Author Archives: Xavier Bradley

Running A Race

If you are running a race, and you pass the person in second, what place are you in?

MB is a 16 year old girl from Wilmington, Delaware. She is in high school, and she was born after the year 2000, a post internet era child.

I asked my sister to share with me some riddles and jokes that she was hearing in school to compare them to the ones that I used to hear and tell. She shared this one with me and it instantly wrung a bell. The answer is almost obviously second place but many people will incorrectly guess first because without giving it much thought it can seem like passing second means leaving second and entering first.

Masked Men

You leave home in a rush, make three left turns, return home, and find two masked men waiting for you. Who are they?
An Umpire and a Catcher. This is a game of baseball.

SW is a late 30s white male. He is from New England. He lives, breathes, and dies sports. It came to no surprise that when I asked him to recall some jokes and riddles from when he was a kid that he would spout to me a sports based riddle that I would not understand until the answer was revealed.

Coming from a sports family I’m sure this was a hot riddle for my stepfather. The answer seems almost obvious once you’ve heard it, I believe that is part of the appeal, to make the guesser look foolish at first before rescuing them and shining light on the answer. My stepfather told me how he distinctly remembers hearing this riddle as a kid and being so excited to share it with his siblings and family. This goes to show how even a riddle can be folklore in a home and the impact it can have on a person.

“Sweet Caroline” at a Red Sox Game

Going to a game at Fenway park is a unique experience. There’s nothing like being surrounded by thousands of devoted Boston fans all with the same mentality of victory or death. There is truly an unmatchable energy at Red Sox games in Fenway park. My stepfather is from Boston so when we go to the games we bring several members of his family with us and we travel as a small gang. One tradition that stands out amongst the lot is that Boston fans will sing Sweet Caroline by Neil diamond after the seventh-inning stretch. The whole crowd will cheer that melody- “SWEET CAR-O-LINE” and so on.

Me: “why do we sing this?”
S: “I don’t really know. But I do know it started during my lifetime.”
Me: “what do you mean? Well why do you think?”
S: “about 20 years ago I remember the song coming around and for some reason it stuck so I’ve been singing it ever since.”
Me: “Do you like it?”
S: “I love it.”

Immediately after the conversation I looked up the reason for this song being used at the games and there wasn’t much story to be told. A woman named Amy Toby like the song and she played it during a game and everyone knew it fit perfectly. It started out only been played at random games but then in 2002 it became the official Fenway tradition. I believe that this song resonates well with Boston people because of the emotional impact it has on the crowd. People can get rowdy during baseball games, especially people from New England but, this song has an exciting feeling that is both calming and unifying. This song was even used as a memorial after the Boston marathon bombings. There is no piece of evidence stronger than that to exemplify how important this song is to people of Boston.

The Floss (Viral Dance)

How to Floss

Sitting with my grandma, younger sister, mom, and uncle. My sister, M, is 16. We started discussing Fortnite dances and how popular they have become, particularly the Floss dance.

Me: “You can’t go anywhere without seeing a kid doing the floss dance.”
M: “Yeah, we were just at the Phillies game with dad and almost every kid on the screen started doing the Floss”
Grandma: “Flossing their teeth on the screen”
Me: “No hahaha, it’s a dance. It was online first, some kid was doing it at a Katy Perry concert on stage and then it blew up. Now it’s in that game Fortnite.”
M: *Starts doing the floss*
Me: “Yeah… I can’t even do it…”

I’m sure that thousands of people have had this same conversation because of how popular the dance craze is amongst the youth and their parents always having to ask them what they heck they are doing. The origin of this dance started with “the backpack kid” on SNL performing with Katy Perry in May of 2017. The internet quickly captured the moment and immortalized it in a meme and spread it like wildfire. By September 2017 the “Floss Dance” had earned its name and made its way into the game of Fortnite, an international sensation video game. At this point, everyone under the age of 15 was practicing the floss dance at their home, trying to perfect the arm movements. Every parent around the world was confused as to why their child was flailing their arms in such a way, until they did some research and learned the terminology. Now, “The Floss” is a common household reference and more people know of it than don’t.