Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Riddle me this ...

I like riddles. They make you think in ways that people today seem to have forgotten, or at least lost the knack for.
Riddles used to be used as teaching tools, and the ability to solve a riddle was a gift to be admired and praised.
Riddles teach people to think around corners, and a well-constructed riddle can be as artistic and beautiful as any poem.
For example:
There is a thing that nothing is,
and yet it has a name.
It is sometimes tall and sometimes short,
it joins our talk and joins our sport
and plays at every game.
This is an older riddle that is one of my favorites because of its simplicity. There are thousands of riddles out there, maybe more. Some of them are easy, others are fiendishly difficult. Some are funny (What has four wheels and flies?) others are more than a little disturbing:
What's stronger than God and more evil than the Devil?
Dead people eat it always and live people who eat it die slow.
Today you can find riddles on every subject from English (What's the difference between a cat and a compound sentence?) to Mathematics:
What row of numbers comes next?
The common thread in all riddles, though, is logic. Solving a riddle requires you to think a certain way - like tying a cherry stem in a knot requires you to make funny faces.
... Okay not exactly like that.

It's more like those "hidden picture" posters you see in doctor's offices where you have to stare into it and kind of relax your eyes and eventually a sailboat materializes. Once you see the sailboat, it's always there. It's kind of the same with riddles: once you relax your mind to the point that you can think around a corner to find the answer, it becomes much simpler.

The point of all this is that I want to get people thinking, and riddles are a good way to do that. I'm thinking of incorporating some riddles into Happy Hour Trivia (provided that catches on - the Hummingbird's trivia debut is tomorrow at 6, so swing by if you like trivia!).

So if you can think of a good way to work riddles into a trivia contest (or have suggestions on how to handle the whole trivia thing) then drop me a line here or via email (whcowart3@gmail.com) or on MySpace (http:www.myspace.com\wilcowartmusic).

If you're curious about the riddles I've included up there, I'll post the answers on Thursday. If you have a guess, leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. I like riddles. And not just because my name is Riddle.