The Greatest Riddle

Photo by Ravi on Flickr
A man came up to me and some friends begging for money.

Honestly he really looked like he was in need, but I didn’t like the way he walked up and interrupted our conversation. When that didn’t work, he offered The Greatest Riddle In the World for 50 cents. For some reason, I don’t like it when people simply beg for money, but if they offer me something, anything in return for the money I am giving them I am much likely to oblige. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about what I would do if I was literally down to my last dime. How would I survive? Fortunately, I haven’t had to figure it out yet. But that was not the case for this guy. He clearly needed some help.

The Riddle

“The person who makes it, doesn’t have it”
“The person who buys it, doesn’t use it.”
“The person who uses it, doesn’t know she has it.”
What is it?

My memory may be a bit off, but I for sure could not figure it out. I kept making guesses to what I thought the answer should be. In my opinion I gave some pretty convincing answers, but the man kept saying, “nope”.

Finally, we all gave up and he told us the answer.

We all then reached in our pocket’s and gave him a little cash. Like I said before, I don’t like to give to beggars, but in this case I felt like I was paying for a performance. The man thanked us and walked away, but as we began to continue our conversation he returned with tears in his eyes.

“I didn’t realize you gave me this much.”

He said that looking straight at me. I cannot make this up. The first thing I did after hearing this was examine the bill I gave him. It was dark, and with eyesight like mine a 50 dollar bill may look like a 5 dollar bill. When I saw it was a 5 dollar bill, and the tears in the man’s eyes, I did not know how to feel. I just thanked him for his performance as I held back my own tears.

Listen to this week’s episode, Intersection, Privilege, and Concerts:

Written by Bashir Harrell of Comatose.

Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.

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