Monday, September 08, 2008

The Greek Philosophers

There's a story I'm rather fond of about Greek Philosophers. It goes thus:

Three Greek Philosophers are dining at a roadside inn and arguing about how many teeth a horse has. The first one opines that it's 32, the second 34 and the third 36. They argue and argue as the wine is consumed, each coming forth with mathematical proof of why his and only his answer is the correct one.

Eventually, tiring of the argument, they beckon to an Arab sitting at the next table and ask that he hear each argument in turn and judge who is correct. The Arab listens patiently to each argument then says 'wait a moment gentlemen' and disappears. He returns a few minutes later and points to the third greek. 'You, sir, are correct'.

Although satisfied that the argument is finally over they want to know what abstruse reasoning the Arab used to determine the correct argument.

'Simple, sirs' he replies. 'I went out to the stables and counted them'.

You probably don't remember that I wondered what MET CUST WOM[^] meant, in the context of UPS parcel deliveries. Today I finally remembered to apply the Arabs method as I found myself sharing the lift at the office with a UPS guy who had nothing better to do as we descended 8 floors. So I asked him.

It turns out that, just as 'Anonymous' responded on the earlier post linked above, it means it was delivered to a woman at the target address.

How disappointing that it's such a prosaic meaning!

1 comment:

Ann O'Dyne said...

'prosaic' can be trouble:
I worked on the switch of a software developer back in the days before Windows, and was required to ask every hysterical customer who rang about computers being down "is it plugged in?" and "is it turned on ?"
They used to rack up their hysteria quite few notches after those two, lemme tell ya.

Programs used to be changed/updated by inserting a cartridge, and one time the customer reported that the update cartridge could not be inserted into the tower, so an engineer drove 5 hours from melbourne to then discover that the opening was simply occupied by an earlier cartridge.
sometimes prozac is neede for prosaic.

go calmly amid the noise