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I have a friend named James*. James is the victim of an unfortunate circumstance which prevents him from doing something that most of you can do.

Which unfortunate lack of ability would explain the following misconceptions that James has?

  • James doesn't understand the difference between a trash can and a belt.

  • James thinks that kings helped mosquitoes reproduce.

  • James thinks that cylinder locks have ink in them.

  • James believes that the atmosphere will possess his father's estate.

  • James brings a Ferris Wheel and a stick of cotton candy when he wants to ride a bus.

*Not a real person.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also, cylinder locks or cinder blocks? Lol I read it wrong probably four times before I noticed. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 4 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ @PerpetualJ cylinder locks $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J Sep 4 at 20:22
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James has difficulty

distinguishing homophones. A belt holds your waist, while a trash can holds your waste. Mosquitos thrive in the rain, but a king's reign doesn't control the weather. He thinks locks have pens in them, when they actually have pins. He believes that the air is an heir, and that you need a fair when you really need a fare.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Beat me to it - I had exactly the same ones and am missng the same two! +1 $\endgroup$ – Stiv Sep 4 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ I think 2 is about rot13(ervta juvpu vf n ubzbcubar sbe enva) $\endgroup$ – user47134 Sep 4 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Seems likely that 3 is: rot13(craf va gur ybpx vafgrnq bs cvaf) $\endgroup$ – rm-vanda Sep 4 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ I thought of that too but looks weird because they are not really rot13(ubzbcubarf) in the sense... but it could be correct depending on how you pronounce. $\endgroup$ – user47134 Sep 4 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Supersonic rm-vanda is correct - here in the Midwest US, the difference is hardly discernible when spoken. Now that I think about it, though, there is definitely a difference between the two. Sorry about that. Also you have #2 correct as well. $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J Sep 4 at 20:24
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StephenTG has the correct answer. Just to finish off the full explanation by solving the remaining clues:

  1. James doesn't understand the difference between a trash can and a belt.

    A trash can holds your waste; a belt holds your waist.

  2. James thinks that kings helped mosquitoes reproduce.

    Kings reign; mosquitoes reproduce in rain.

  3. James thinks that cylinder locks have ink in them.

    Penn cylinder locks, a pen has ink in it.

  4. James believes that the atmosphere will possess his father's estate.

    Air makes up the atmosphere; the heir will possess an estate.

  5. James brings a Ferris Wheel and a stick of cotton candy when he wants to ride a bus.

    A fair has a ferris wheel and a stick of cotton candy; a fare is needed to ride a bus.

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