Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Captain Cook Question: An Absolutely True Sarah Palin Anecdote

 This really happened:

Sarah Palin was chatting with some fans after one of her book signings when she met a psychiatrist. While she was talking with him, she asked what is probably a fairly common question that psychiatrists must get a lot.

"Would you mind telling me, Doctor," she asked, "how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?"

"Nothing is easier," he replied. "You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble. If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track."

"What sort of question?" asked Sarah.

"Well, for example, you might say, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'"

Sarah thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, "You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history..."

Okay, maybe it didn't really, actually, happen, but does anyone have a problem believing that it could have? Spread the word. This one has as much potential as the Dan Quayle story about his upcoming trip: "If I'd have known I was going to go to Latin America, I'd have paid more attention in Latin class." That of course was not true also, but since it sounded so much like something he might say, it developed legs of its own.

BTW, amonst the wingnuttery, the Captain Cook Question that is currently making the rounds is attached to Nancy Pelosi, but as Snopes points out it's been around for many years.