Tuesday October 2nd 2012
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