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Revealing Riddles

The car skidded off the road, and the two occupants, a man and his son, were badly injured. In the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, the father died. The son was taken straight to emergency surgery. The surgeon on call took one look at the patient and gasped, “Oh no . . .it’s my son.”

I heard this riddle a few years ago and have to admit that it stumped me at first. I can’t remember now if I came to the conclusion on my own or if someone eventually told me the answer. But once I knew, it bugged the hell out of me.

Like so many riddles, the answer should have been immediately obvious. In this case, however, it was tougher to laugh it off as mere ignorance. My lack of cerebral fitness has been well documented and so I have no trouble admitting that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.

This one’s different though. It’s difficult to acknowledge (to myself anyway) why I really had trouble solving this riddle.

Pick a card . . .

Pick a Card

It’s about a thirty-minute drive from our house to my parents’. Getting to Lisa’s parents’ takes twice as long. For a 5-year-old, this is an excruciatingly long time to be strapped into a car seat with nothing to do. In fact, in a 5-year-old’s universe, this is roughly equivalent to what an adult would perceive to be three months.

So, to stay alert, stave off boredom and prevent car-seat sores, we play, “The Guessing Game.”

This is a complex game of emotional intrigue in which someone in the car thinks of an object, and the rest of us try to guess what it is. Like this:


Spam anyone? I’m sharing.

I get a lot of comment spam on this blog. To date, Askimet, my spam filter, has captured 9,277 incidents of spam. This amazes me. I wonder who these spammers are and why they think what they’re doing is the least bit affective. I mean, I can’t imagine clicking over on a random list of links–porn, drugs, clothing, stationary.

I just don’t get it.

So anyway, I appreciate when someone puts a little effort and creativity into what they are doing.

Today, I saw this comment flopping and squirming in Askimet’s net:


This is probably going to sound weird, but I actually have a few magical talismans. I found them when I was a kid. Of course I didn’t know it at the time. They aren’t wands or weapons or glowing crystals. They’re just plain, ordinary . . . things. I didn’t choose them, yet each has somehow attached itself and is riding through this life with me.

The best way I can describe it is that these things have a certain energy or vibration that sort of matches my own so that if you could hear them they would harmonize and fit neatly into my own little hum.

Mason Williams Reading MatterOne of the most powerful is a thin, nondescript paperback. Completely white accept for the title, The Mason Williams Reading Matter couldn’t be more plain. About as sexy as an appliance owner’s manual, it’s really just a silly little book of poems, prose and odd pictures of ordinary things. But for me (and this is incredibly hard to explain) each page dripped with magic and mystery.

The blank spaces dancing between the words and lurking in the margins called to me from across the universe. “Come,” they said. “Come follow me.”

And I guess I kind of did.

One of the poems in that book was called, “Acrostic”. As a kid, I didn’t know what Acrostic meant. I just liked the way the poem sounded. Here it is, pulled from memory:

Teacher Duct Tapes Student To Desk

A story coming out of Orlando, Florida today outlines with broad strokes how Middle School teacher, Kasey Goodin, was suspended for her recent creative use of duct tape in the classroom. Here is the actual lead for that story:

A middle school teacher accused of using duct tape to bind a student to his desk was suspended for more than a week without pay for the alleged incident.

Quick experiment: Do this right now. On a scale of 1-10, how outraged are you by that headline and lead?

1 = “I think this is funny.”

5 = “I couldn’t care less one way or the other.”

10= “The thought that a teacher would do this pisses me off big time.”

Just humor me and jot your answer down somewhere next to the letter “A”.

Great, now let’s move on by filling in some of the blanks with some text I selected from the story.