Archie Bunker, A Riddle & Society

Years ago I recall watching an episode of All in the Family where the following riddle was shared. I do not know if this is original to that show or not, but it is where I heard it first.

A father and son spent the day fishing. They drove a ways to a fishing hole. They caught several fish that day and had an enjoyable time. The day had gotten long and they decided to head home. Before long night came and then it began to rain.

It was then that the car skidded and then crashed into oncoming traffic. The father died instantly and the boy was really banged up.

He was rushed to the hospital. The emergency room prepped for an operation. In came the doctor, took one look at the patient on the table and announced, “I cannot work on this boy. He’s my son?”

How could that be?

For years I have trotted out this story to share with others. Amazingly, folks stumble when trying to answer. It is a simple riddle and I fear our society is no more enlightened than Archie Bunker was 30+ years ago.

I shared this with my students today as it paralleled an Encyclopedia Brown mystery we read together. I thought this was a slam dunk for them. They, like so many before, overlook the obvious.

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