The World Expert on Wasps

A man was walking down a quiet street, when something caught his eye in the window of a charity shop. He wandered over to take a closer look, then smiled to himself, nodded, and entered the shop.

He walked up to the counter and said to the man serving there, “Is that record in the window really a copy of Wasp Noises of the World?”

“It most certainly is,” said the shopkeeper.

“Excellent,” said the man from the street. “I have searched for that record for a great many years. You see, I am the world’s leading expert on wasps. I have written books on their habits, diets, stripe patterns and social structures, but what truly fascinates me is the noises they make. That record in the window is famous in the world of wasp study as the most accurate documentation of wasp noises in the world, and I haven’t managed to acquire a copy until now.”

“Well, this is your lucky day,” the shopkeeper said. “I’ll have it out of the window and bagged up for you right away.”

“Hold on now,” said the world expert on wasps. “It’s a very old record, it may have distorted or been damaged, in which case it would be no use to me. I see you have a gramophone back there. Would you mind playing me a sample so I can be sure it’s in good working order?”

The shopkeeper, grumbling to himself about how picky this customer was, set up the gramophone, retrieved Wasp Noises of the World from the window display, and placed the needle on the record, which began to play.


The world expert on wasps lifted the needle off the record with a confused look on his face. “Now, this is most unusual,” he said. “I am the world’s foremost expert on wasps, and yet this wasp noise is entirely unfamiliar to me. Can you play me another, in case this part of the record is damaged?”

The shopkeeper moved the needle on a bit, and placed it back on the record.


The world expert on wasps lifted thee needle again, looking extremely perplexed. “Something very strange is going on here,” he muttered. “I am the world expert on wasps. No-one alive knows more about wasps than I do. And yet, once again, I do not recognize this wasp noise at all. Can you play me one more, to be certain?”

Again, thee shopkeeper mover the needle on, and again, the record played.


The world expert on wasps snatched the needle off the record, with a look of borderline panic on his face. “Something is definitely wrong with this record!” he exclaimed. “I am the greatest expert on wasps alive, nay, that has ever lived. No part of the life of the wasp is unknown to me. And yet, three times, this copy of Wasp Noises of the World has produced a wasp noise entirely alien to me. It cannot be that there are species of wasp whose noises have been recorded that I am not aware of. I would have been informed, consulted by the discoverers. Surely this record must be damaged. Would you inspect it for any signs?”

The shopkeeper, feeling distinctly put out by now, lifted up the record and examined it closely, at which point a knowing smile spread across his face.

“What is it?” asked the world expert on wasps. “Is the record damaged?”

“No,” said the shopkeeper. “Nothing like that.”

“Then what can possibly be going on?” asked the world expert on wasps. “I am acquainted with the noises of every species of wasp on the planet, and yet I don’t recognize any of the ones you have played to me.”

“Well,” said the shopkeeper, “That’s probably because it was playing the bee side.”

submitted by /u/JustDontGiveAHuck
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