I heard a story once that caught my attention.
A man was walking down a city street when he was approached by a would-be mugger.
“Give me your wallet or I’ll stick you,” he said, flashing a blade.
Barely breaking stride, the man looked at the mugger and said, “What time is it?” The mugger was so caught off guard by the seemingly-out-of-context question that he paused for a few seconds, dumbfounded. And in those few seconds, the man had gained the crucial distance away from him to avoid the mugging.
I don’t know if the story is true, but it illustrates an interesting principle.