100 people knock

*Swearing warning*

Recently on Slack a friend mentioned a time someone had knocked on their hotel room door late at night.

I posted the following two (slightly cheeky) replies:

“Did you shout “fuck off” and nestle deeper under the bed covers?

Unless it was a friend in distress of course. In which case, did you make them a hot chocolate and flip on a neutral but comforting movie”

Then I remembered something that fellow aspie Richard Pollhill and I have had fun doing over on the other channel (Facebook). Trying to come up with 100 answers. So I continued:

“Oh. Hang on. Was it the cops? In which case I believe in your culture the right answer is “how do you take your coffee?” Whilst digging out a large stash of mis-spelled doughnuts (donuts?! Wtaf?)

Or if it’s the slightly muddy* but very sweet old lady from the floor below maybe just gently lead her back to her own apartment by the arm.”

(*Note I meant muddly – it’s ok to make spelling mistakes, well actually I just make the rules up as I go along).

Everyone seemed game so I carried on, as fast as I could type. I’m not going to in-line all my 100 speed-typed options, but you can scroll to the end and see them if you want to. For me, part of the fun is trying to amuse myself with the answers I come up with.

Anyhow, others on the Slack seemed absolutely amazed, like it was some kind of super-power to be able to do this. And here’s the thing….It has never struck me as anything other than completely normal to do this. And loads of fun. It never once dawned on me that it was unusual, or a special skill or anything. In fact, I’m still not sure it is a special skill, rather that having the desire to answer a question with 100 options might actually be the thing that is unusual.

And I got to wondering how many other unusual things I do without even realizing it. Who knows, perhaps one of them is actually useful / marketable J It prompted me to question what else I might take for granted about myself. I decided to share in case this question is useful for you as well.

Anyhow, here are my 100 responses.


100 knocks:

Did you shout “fuck off” and nestle deeper under the bed covers?

Unless it was a friend in distress of course. In which case, did you make them a hot chocolate and flip on a neutral but comforting movie

Oh. Hang on. Was it the cops?

In which case I believe in your culture the right answer is “how do you take your coffee?” Whilst digging out a large stash of mis-spelled doughnuts (donuts?! Wtaf?)

Or if it’s the slightly muddy but very sweet old lady from the floor below maybe just gently lead her back to her own apartment by the arm.

Is it when you open the door no one is there – and there are just some puppies in a box. With a blanket. No note.

I know, I know. It’s some flowers. But they aren’t for you. Someone has mistaken your room for that of a famous opera singer.

It’s a strip-o-gram. He’s wearing a bow tie and it looks frighteningly like he has nothing on under that trench coat. He has a cake. It says “louise”. He’s really really hoping that’s not your name.

It’s Sheldon Cooper. You can tell because he says “penny. Penny. Penny” and you always want to answer “thats threepence then”. But don’t.

It’s the window-cleaner. Your embarrassed because you never cash these days and you wish he would put bank details on those funny notes he leaves so you could do an internet transfer.

It’s your mum. You hide.

It’s the parcel delivery man. Dude you need to tip, because that’s a lot of stairs.

No, hang on, it’s the amazon guy. You have started to recognise him by his cologne because he knocks so often.

It’s no one. Or maybe someone. His or maybe her name is something something Schroedinger

There is no door. Well there kind of is. But it’s got a red strip light and every time you go through you come out somewhere else and the strip light is blue.

It’s some kind of doctor and when you look outside it’s tiny. Because your place is definitely bigger on the inside.

The knocking is actually just the beating of your heart

It’s tiny mouse in a top hat. He’s saying something but it just sounds like “squeak squeak squeak”

It’s a drone – they are delivering a parcel. They drop it. It hurts your foot.

It’s some kind of African drumming band. They aren’t knocking per se – you are part of some awesome percussion collective.

It’s kinda depressing because it IS amazon but they have come to pick up a parcel rather than drop one off

It’s a thousand nuts that were falling off a tree and got swept up by a freak wind

It’s a tiny Spider-Man rap dancer

Damn – tap dancer

It’s someone trying to sell dishcloths. They used to be in prison. They start the conversation “it’s ok, I’m not dangerous”

It’s a drip from the ceiling

No, hang on, it’s the plumber – they heard there was a leak.

