Quiet Desperation

There’s no reason we can’t have a little fun


It’s springtime in the Rockies. Try to keep that in mind.

It may not be anyone’s idea of an ideal spring, but it’s the only one we’re going to have this year.

A year that’s only three months old is already history-making. Your children will reminisce about 2020 in 2050.

I won’t be around. I do hope to be around in 2021, however.

I am already looking forward to the day when the adage about humor being “tragedy plus time” allows us to kid about what the world went through. That day will come, but when?

People are swiping rolls of toilet paper from public restrooms.

You can still find some toilet paper online, but it won’t arrive for weeks.

The so-called Spanish flu (1918) was traced to Haskell County, Kansas. (Some add northern China and a British army base in France as points of origin.)

I have seen images of long lines at stores for stay-at-home provisions, but I have not encountered it myself.


The stories that will come from this time period will be never-ending. Some disturbing, some heartbreaking, some comical.

Parents unexpectedly have their children at home, and it’s not summer vacation yet.

One mother said her children were “bored.”

Therefore, I have decided to provide a little community service in the form of brain teasers.

Let’s start with an easy one: “What has to be broken before you can use it?”

Answer: an egg.

OK, now for some that are a little more difficult. Answers below.

1. “Sammy ran away from home. He ran a ways and then turned left, ran the same distance and turned left again, ran the same distance and turned left again. When he got home, there were two masked men. Who were they?”

2. “I am the beginning of sorrow and the end of sickness. I am always in risk yet never in danger. You may find me in the sun, but I am never out of darkness. What am I?”

3. “Harry, a 2-year-old dachshund, was on one side of a river, and Craig, his owner, was on the other side. Craig whistled, and Harry crossed the river without getting wet and without using a boat or a bridge. How was this possible?”

4. “Sundials have the smallest number of moving parts. What timepiece has the most moving parts?”

5. “A family has two parents and six sons. Each of the sons has one sister. How many people are in the family?”

6. “You’re in a cabin with no electricity. Come nightfall, you have a candle, a wood stove, and a gas lamp, but only one match. What should you light first?”

7. “In your pocket are two newly minted U.S. coins with a sum of 30 cents. One isn’t a nickel. What two coins are in your pocket?”

8. This one is my favorite. “A cowboy gallops into town on Monday, stays for two days, and leaves on Monday. How can this be?”

Answers: 1. Sammy was playing baseball. The masked men who met him were the umpire and the opposing team’s catcher. 2. The letter “s.” 3. The river was frozen. 4. An hourglass. 5. Nine. 6. The match. 7. A quarter and a nickel. 8. The horse’s name was Monday.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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