As we go into the spring after a year of on-and-off lockdowns I think most people are pretty fed-up and have had enough.  So here’s a bit of light relief.  The stories below aren’t all about psychology but they are about some of life’s big questions.

Eternal life

A man goes to see a famous guru on a mountain top and tells him he wants to learn the secret of eternal life.  The guru invites him to spend a year with him.  Over that time he teaches the man how to lie on a bed of nails, how to levitate objects and how to walk through burning coals without hurting his feet.

At the end of the year the man says to the guru, ‘Thank you so much, father, for teaching me how to lie on a bed of nails, how to levitate things and how to walk on coals of fire’.  The guru replies, ‘I am pleased you have been able to learn these things, my son’.  The man goes on, ‘But there’s just one thing, father.  I still don’t know the secret of eternal life’.

The guru asks him, ‘My son, do you really want to live forever?’  ‘Yes, father, more than anything’, he replies.  The guru says, ‘If you wish to live forever don’t smoke, don’t drink and don’t get involved in romantic relationships’.  Excitedly the man shouts, ‘So if I don’t smoke, don’t drink and don’t have any romantic relationships, I’ll live forever?’.  ‘No’, the guru answers, ‘but it’ll seem like it’.


A university lecture on philosophy is in progress.  Suddenly there’s a flash of light and a voice from heaven says to the professor in front of the class, ‘You have helped generations of students.  As a reward I will give you a choice of three blessings.  You can have wisdom, beauty or fifty million pounds’.  Instantly the professor cries out, ‘I’ll have wisdom’.  There’s a sound of thunder and another flash and then everything returns to normal.  The professor remains motionless and silent where he’s standing – for a minute, then two, then three.  Finally a student calls out, ‘Professor, you’ve just been given a wonderful gift of wisdom.  Please say something’.  The professor says, ‘I should have taken the money’.

Talking of which

A young woman gets a job as a waitress to earn some extra cash while she’s at university.  At the end of his meal one of the customers asks her, ‘What’s the usual tip here?’  ‘Well’, she says, ‘this is my first day but my colleagues tell me that if you give eight pounds then I’ll be doing well’.  ‘Eight pounds’, snorts the man, ‘I can do better than that.  Here’s thirty’.  The waitress thanks him for his generosity.  ‘It’ll really help while I’m at college’, she says.  ‘Oh’, the man replies, ‘What are you studying?’  The girl murmurs:  ‘Applied psychology’.

Beyond the veil

A ventriloquist has fallen on hard times.  He goes to see his agent and tells him, ‘This is awful.  I’m just not getting any bookings.  I don’t know what to do’.  The agent thinks for a moment then has an idea.  ‘It just so happens’, he says, ‘that I have another client who’s a ventriloquist and he’s branched out as a medium.  He seems to be doing pretty well for himself. Why don’t you try it?’   The man agrees:  ‘I’ve got nothing to lose, I suppose’.

So he goes off, hires an office, puts a sign over the front door and waits.  Eventually a woman comes to see him.  ‘Could you help me?’, she asks.  ‘I’ve been told that my great-great-grandfather was a fascinating man.  I’d love to talk to him’.  The ventriloquist answers, ‘Yes, I’m sure I can be of assistance’.  ‘How much will it cost?’ the woman enquires.  ‘You have a choice of three services’, the ventriloquist tells her.  ‘There’s the bronze service for fifty pounds.  For that you can ask your great-great-grandfather any question and he will answer you with knocks on this table – one for ‘yes’ and two for ‘no’.  Then there’s the silver service.  That’s a hundred pounds.  For that you can talk to him direct and he will answer you in words.  So you can have a full conversation with him’.  Beyond that, of course, there’s the gold service for a hundred and fifty pounds’.  ‘What’s the gold service?’ the woman asks.  The ventriloquist leans forward.  ‘For the gold service you can ask your great-great-grandfather anything and he will answer you in words while I drink a glass of water’.

Happy Easter!