It’s Einstein – he wants to know your precise coordinates in the fabric of space-time

It’s a cat – they seem like they just want a stroke, but know if you let them in they will sneak all their friends in for a party.

It’s your wife. She’s pretending to be alone but when you open the door 50 other people jump out and say “surprise!”

Which is odd, because it’s not even your birthday

It’s the dry cleaning man. It’s not your laundry but maybe you will keep it because that’s one snappy suit

It’s 0 c-programmers

It’s a wooden leg but until the other 3 arrive you won’t know of what

It’s a giraffe – they want their breakfast

It’s not the door. It’s the neighbour tapping on their roof because you are snoring too loud

It’s a caterpillar with one wooden leg

It’s that grumpy bossy dance teacher from the tv series “Fame” back in the 80s and she want you to “pay….in sweat”

It’s Lionel Richie and he wants to know if it’s him you are looking for?

It’s semaphore. You really hope next isn’t dash dash dash (I don’t mean semaphore)

It’s a three-earred ladies earrings falling off

It’s the tread of a war-horse

It’s thunder

It’s champion the wonder-horse

It’s nothing, just you took off your noise cancelling headphones and now everything is SO GODDAMN LOUD

It was some crazy guy, Nekkid as a jaybird

It’s three men – one covering their eyes, one their ears, one their mouth. Maybe between them they will understand “go away and leave me alone?”

It’s a carpet salesperson

It’s a banana peel – someone left it there in case of a comedy moment

It’s some autistic chick and she won’t fucking shut up

It’s your own snoring

It’s the carpet guy battening down a new carpet in the hallway.

It’s Zeus sending lightening bolts down from the heavens

It’s god, only it can’t be because he doesn’t exist

It’s theee tiny drops of pollen from a nearby tree and they drop so lightly but today, just right now, you can hear them.

It’s the eerie laughter of three long dead children

It’s a fish – taking three hops until it’s back home in the sea (whew)

It’s your hammer, anvil and stirrup, so almost in time, but delayed from each other by a whisker

It’s three whiskers, tapping lightly on the chin of a whiskey soaked man

It’s three goes around a for loop

It’s a milking stool unevenly put on the ground

It’s a cow mooing gently as he walks unwittingly through one of temples human circular thingies

It’s a set of numbers

It’s a recording of a very short train ride – clickerty-clack

It’s three tears from a widow falling on the floor

It’s a small child jumping for joy

It’s the crunch of three snowy footprints….but Santa was already gone when you got there

It’s the passing of time – usually inaudible

It’s tumbleweeds twirling round and round

Its no one. At all. You just imagined it.

It’s those three opening chords of your favourite song.

It’s a huge cake and just as you open the door some weird looking chick in bunny ears jumps out.

It’s the three-clucking clicks of disapproval your grandmother could give all in a row

It’s three grains of rice, and one of them has the entire bible written on it in nano- writing, they were thrown by an experimental hand, to see which fell first.

It’s the father, the son and the Holy Ghost, having a who can knock the loudest contest. God is both proud of his son for winning and pissed at how blooming loud he was – it will disturb the neighbours.

It’s Sals three kids they are saying “I love you” which would be cute if it wasn’t like 4am or something.

It’s my fingers falling off from phone typing so fast and landing on the floor

It’s the tap of the branches of a tree that grew right up to the door while you were waiting for this list to finish.

It’s three m&ms thrown disguarded by a rock star because they were the wrong colour

It’s your back clicking as you stretch up

It’s the tick tick tick of an old cinematic reel because you fell asleep before the movie ended. And for some reason you live in Italy and it’s all black and white there

It’s rent-an-Opera. They are singing something from Carmen.

It’s the clicker clack of the lady aboves high heels as she passes and you had forgotten you were in a Bugsy Malone movie

it’s gunshots. But they are not for you.

