Today one of my juniors asked whether I wanted to hear a riddle.
“Sure,” I responded.
After grinning at the girl next to him, he turned to me and asked, “What did Delaware?”
Immediately I wondered, “Is this still making the rounds?” I had learned it and a few of its companions from a joke book in elementary school, a good fifty-five years ago.
“Her New Jersey,” I responded. The student’s mouth opened into a little o shape. Evidently he’d presumed I wouldn’t know the answer.
“Okay, okay, I’ve got another one,” he said, recovering quickly. “What did Tennessee?”
I leaned on the desk behind me. “The same thing Arkansas.”
Surprised and intrigued, he asked, “How did you know that?”
I shrugged. “They were popular when I was a kid, too, way back when dinosaurs were roaming the Earth. I drove my older sister nuts with them. Hey, what did Tennessee the next time he looked?”
The boy thought for a long moment. “I don’t know that one.”
“He saw Idaho.”
He laughed. Then I asked, “What was the biggest moving job ever?” At this point most of the students had stopped discussing the literary theory and were listening. No one knew. “Wheeling West Virginia.” My entire class laughed.
Sometimes you don’t need to be a bright, educated, adult to talk to someone. You only need to have remembered what Delawore in middle school.