A Response to the Facebook Giraffe Meme UPDATED

If you don’t understand the point of this post, it means you’re healthy and well-adjusted and don’t spend time on Facebook.

UPDATE: If the wording of the riddle that’s going around social media specifies the time as “3am,” you might be tempted to answer that the first thing you open are your “eyes,” since it’s the middle of the night and you’re asleep. However, “eyes” are “things” and the riddle says “thing” (singular), so “door” is the correct answer. (Also, you’re already awake immediately after the doorbell rings, so that action has already been completed in the body of the riddle.)

And, also since it’s the middle of the night, you can say, “Your gun cabinet,” because it’s probably an attempted home invasion.

Or, you can say “nothing,” since no one you know would wake you up in the middle of the night for breakfast.

But, really, the answer is “door.” Stop trying to be clever.

Steve Greydanus had this to say: “If anyone, even my parents, are knocking on my door at 3am looking for breakfast, the FIRST thing I’m going to open is a can of whoop-ass, so I’ll have it ready when I open the door. And THEN I’ll open my eyes IF I’M IN A GOOD MOOD.”

It’s a terribly worded version of this particular (and rather obvious) riddle. Here’s the one I found on Facebook: “3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors. It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?”

For those confused, the Facebook meme requires you to change your profile picture to a giraffe if you get it wrong. It’s what’s called a “thought virus”: a pointless exercise or factoid that spreads like a computer virus through the internet.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Jared Clark

    To spare anyone the shame of being giraffe’d, there’s a version of the riddle floating around that fails to mention that the knock wakes you up, so there is something other than the door you open first.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    If it’s the one in the middle of the night, you can open your eyes first.

  • MeanLizzie

    I have no idea what any of this means.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    You’re better off not knowing, but if you notice Facebook friends suddenly have a giraffe in their profile pic, this is why. I was planning to just leave it cryptic, but I added an update with the details. It spread so far the media is covering it now!

  • http://decentfilms.com/ SDG

    To be correct, the riddle should begin with a knock at the door, rather than a ringing doorbell. What makes the riddle fair is when all the possible answers are explicitly on the table.

    “Your eyes” is not a fair answer because eyes haven’t been mentioned. Once you go there, then all kinds of other improvised answers are also possible, from “Your gun cabinet” (Tom) to “a can of whoop-ass” (me).

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    “What have I got in my pocket” also was not fair.

  • Guest

    I’m neither healthy nor well-adjusted and this blog was still my first encounter with this meme. I’ll answer this annoying riddle, though, the same way I answer any annoying question: “Your mom.” Since that’s an irrefutable answer, I will not be posting a picture of a giraffe to my facespace.

  • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

    And what if you sleep with your eyes open? Or have only one eye (or are blind and your eyes don’t open anymore)? And what if you left the door open all night? The more I think about it, “Your mom” is really the only valid answer to this “riddle”.

  • Evan

    This riddle reminds me of the first riddle in a book I received as a present when I was eight years old. It went like this: “It’s a dark, cold, stormy winter night. After walking for several hours, you reach a log cabin. Inside the cabin are a fireplace, a wood stove, a candle, and a kerosene lamp. You reach into your pocket and find one match. You carefully study the objects in the room, which one will you light first?”

    At eight years old, I think I said the candle, only to have my much older cousin respond, “Of course you HAVE to light the match first.”

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    So, “The toilet seat” is not a fair answer? What about, “the flap on my night-time nursing bra”? There’s a lot of directions to take this. If there’s a knock at the door in the middle of the night, I’d open the dog crate first, just in case. Let the German Shepard mix and wolfhound mix answer the door.

  • Jared Clark

    The version I saw said there was a knock on the door but left out the sleeping part, so I answered “the door” (which, with the provided information, was the logical answer)

  • Linebyline

    But “Handses” was a pretty good answer. It was just dumb luck that it turned out to be wrong.