A worldwide survey was conducted by the UN.
The only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"
The survey was a huge failure, because...
In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.
In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.
In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.
In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.
In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.
And in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
Having rumpled clothing is a pressing issue, but I am sure that I can iron out a solution.
The Signal for Lovemaking
Two deaf people get married. During the first week of marriage, they find that they are unable to communicate in the bedroom when they turn off the lights because they can't see each other using sign language.
After several nights of fumbling around and misunderstandings, the wife decides to find a solution.
"Honey," she signs, "Why don't we agree on some simple signals? For instance, at night, if you want to make love to, reach over and squeeze my left breast one time. If you don't want to make love, reach over and squeeze my right breast one time."
The husband thinks this is a great idea and signs back to his wife, "Great idea, Now if you want to make love to ME, reach over and pull on my penis one time. If you don't want to make love, reach over and pull on my penis fifty times."
There were once four powerful witch covens: the witches of the mountains, the deserts, the forests, and the seas. For a thousand years they made war with one another, casting curses and hexes and bringing all manner of malady to the land in their hatred for one another. One day, they decided the only solution was to convene for a meeting of all the covens, in which they would either strike a deal for peace, or end it all in violent bloodshed.
The sea witches arrived first, carried upon a tidal wave that bore them up and onto the coast, the waters crashing loudly as they struck the shoreline as if to announce their presence.
The mountain witches rode down the hillside upon magical stormclouds, thunder and lightning bursting from their steeds of vapor, a tumultuous blizzard ravaging the mountains in their wake.
The forest witches, shape-shifters, emerged in the form of gnarled roots which encircled the meeting place and rose out of the ground, bending and twisting into humanoid silhouettes from which sprung skin and clothing, as a flurry of leaves swirled around furiously.
The sand witches arrived in a catering truck.
King Hero of old Syracuse had doubts that made him frown. "Perhaps my goldsmith did not use pure gold to make the crown." Since proof of mischief must be strong to put a thief in collar, The king who feared his judgment wrong called on his science scholar. "Archimedes, friend of old, find me the solution! Is my crown pure solid gold, or is that an illusion?" The scholar's task was serious; he struggled hard with math. His mind was near delirious until he poured his bath. He noticed how the water pushed him up as he stepped in. He thought about it harder as he stroked his bearded chin. "The weight of displaced liquid should always let me know When any golden solid has a density too low!" "Eureka!", he resounded. "I have such a clever mind". Yet his claim was unfounded 'cause he left his clothes behind!
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
The Brilliant Solution
A soap factory had a problem. They sometimes shipped empty boxes without the bar inside. This challenged their perceived quality with the buyers and distributors. Understanding how important these relationships were, the CEO of the company assembled his top people. Six months and $8 million later, they had a fantastic solution - on time, on budget, and high quality. Everyone in the project was pleased.
They solved the problem by using a special scale that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a soap box weighed less than it should. The line would stop, someone would walk over, remove the defective box, and then press another button to re-start the line. As a result of the new package monitoring process, no empty boxes were being shipped out of the factory.
A while later, the CEO decides to look at the first week report. Since the scales were put in place, no empty boxes had been shipped out of the factory. Each day about a dozen defective boxes were being removed, which was consistent with the projections. There were almost zero customer complaints and they were gaining market share. The CEO felt the $8 million was well spent.
However, the number of defective boxes picked up by the scales dropped to zero after three weeks. He filed a bug against it and after some investigation, the engineers came back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.
Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, viewed the part of the line where the precision scale was installed, and observed just ahead of the new $8 million dollar solution sat a $20 desk fan blowing the empty boxes off the belt and into a bin. He asked the line supervisor what that was about.
"Oh, that," the supervisor replied, "Bert, the kid from maintenance, put it there because he was tired of walking over, removing the box and re-starting the line every time the bell rang."