Riddles – Greg Lewis

Karen had been perplexed at the riddles she kept receiving in her e-mail. The anti-spam software would not work on this particular one, and an investigator could not come up with one lead. She would try to delete them but to no avail. The riddles at first did not seem to be linked together, but now she believed they were. She decided to study the riddles and see if she could guess them, hoping that it was not a stalker but just some wild prank by one of her friends. The riddles read like this:

Riddle 1:
I am living yet dead.
Who am I?

Karen was puzzled at this first one. How can something be alive and dead at the same time? She did not buy into seances or all of that nonsense, but she was wondering if it was a dead person trying to communicate with her. After realizing she needed more clues, she looked at

Riddle 2:
You have cursed me when I did not do right, and praised me when I did.
Who am I?

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Now this was beginning to get creepy. Karen was a single woman and had no children. Although she owned her own business, she was always careful about correcting her employees. She could not remember ever cussing someone out. Maybe riddle 3 would give her more insight.

Riddle 3:
I go to all different lengths to please you.
Who am I?

Many of her employees were exceptional at what they did. Was there someone she had left out? A disgruntled employee perhaps? She quickly thought of all of her employees and narrowed it down to two, Dave and Tracy. Both exceptional but definitely not dead. And she had always said good things about them. Time to move on to riddle 4.

Riddle 4:
You have teased me too many times.
Who am I?

Bingo! Sounds to me like a hurt person. But whom have I hurt? she thought to herself. She quickly thought about her family and friends over the years. Although she had not been perfect, she had always tried to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. She could think of no one.

Riddle 5:
I am judged by my color.
Who am I?

Wow! Karen knew that she was definitely not a racist. She had all different races working for her and she had always given raises upon merit and attitude. It had always seemed to be a great working environment for all involved.

Riddle 6:
People rarely notice me unless I change my appearance.
Who am I?

“Where’s Batman when you need him?” she said out loud. She thought about the clues so far and they just did not add up in her mind. Two more riddles to go and hopefully they would shed some light.

Riddle 7:
People try to keep me in some places and get rid of me in others.
Who am I?

How bizarre. Karen now was getting more confused at these riddles. She looked at the last one and then printed them up on one sheet of paper.

Riddle 8:
You will never be free until you get rid of me.
Who am I?
PS Be a little daring.

After printing them up, it read like this:

1. I am living yet dead.
2. You have cursed me when I did not do right, and praised me when I did.
3. I go to all different lengths to please you.
4. You have teased me too many times.
5. I am judged by my color.
6. People rarely notice me unless I change my appearance.
7. People try to keep me in some places and get rid of me in others.
8. You will never be free until you get rid of me.
Who am I?
PS Be a little daring.

She stared at the printout for a while and then dozed off. It was late and she needed some rest. She had a big day tomorrow with her board. The next morning she woke up and showered. She was actually talking to her hair and praying that it would look just right for the board meeting. After blow-drying it, she began her usual teasing for big ‘important’ hair. She had always been told that her hair must be perfect to exude power. This was not going to be a good hair day and she began to yell at her hair. Right then it hit her. She rushed into the living room and grabbed the set of clues. She did it! She had solved the mystery! It was hair! That was the answer to the riddle. She looked at the clues and then confirmed it. It all made sense except for the last part. Why would she never be free until she got rid of her hair? It was getting late, so she finished getting ready and rushed to the meeting. She put the piece of paper in her purse and arrived just in time to the meeting.

That day, her Board of Directors gave her good and bad news. For years, Karen had wanted to be sole proprietor of her company, but she had brought on partners because she lacked capital. She was told in the meeting that her company was doing extremely well yet had missed projections in the second quarter. Her goal had been to buy the company by the end of the year. With only 6 months to go, she had to double her sales if she was going to meet her goals. At the end of the meeting she thanked the board and promised them sales would increase in the third and fourth quarters.

Karen went back to her office and mapped out a strategy to increase sales. Her staff was an excellent staff and very motivated. Yet she felt as if they were stretched out enough as it was. They were all paid very well and given very good bonuses. She had made up little competitions before, and they had always been fun, but she needed a homerun for this one.

Think! Karen, think! She began checking her e-mails and another riddle had come. She could not believe it. It had been 3 months since she last received a riddle, but this one read differently.

It read:

If you want to look great,
Go back to number eight.

She went back to her riddle page and looked at # 8:

You will never be free until you get rid of me.
Who am I?
PS Be a little daring.

She thought about it and studied it. Freedom to her meant sole proprietorship, but did that mean shaving her head? And what was that postscript about. What did it mean and why was it there? Then it hit her, the first letter of each word of that phrase spelled ‘BALD’. That’s it! I’ll offer to shave my head if they can reach the goals I have set out for them! She hurriedly mapped out a plan and then presented it to her staff. Talk about enthusiasm, were they ever fired up. The deal was agreed upon and the date was set.

18 weeks later they had exceeded their goals and the day of shearing Karen came. Friday morning her staff lined up, each taking a turn with the clippers until Karen was completely bald. They celebrated by going out to lunch and Karen handed them their bonus checks along with the news that she was now the sole owner of her company. She noticed a lot of people staring and was enjoying the attention. The next morning was a Saturday morning. She woke up rubbing her head and thinking that it felt too rough. She had thought at first she would just start growing it out again and had even bought a wig to wear. But she wanted to know how it would feel smooth. So she hopped in her car and went to a barber. She asked the barber for a hot lather shave and told him she wanted it smooth. The shaving cream felt good and her head felt so soft afterwards. She loved the way it looked and felt. The barber called her a daring young woman and she laughed. She thought about “being a little daring”.

“How much?” she asked.

“Three dollars, miss,” The barber replied. She paid him and thought to herself what a luxury for three dollars.

“How early do you open?” she asked as she was walking out.

The barber replied, “7:00 am Monday through Saturday, closed on Sundays.”

Karen told the barber that she would see him at 7:00 am on Monday for her daily shave. Walking out into the sunlight and feeling the warmth of the sun on her scalp, she realized that she finally felt free. Just like the riddle said. For ten years now she has never missed her daily trip to the barber.



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