203. The Careful Reader

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Simon, a college grad, always pointed out the errors in his brother Brevyn's emails. "When are you going to stop confusing 'its' with 'it's'?" he often asked. Brevyn, a high school grad, said that nobody ever noticed anyway.

Brevyn knew that Simon was "book smart," but he didn't think Simon was very "street smart." Years ago, Simon had bought stereo speakers from a street vendor. When he arrived home, he called Brevyn over to help him set up the speakers. Simon was excited because he had gotten the speakers at half price. The brand new speaker boxes said Panasonic, Model No. A-682ST, Made in Japan, etc.

But Simon was disappointed and angry when he discovered that the boxes contained only old magazines. Brevyn was amused. "Did you get a receipt?" Brevyn asked. "Did you ask the guy about his return policy? Did he tell you where his 'store' is going to be tomorrow?"

Brevyn visited Simon to show him the new tires he had just put on his Honda Accord. While they were talking in Simon's living room, Simon showed Brevyn an air pump he had recently purchased. "If your new tires ever go low, you can pump them up super-fast with this. It pumps air into the tire on the downstroke and the upstroke."

Brevyn said, "You must be kidding. I've never heard of a pump that pumps air on the upstroke." Brevyn tried out the pump. "There's no air coming out of here on the upstroke," he told Simon.

"Of course there is. Read the label on the pump."

Brevyn read the label. "Ha! Listen to this: 'High volume air flow on both up and down strokes.' The air 'flows,' all right, but it flows in on the upstroke, not out. The label writer tricked you, Mr. English Major. What have you got to say for yourself?"

"Let's go outside," Simon said. "Maybe I can find a small nail in one of your new tires."


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