge but that’s a possible side-effect.
I: I was asking which part of China you’re from..
C: (sternly) I am from Virginia.
I: (thinks for a while) Damn, I am sorry. This is so typical, isn’t it?
C: (dismissively) It isn’t, actually.
I: Well, it is. You think you are an expert in a subject, you boast about it, and then bam! you are knocked out cold in the first round. There’s always this little thing you somehow look over, and when the moment of reckoning arrives, that little thing comes up and brings down the whole edifice.
C: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
I: Virginia! Which part of China that I overlooked is it in?
C: *blank stare*
I: I’m just kidding with you. I know where Virginia is. You from the CIA?
Cut to black.
//The challenge was to convert a little joke into a little blogpost. Does Delta airlines operate between Dallas and Des Moines? Je ne sais pas.