It’s the mind police. When you open the door they want to interrogate you. They start by asking “how do you even do that”

It’s your neurons making connections but you can actually hear them

It’s lightening claps as you have thoughts

It’s the sound of every fear you ever had clashing together in a nightmare

It’s 88 things and they are knocking to let you know you aren’t at 100 just yet

It’s a Newton’s cradle and you are frightened it might never stop

It’s the crash of the three wave cycle and the next one is going to be the one to catch because you know how waves work

It’s a broad and slightly hairy handed man, he has a deep voice and wants to borrow a tool.

It’s a broad and slightly hairy handed lady, she wants to borrow a tool too and it’s much more badass than the man one

It’s Alanis Morissette she wants to tell you that’s 3,000 options when all you want is a knife

It’s mathematicians – they are knocking because they want you to check your adding up – you tell them to fuck off because it’s too late for that shit

It’s three fainting goats – because sometimes goats just do that

It’s the opening drums of “go wild in the country” by Bow Wow Wow playing really kid in a nearby park

It’s Bill Hicks coughing

It’s ok, it’s just room service

No, hang on, it’s everyone in the whole world that has ever lived or will ever live

It existential angst. It’s not even sure if it’s really there or not

It’s the end. It’s knocking. Thank fuck, you think. Finally.



  1. I love this so much!

    Two thoughts:

    1) Amazing imagination to come up with 100 answers just like that. That’s your super-power. Ideas. Imagination. Most people definitely cannot do this. You can put it to good use writing short stories for children or coming up with ideas for energisers for retros or starting a whole new series of “100 ideas for…” books – starting with energisers for retros.

    2) This is the exactly the kind of thing I do, and once I start I can’t stop, and I know people might be getting bored of it but it’s no use, I just can’t stop.

    3) I really want there to be 100 of these thoughts but damn it, I have work to do.

    4) I wonder how long it would take me to write 100 thoughts in response to this post?

    5) I keep getting confused about the autistic elements to my personality:

    6) Given that I almost certainly would never get a diagnosis, is it slightly offensive of me to constantly keep comparing my character traits to autism?

    7) Why am I slightly obsessed with it?

    8) Is that in itself a sign that I am indeed some amount of autistic?

    9) I once had soooooo much fun creating a tree of possible paths through a slightly surreal adventure. Nobody but me seemed to get it.

    10) If 100 people give 100 answers to this post and each one of their answers also get a hundred answers… and so on… how long will it take to break WordPress?

    11) I’m only at 11. I’m not sure I have the stamina for this.

    12) But I’m at 12% already. That’s an eighth of the way through.

    13) I wish I knew who put on a Spotify playlist of 70s rock in our office this afternoon. I’d like to shake their hand.

    14) I’m always a bit too shy to choose the playlist for the office.

    15) I could if I wanted, there’s nothing stopping me. But what if everybody hates my music?

    16) How come people don’t ever complain about the music being played in the office? It’s such a random selection, there must be people who hate some of the choices.

    17) And isn’t it really distracting for people who struggle to zone out extraneous noise?

    18) Is it cheating that I seem to have turned this into more of a stream of consciousness than an actual list of 100 responses to the original post?

    19) Why am I even doing this?

    20) It wasn’t a request on Sal’s part, there was no rule saying I had to leave 100 responses.

    21) But I’ve started, and now it’s really hard to stop.

    22) More than a fifth of the way through!

    23) How quickly can you do this sum? (24/30 + 1/6) + (5/6 + 2/7) + (5/7 + 3/5) + (2/5 + 2/3) + (1/3 + 2/10)

    24) Did you read ahead? What does it say about you if you didn’t?

    25) Are you good at taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture?

    26) I’m not. I routinely get lost in detail. I spent ages thinking about the simplest version of 24/30 before I spotted the trick.

    27) But I understand hat I SHOULD take a step back and see the bigger picture.

    28) More than a quarter…

    29) Question: How many examples of obsession with detail can I think of from my own life?

    30) There was that time I spent months trying to design the perfect Scrabble game…

    31) I achieved an individual score of 1493 when D, Y, T, L, O, Z and G were placed on the board to make the 15-letter word “demythologizing”

    32) I did stop doing it in the end though, even though I didn’t break the world record for the highest-scoring Scrabble game

    33) No staying power

    34) Then again, my family were getting a bit pissed off with my tendency to disappear into my study for hours at a time, poring over a Scrabble board.

