115. H2O is inside a fire hydrant, what’s on the outside?
“Two answers, I’m not sure which one they want,” I said. Zach fussed in my arms. It was a little chilly and a little after noon. We had been in the one hour corn maze for about two and a half hours. “It’s either O2 or red paint. Put down red paint.” Kris handed me Zach’s bottle and we moved on to the next question.
The corn maze had two halves, five entrances, and one correct solution. Upon check-in, we received a map of the maze. Kris and I made a pact not to use it, to test our instincts. The back of the map had answer spaces for the 150 trivia questions the maze designers interspersed throughout. If we got 100 of the 150 correct, we got a free $2 pumpkin.
Because I’m the leader, I boldly chose that we enter the maze through entrance two. The uneven ground made it hard to push the stroller. We chose to take the second left and then the third right. We found no trivia questions, but we did find a dead-end. “That’s OK,” I told Kris and Zach, “I know how these maze designers think.”
In 4th grade, while Mr. Schaeffer droned on about Vespucci, I designed my first maze. I drew it in pencil and passed it to Shirley to complete because she sat next to me and she had the curly hair that inspired the maze. She began to draw her way from the area marked “Start” and finished in about three seconds. And then smiled at me.
I ran home that night and designed an expansive maze. I grabbed a red marker and a bunch of the old dot-matrix printing paper. I laid down on the living room floor and turned on The Dukes of Hazzard. I began by drawing the solution. It covered the better part of three pages. I filled in all the decoys. I reinforced my three page maze with tape and put it in my Trapper-Keeper. I spent the rest of the Dukes of Hazzard thinking up an excuse as to why I didn’t do my homework.
The next day, after our test about the New World explorers, I walked over to Shirley while she was standing with her friends. I handed her the maze. A friend giggled and Shirley took it quickly and put it in her folder.
I was pretty sure she was my girlfriend now. I could probably hold her hand if I wanted to, maybe just walk up and kiss her on the cheek. All afternoon, I thought about whether I should kiss her on the left cheek or the right cheek. The left cheek had more freckles. I wondered whether it should be a big kiss like one for grandma, or a quick one like mom’s goodnight kiss. Then I thought that she’d probably want me to kiss her on the lips. It would be much more romantic if I could see her standing somewhere alone and walk up to her than if I was just walking with her, or if she was with her friends.
The bell rang. She jumped out of her seat and I let her get a head start of about ten steps or so. I followed.
She walked toward the lunch area. She was alone. She sat down and opened up her folder. Now was my big chance. I started walking toward her as she pulled out my maze. I smiled and started walking faster because she closed her folder and stood up. I was only about ten feet from her when she began to crumple my maze into a ball. She shot the ball toward the trashcan. She missed. And she walked off.
I decided to break up with her because I couldn’t have a girlfriend who littered. And I retired from designing mazes.
After our first dead-end, Kris pulled out the map. She led us to each trivia question. Toward the end, we considered just exiting, but we wanted the free pumpkin. So I fed and held Zach who was cranky. I answered the questions I knew. And Kris answered the ones that weren’t about baseball.
Three hours after entering the maze, we found the exit. We checked our answers, and got 105 of the 150 correct. I gave Kris a kiss on the lips. A long one. We received a nice pumpkin. And this family photo:
It was a good Saturday. Earthy family time. The pumpkin is on our doorstep.
Q115. H2O is inside a fire hydrant, what’s on the outside?