Rapidly read aloud and then choose the answer to each of the following problems.
#1. If baker Betty Botter bought a bit of butter, and the butter baker Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter, and it made her batter bitter, what will follow?
(a) A customer would have to buy better butter to make Betty’s batter better,
(b) Better butter might be bitter anyhow,
(c) Her customers could sue her ass if they think her bitter butter makes their batter bitter.
#2. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could?
(a) Hard to say. Woodchucks are unpredictable, finicky, and often would chuck whatever the hell they thought they could get away with.
(b) Trick question. Woodchucks don’t chuck wood. But they would if they could. So, in an alternative universe, they would chuck maybe a cord at a time.
#3. If the defendant chooses to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock, awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock from a cheap and chippy chopper on a big mordant block, should you:
(a) Get a better attorney and appeal before everyone loses their head?
(b) Buy the rights and add a suspenseful ending in a Hollywood docudrama?
(c) Reconsider your answer to the Problem #2—the woodchuck question?
#4. If the local police seize the seashore shells that seashell seller Shelley is selling at the seashore, what’s the next step?
(a) Shelley pleads she was shell-shocked when she was caught with the shells at the seashore.
(b) Police check to see if customers are defrauded if they shell out for Shelley’s seashore shells.
#5. Susie works in a saintly shipyard shoeshine shop. If she shines where she sits but where she sits is a sea shrine, what next?
(a) Sitting while shining is not good for her. Get Suzie into a government retraining program to become an Amazon warehouse worker,
(b) Ask her the Shelley seashell question. She knows the answer.
#6 If you are an attorney, how do you defend someone named Peter Piper if he picked a peck of purloined pickled peppers? You need to guess the location of the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked and what kind of a car was he driving.
(a) The peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper presumably picked was packed into a peck of drugstore peepers. And the car was a Maserati.
(b) The peck of pickled peppers is on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and driving by is a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowing down to take a look with her peepers
(c) Trick question: Peter Piper lost his license for DUI and cannot drive. So the peck of pickled peppers is probably in his garage.
#7. If the big bug bit the little beetle, but the little beetle bit the big bug back, does that count as self-defense in a stand-your-ground state like Florida?
(a) Depends on what bugged the big bug to barely bite back the beetle.
(b) Only if someone recorded it on their iPhone and it went viral.
(c) None of the above. It’s Florida, for godsakes.
#8 If two guardian witches are watching two watches, and one watch is stolen, can you tell which witch was watching which watch?
(a) Who cares? It happened in Salem. They both go to the pokey.
(b) If one is a Swiss witch watching the wristwatches, then traces of chocolate will be the giveaway to which watch.
(c) Whichever witch was watching the woodchuck would be the watch watcher.
#9. If I am not the pleasant pheasant plucker, or the pheasant plucker’s mate, I was only plucking pheasants because the pleasant pheasant plucker’s late. Who am I?
(a) Ask the witch who was watching the witch watches. She’ll know.
(b) Pheasant pluckers mate for life. So you must be the third wheel in a polyamorous threesome.
(c) Not much demand for plucked pheasants during the pandemic. Maybe you are an unpleasant pheasant plucker hired from the guys in the parking lot at Costco.
#10. If a skunk sat on a stump and the skunk thunk that the stump stunk, who is liable for the stunk stump?
(a) Ask the woodchuck. She’s been chucking the woody stump.
(b) Gotta be the skunk. The old adage goes…he who smelt it, dealt it.
(c) All of the above.
John Hewitt is a California author in lockdown awaiting adulation and dynamite sales of his six absurdist novels.