An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday October 2nd 2012    Tim Candler

     In the long list of things that confuse just before they become irritating, I am not certain whether riddles rank higher or lower than puns, or where they stand when put beside charades.  "What's better than an Apple with a Pear." The nineteen fifties answer was "A Date with a Peach." And let's all hope to goodness, the answer makes no sense at all to anyone under the age of thirty five.  But here's another riddle: "The tower is high.  It is high but none the less has no shade.  What is it." The translator of this riddle was confident in his ability to accurately decipher Assyrian cuneiform, and was happy to admit that he didn't fully understand the answer to the shade riddle, which was, and therefore still should be, "Sunshine."  The translator went on to wisely suggest that after almost six thousand years it was very possible the riddle contained a metaphorical aurora, or meaning lost to ancientness.  Or in other words to understand it properly, a person really had to be there, and breathing the market air of Dates and Peaches. 

     "Like fish in a fish pond. Like troops before the king. What is it." The cuneiform answer, "A broken bow."   Certainly 'fish in a fish pond' aren't much use if you're hankering for fish pie and and you have the potatoes but are miles from the Grocery Store.  And certainly 'troops before the king' are just sitting there looking well fed and well paid and well bathed, when better men are risking life and limb in the far reaches of the king's empire.  Either way,  those of us who are mightily pleased with ourselves, and who have ego's of maybe the size of Saturn, and who could walk on water if we wanted to because we are almost entirely made of gas, draw huge comfort from a revelation of how long a line of smart asses there have been.  Perennial blooms some might want to call them, but personally I find the idea of being an annual, less odorous.  And of course justice has 'no shade,' so it's tower should cast none.

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