    35) There was the time I had a crush on this boy and I went for a cycle ride at 5pm every Monday evening cos I knew he’d be cycling home from orchestra practice.

    36) Or I would cycle past his house in the hope of catching a glimpse of him through the window.

    37) It’s ok though, I was only 15, I think it’s kind of allowed.

    38) I didn’t boil any bunnies or anything.

    39) There was the time I decided it would be really funny to pretend that I was a cyber-dolphin trapped in cyberspace that could only speak in morse code, and I was really disappointed because nobody paid any attention or even noticed that it was morse code

    40) There was the time I pretended to be somebody called molehill who wore a trilby. I can’t even remember why, but it got very complicated very quickly.

    41) There was the time I decided to be a contestant on Countdown, despite not watching it very often and not being very good at either the letters or the numbers rounds. I was convinced that all I needed was a system.

    42) I wrote down a bunch of 52 commonly-occurring 7-letter and 8-letter words

    43) Then I created a series of fictional stories that incorporated the eight-letter words

    44) I’m annoyed now because I can’t remember exactly what the rules were for creating these words.

    45) I’m especially annoyed because I’ve just now discovered that the web page that I wrote explaining it all seems to have disappeared from the internet, and I’m not sure why.

    46) I thought I renewed the domain?

    47) That was a lot like your 100 explanations for three knocks, though. Tons and tons of stories that took random words and turned them into stories.

    48) I also wrote them all down on flash cards, so I could revise.

    49) I ended up a contestant on Countdown. I took the flash cards with me.

    50) They put me up in a hotel in Leeds, next to Yorkshire TV’s television studio.

    51) I bumped into an Emmerdale actor in the hotel bar, and I thought he was an old friend.

    52) (He wasn’t)

    53) Anyway the flash cards – and all my systems – didn’t make a blind bit of difference.

    54) The people on the Countdown internet forum thought I was a right nuisance.

    55) They weren’t very nice to me.

    56) My favourite 9-letter word – written on one of my flashcards – was ENCOMIAST.

    57) I can’t remember what it meant.

    58) It didn’t actually matter what it meant. It was points, that was all it was.

    59) I’m the same with Scrabble. I have a list of 2-letter words. They’re really really useful.

    60) I have no idea what half of them mean.

    61) QI, ZO and XI are my favourites. You can score 62 points just by placing one letter down if you place a Z on a triple-letter score next to two Os

    62) … or a Q on a triple-letter score next to two Is

    63) I didn’t win my episode of Countdown

    64) But I lost to an octo-champ so that’s not so bad

    65) I didn’t win a teapot, but I did get a dictionary and a clock and book about words by Suzie Dent as my consolation prize

    66) And a hessian Countdown bag

    67) And a mug

    68) Ooooh! I found the source html for my website about Scrabble! Turns out it was “52 7-letter words, and the 8-letter words that can be created by adding one letter. The 7-letter words are all highly likely to appear in a game of Countdown, or indeed Scrabble”

    69) “Each 7-letter stem has every letter of the alphabet listed, so that you can test yourself on whether each addition will lead to an 8-letter word or not”

    70) I found the stories too! Here is one: ANGLERS (12)
    Those ANGLERS are all SANGREAL, with their full red blood keeping their fingers toasty pink, but they don’t half drop some CLANGERS, gossiping while they wiggle their DANGLERS in the water. The water ENLARGES their FLANGERS too, oo-er, but it’s ok cos it REALIGNS all their messy bits and makes sure they don’t get caught in the MANGLERS. If they do, they have to be pulled out with GRAPNELS, cos otherwise the manglers will STRANGLE them, reducing them to tiny GRANULES of former person, while another angler WRANGLES with the mangled one, trying to save them and make sure their LARYNGES remain intact (so they can do more gossiping).

    71) Another thing I have been obsessive about: Making bead patterns on those Ikea pin boards.

    72) Also knitting.

