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Fair Game

July 5, 2011 | by

“Here’s one for you,” the driver said as soon as the taxi door had closed. “If you’re standing in a house, and every window faces south, what color bear are you looking at?”

I was caught off guard; it seemed to me late in the day for riddling.

I stifled a sigh and marshaled my meager resources.

If you’re standing in a house, and every window faces south, what color bear are you looking at?

I know next to nothing about geography, but it seemed clear that the riddle dealt with a geographically anomalous zone. Probably a pole. Which meant …

“A polar bear?” I suggested.

“What color bear?” he repeated, clearly disappointed.

“Oh. White.” I said. He sighed, deflated.

“Yes.” He said, and we drove in silence for a few minutes.

“What exotic meats have you eaten?” he asked after a while.

“Let’s see,” I said thoughtfully. “Ostrich, alligator, elk, bison ... I guess venison doesn’t count, does it?”

“Oh, it counts all right,” he said with suppressed violence. “I count it. So you’ve never had bear? Moose? Bear?!”

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