Fox is bringing back the show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?. I love that show. I can guess about half the questions on Jeopardy! and about a third of the questions on fifth graders.
It would be fun to have a show called, “Can You Live on Shelter Island?” Here’s a sample of the questions:
1. When two pickup trucks, traveling in opposite directions, stop in the middle of the road and the drivers start talking to each other, how long do you wait before beeping your horn? Answer: One minute. And if they ignore you, how long do you wait until you get out of your car to ask them to move?
Answer: largely depends on the weather. If it’s not raining get out 30 seconds after you hit the horn. If it is raining, move your car forward until your bumper gently taps theirs. You also have the option of yelling out your window at this time. None of these methods have ever been effective in getting pickup drivers to move, but it does make you feel good just to make the effort.
2. Describe three methods to keep raccoons out of your garbage cans. None of these can include easy fixes like surrounding the cans with motion sensors and electrified razor wire.
3. When a tourist staggers into an establishment clutching his chest and describing how he just hit a deer, what is the first thing you do? Call 911?
Wrong. First, you find out where he hit the deer and call a friend to pick up that fresh venison! Then you call 911. Priorities are important on Shelter Island.
4. How long do you have to know someone before you can ask them to loan you a ferry ticket? You see, if you live on the Island, you can get ferry tickets at a discount and they are as good as cash.
And the answer is, if this person has invited you to a barbecue or clam bake at least once, then you qualify as knowing them well enough to bum a ferry ticket. Just remember, it’s not like bumming a cigarette. You are expected to return the ticket or its value in a timely manner. You should be careful about bumming too many tickets off the same person because if you owe an individual three or more tickets they are entitled to ask you for free babysitting or help re-roofing their house, or digging a new pit for a septic tank, or any other household task.
5. Since there are no franchise chain stores here, everything is family-owned and operated. Is it acceptable to close a store early because the bluefish are running?
Answer: Absolutely yes! We’re talking about bluefish here, not lobster, which you can get anytime. Fresh bluefish baked in stewed tomatoes with lemon and seasoning is one of the four basic food groups on Shelter Island. The other three food groups are clams, crabs and beer.
6. How long can you avoid telling your friends you have a new boat and still have them remain your friends?
This is a delicate question because not telling your friends you have a new boat is like not telling them you have a new baby. They will eventually find out and when they do they will ask “Why didn’t you tell me?” And you will offer the lame excuse of, “I just wanted to enjoy it by myself for a while.” This is an unacceptable excuse. Don’t be surprised if, when you ask for help fixing up the boat, your friends will hold out on you for punishment. Some people can hold out for two, sometimes three hours. Don’t forget the ancient unwritten nautical law “To help fix up a boat is to be invited for a boat ride.” This law was unwritten all the way to biblical times. When Noah built the Ark, he didn’t ask neighbors for help, because he’d have to had offer
them a boat ride.
7. What should you bring with you on the ferry to ensure Santa’s elves will see you and put you down for a good toy at Christmas?
Answer: In hot weather bring an ice-cold drink for the ticket-taker. In cold weather, bring hot chocolate or coffee. And if you really want a good present from Santa, bring Irish coffee.