For thirty years, Johnson had arrived at work at 9 A.M., on the dot. He had never missed a day and was never late. Consequently, when on one particular day 9 A.M. passed without Johnson's arrival, it caused a sensation. All work ceased and the boss himself, looking at his watch and muttering, came out into the corridor.
Finally, precisely at ten, Johnson showed up, clothes dusty and torn, his face scratched and bruised, his glasses bent. He limped painfully to the time clock, punched in, and said, aware that all eyes were upon him. "I tripped and rolled down two flights of stairs in the subway. Nearly killed myself," he said.
The boss replied, "And to roll down two flights of stairs took you an entire hour?"
A woman was at home with her children when the telephone rang. In going to answer it, she tripped on a rug, grabbed for something to hold on to, and seized the telephone table. It fell over with a crash, jarring the receiver off the hook.
As it fell, it hit the family dog, which leaped up, howling and barking. The woman's three-year-old son, startled by this noise, broke into loud screams. The woman mumbled some colorful words. She finally managed to pick up the receiver and lift it to her ear, just in time to hear her husband's voice on the other end say, "Nobody's said hello yet, but I'm positive I have the right number."