Electricity Riddle

Main Performance:

HG: Basically you’re in this, like, house that’s like a labyrinth, or whatever. Um… and there’s no electricity and its like dark and whatever, and there’s these doors. There’s these three doors, um… I’m gonna tell you the doors and you pick, actually.

Me: Ok.

HG: So the first one, there’s Red Door, Blue Door, and Green Door. Which one do you pick?

Me: Blue Door.

HG: Ok, um… and then there’s door one, two and three. Which one do you pick?

Me: One.

HG: One? Ok, and then there’s pink door, white door, and black door. Which one do you pick?

Me: White.

HG: White? Ok, um… then there’s five doors. One with a picture of a giraffe and the other four are just one, two, three, and four.

Me: Three.

HG: Ok… Lotta people pick the giraffe door but that’s ok.

Me: *Laughing*

HG: And then finally there’s three more, its just sky door, grass door and moon door.

M: I’ll go with moon door.

HG: And then you’re presented with three options, you finally enter this room and um… they are all ways to die, basically. The first way is to enter a cage with a lion in it. The next is you have to hang yourself. And then the last one is an electric chair. Which one are you picking?

Me: The electric chair.

HG: Aw yeah why’s that

ME: *Laughing* Because there’s no electricity in the house!

HG: *Laughing* Aw f*ck you

Background: The respondent heard the riddle in middle school to the best of his memory. He is from New York City.

Thoughts/Analysis: I had definitely heard a riddle with the same sort of punchline before the informant had told me his riddle, but I didn’t realize it until he said the last option. To someone who hasn’t heard the riddle before, it is supposed to rely on the complex steps that the riddler walks the subject through before arriving at the final decision. You are thinking about so many things throughout the course of the riddle that you forget one of the basic things about the house. In the performance of the riddle, the informant took many “thinking” pauses between each of my decisions to try and signal to me that he was thinking about the path that I was taking in order to throw me off.