Saturday, September 6, 2008
Place: Atlanta, GA
I was in a bookstore when the janitor came up to me with a big smile on his face and asked, “Do you like Science Fiction?”
“Not so much,” I said.
“Well, let me ask you this,” he said. “What would you do if you could be invisible for two hours.”
I was immediately impressed. The janitor had just asked me what must be one of the best conversation starter questions of all time. The way he approached me, smiling, easy going, eager to talk, indicated that he must ask this question all the time.
“I would visit every women’s locker room and changing room I could find,” I said.
“Not me,” he said. “I would go out on a football field in the middle of a NFL game.”
“But wouldn’t be in danger of getting clocked?” I said. “Especially since none of the players would see you. They’d run right into you without knowing you were there.”
“Wouldn’t matter,” the janitor said. “I’d be in the middle of all that excitement. It would be worth taking the hit. Besides, I’d tackle one of them first. They’d never know what hit them.”
I wondered if maybe he came up with the question because so often the janitor is invisible to the people who pass by him.
“You know what most people say?” he said, which proved to me that he had asked many others the invisible question. “They say they’d go to the bank.”
At first, I thought that was a stupid answer because the bank tellers would see the money floating away. However, the janitor never explained the ground rules. Let’s assume your clothes are also invisible and maybe you get to carry a large invisible canvas bag. In that case, stealing money or anything else is a good answer.
“Forget the money,” I said. “I want to see naked women.”
The janitor laughed and he went back to work, no doubt keeping one eye open for the next visible customer to whom he could ask his question.