    73) I dunno though, I feel like I am letting myself down in the obsessive stakes. I can’t actually think of many examples at all.

    74) It doesn’t help that I have the memory of a flea.

    75) Three quarters!

    76) I wrote 52 of those stories though. And wrote them all out on cards.

    77) By hand.

    78) I don’t think I spotted a single one of those 7- or 8-letter words in my episode of Countdown.

    79) I did get an 8-letter word though!

    80) PARADISE.

    81) I nearly didn’t declare it, because I thought surely that’s not how you spell paradise? It ought to have a C at the end, not an S?

    82) I also spotted the best word ever, but sadly from the audience in the episode after mine.

    83) It was ONANISED.

    84) Onanism is a crossword-setters’ favourite. It means masturbation.

    85) Neither of the contestants spotted it, so I sidled up to Suzie Dent afterwards and asked whether she had spotted it.

    86) She hadn’t, but she knew what it would mean. She was tickled by the joke.

    87) She looked it up though and it wasn’t actually a word. Boo.

    88) I went to York this Monday (the bank holiday), and we went to the cold war bunker. It’s fascinating.

    89) But according to my mum, there is a smaller one near the house I grew up in (which my parents still live in).

    90) According to my mum, when she pointed it out to me two years ago, I said something along the lines of “Oh yes, I’ve known about that since I was a child.”

    91) I have no memory of this!

    92) I don’t mind not remembering saying something two years ago, but I DO mind remembering something from my childhood two years ago that I DON’T remember now.

    93) I accused my mum of misremembering the thing I don’t remember saying. Maybe it wasn’t even me that said it?

    94) But then she fished out her diary from two years ago and showed me where she wrote down what I said, in great detail.

    95) My mum has something she calls Compulsive Recording Disorder.

    96) She has to write down everything that happens. Sometimes she can’t leave the house because she’s too busy writing down all the things that happened the day before.

    97) She rings me up to check details. I don’t know why. I can never remember any of those details.

    98) My mum is also slightly obsessive. She has a thing about prime numbers. She once very excitedly showed me her new coat, which was exciting because it had SIX pockets. But that was no good, because six is not a prime number.

    99) So she sewed on an extra pocket. But what was in the seventh pocket? Well, OBVIOUSLY it was an index card, containing an index to the contents of the other six pockets.

    100) Wow. I did it. I’d better take a copy of this, in case it crashes WordPress when I hit Submit. This was fun. I’d better not make a habit of it though.

    1. Ooh! I remembered another thing I was going to say!

      100a) Anthony Trollope was a Victorian novelist. He had a senior position in the post office, and every morning before going to work he would (apparently) write exactly 1000 words. Even if that left him in the middle of a sentence, he would stop after exactly 1000 words.

      100b) I’ve just googled that story, after sniffing a myth. I can’t find any verification. He wrote religiously every morning before breakfast, and so did JG Ballard and a whole host of other people. JG Ballard aimed for about a 1000 words per day. But I can’t find anything about anybody stopping in the middle of a sentence.

      100c) So here’s my dilemma: It’s such a great story. Shall I keep telling it anyway?

      100d) Well yes, I will. Because apart from anything else, I have the memory of a flea so I’ll forget I ever discovered it wasn’t actually true.

      100e) Curse my pedantic fact-checking self though, as when I was originally told the story, I was told Trollope was postmaster general. He wasn’t. He wasn’t even Chief Secretary or Under-Secretary to the Postmaster General (see below).

      100f) But he did (probably) invent the postbox!

      100g) “By the mid-1860s, Trollope had reached a fairly senior position within the Post Office hierarchy, despite ongoing differences with Rowland Hill, who was at that time Chief Secretary to the Postmaster General. Postal history credits Trollope with introducing the pillar box (the ubiquitous mail-box) in the United Kingdom. … When Hill left the Post Office in 1864, Trollope’s brother-in-law, John Tilley, who was then Under-Secretary to the Postmaster General, was appointed to the vacant position. Trollope applied for Tilley’s old post, but was passed over in favour of a subordinate.”

      11h) From here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Trollope

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