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Five Decades Old Riddle Has a Different Answer Each Generation, And They’re All Correct

Dondi Tiples

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In the present day, a man presented a riddle to a kid, and the answer the child gave him surprised him a lot. It was a fairly correct answer, but quite different from the answer the man gave his own father some 20 years ago.

The man’s father first heard the riddle in the 1960s. And his answer to the riddle was a very different one from the answer his own son gave in 1993. When the son grew up to be a man, he gave the same riddle to a child he was mentoring in a volunteer program.

The 1960s dad and his millennial son, both at age 30.

surgeon 5

All three of them gave very different answers, but essentially, all their answers were correct. What was this mysterious riddle?

“A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.
The father dies instantly. The son is badly injured.
Paramedics rush the son to the hospital. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says: ‘I can’t operate on him. He’s my son.’
How is that possible?!”

surgeon 2

Source: iStock

To a child in the 1960s, the answer to the riddle was a difficult one. It may have taken a lot of brain-wracking to come up with the answer.

When the father asked this riddle of his son in 1993, his son barely even had to think.

“The surgeon is his mom!”

surgeon 3

Source: iStock

To a boy in the 1990s, the world had changed considerably. More, if not most women had college degrees. Almost all adult females were in the workplace. So it wasn’t so inconceivable for the existence of a woman surgeon since a majority of women in the 1990s were already highly skilled and highly trained.

In the 1990s, women doctors, lawyers, bankers and politicians were common. This was a generation vastly different from the one his father had grown up in where women mostly stayed at home.

Fast forward to today, and the young boy from 1993, already an adult himself, poses the same riddle to a kid he is mentoring:

“A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.
The father dies instantly. The son is badly injured.
Paramedics rush the son to the hospital. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says: ‘I can’t operate on him. He’s my son.’
How is that possible?!”

The child’s answer?

“The surgeon is his other dad!”

The present answer to the same riddle shows just how much the world has changed since the 1960s when women were mostly homemakers. In the 1990s, while they faced challenges because of gender, they had broken through most male-dominated occupations. And today, gender has become fluid. Same-sex parent families thrive and are common in society.

surgeon 4

Source: iStock

Which just goes to show nothing is more consistent than change. And at the end of the day, every family, no matter its shape and composition, is still made up of love.

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