09 December 2009

Perry Mason and the Case of the Stupid Guns and Important Shoes

My son was complaining the other day about the key plot twist in an old episode of Perry Mason that he had seen on TV. The key to the mystery was that there were two guns, the murder weapon and one that was never fired, and that the only witness, a woman, couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Plausible enough, my son thought, except that one was a revolver while the other was an automatic, and so the difference ought to have been immediately apparent to anyone.

“Well, she was a woman,” I countered, “Guns aren’t important to women.”

“Dad! Anyone can tell the difference between a revolver and a gat!”

“Ah, maybe. Say, did you see your girlfriend today?”


“Notice what she was wearing?”

“Of course!”

“What color were her shoes?”

“Shoes?” he asked in a tone that indicated he shouldn’t even be expected to know.

I nodded and called his sister into the room. I asked her, “Hey, Bean-Girl, what’s the difference between a revolver and an automatic?”

“Uh — well they’re both guns, right?” When I nodded, she went on, “Does an automatic have more bullets?”

“Something like that,” I changed the subject, “See your friend DeeDee today?”

“I see her on the bus everyday.”

“What color were her shoes?”

“Black Converse high-tops with the white circle on the ankle, why?”

“Well, because Pod-Man knows the difference between an automatic and a revolver, but he doesn’t know what color shoes his girlfriend was wearing today.”

She shook her head, saying to Pod-Man before she left the room, “Guns are stupid; shoes are important.”

So I then told my son always to keep in mind a few lessons:
  • People naturally think about and remember what is important to them.
  • You need to put some effort into remembering the things that are not important to you because you won’t do it automatically.
  • Different things are important to men and women , and you had better figure out what is important to the women in your life.