In the past few days, giraffes have overrun my Facebook stream.
Why? The Great Giraffe Challenge.
Try the Great Giraffe Challenge!! The deal is I give you a riddle. If you get it right you get to keep your profile picture but if you get it wrong you must change your profile picture to a Giraffe and leave it there for the next 3 days. INBOX MESSAGE ME your answer so that you don’t give it away and spoil the fun.
Here is the riddle:
3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, it’s your parents, and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread, and cheese. What is the first thing you open?
REMEMBER… inbox message me only, DO NOT COMMENT WITH YOUR ANSWER BELOW. Also remember if you get it wrong you must change your profile picture to a Giraffe.
Sounds like fun, right? And the answer seems obvious.
Or does it?
The actual “correct” answer can be open for interpretation.
The riddle is meant to confound the individual by introducing extraneous information e.g. the food items. Because, of course, before offering breakfast to the early arrivals, the door must be opened in order to invite them into your home. Some argue that the first thing one might open upon being awakened would be one’s eyes. Others insist that one’s eyes must already have been opened in order to know either (a) the time or (b) who was at the door.
This reminds me of a question on a test used to determine a child’s eligibility for the gifted program.
Which one of these items does not belong:
(a) an orange
(b) an apple
(c) a banana
(d) a tennis ball
Is the answer obvious? Or, once again, can the “correct” answer be open for interpretation? (I’m thinking shape here.)
Before I am accused of taking this innocent game too seriously, allow me to acknowledge that I am aware of my own hypersensitivity. I know that this is meant to be a harmless game. But for me, it is a reminder of how my son, Ben, experiences the world. The answers that might very well seem obvious to you or me are not typically apparent to Ben. And most questions, as processed by his Aspergian mind, require a Talmudic-like conversation to arrive at some sort of consensus – and often with the admittance that there might be more than one correct answer.
This game can certainly be seen as a wonderful teaching model. After all, the player is making a commitment to change his or her profile picture, thus announcing to the world, or at least to all of one’s closest 1,234 friends, that he or she got the answer wrong. It shows integrity, honesty, a sense of humor and more than a little self-confidence. It’s not a coincidence that we associate the giraffe with those who “stick their necks out;” that, too, is an admirable quality, and one we hope to instill in our children.
Perhaps, then, as you play this game or have friends who do, you will remember that there are many who walk among us whose days are filled with riddles that have no clear answers. They don’t get to change their pictures back after three days but must continue to live in a world that is impatient with their differences. May we have compassion for them all.
Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr is a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow whose work appears regularly on the Rabbis Without Borders blog and Kveller.com as well as a variety of other websites. Writing at This Messy Life (www.rebeccaeinsteinschorr.com), Rebecca finds meaning in the sacred and not-yet-sacred intersections of daily life. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccaschorr