I've given this little puzzle to a bunch of people, and I've gotten all types of responses. 


You wake up one morning, roll over, and slide the snooze lever on your phone. You take a glance, you see the numbers "2721" in the tail end of a text alert from your credit card company.

You'll check it later.

Listening to NPR, or Howard Stern, or a local am radio show, you hear one of the jocks or hosts mention a "27 to 1" scoring spree by the San Antonio Spurs during last night's play-off game.

When you sit down to pour your cereal, your eyes hover over the nutrition label. The cereal has 27 grams of carbs, of which 21 are sugar.

In the car on the way to work, you notice that your odometer reads "2721."

A receipt you crumpled up and left on the driver's seat totals $27.21

The sanitation truck you're following has a placard: It's vehicle 2721. 

On the radio, the pick-four lottery number is, yes, 2721.

Assume that these numbers are the only numbers you've noticed.

Do you:

1. Drive to the hospital

2. Make a note to call a physicist

3. Make a note to call your cleric or spiritual medium, or the police

4. Wait and see what happens next


I'd drive to the hospital and get myself admitted. My world, the world that I perceive, has somehow become untethered from reality. Something is causing me to notice these numbers when other numbers are there, or I am only noticing these numbers to the exclusion of all others. Either way, the problem is in my brain. Something is misfiring.

If you answered (2), then perhaps you believe that you have stumbled upon a divergence of some sort in the universe, something about external reality outside of your own head that is violating the known laws of physics and math and heralds something unknown about existence. The problem, in other words, isn't you. Your brain is accurately perceiving. 

If you answered (3), then maybe God or your deity is trying to send you a message. Not only is the problem not you, but whatever is happening is about you. Perhaps aliens are messing with things. 

If you answered (4), then maybe you have a degree of confidence and self-possession that allows you to avoid worrying that your brain is malfunctioning or the world is malfunctioning.

What would you do?