All Cretans are liars

The other day Archer asked me to hold up my hand, fingers out. I did. He then began asking me yes/no questions, one per finger. A “no” answer meant that the finger got folded down, a “yes” answer meant it stayed up. Of course this was a brand new trick from the schoolyard with which he was trying to get me involuntarily to give him “the finger,” but between its newness, Archer’s confusion about how to execute it, and my own teasing efforts to sabotage the result, it took a lot more than five questions to reach the hilarious goal. But reach it we did, at which point Archer erupted into merriment. “You’re making a rude gesture!” he laughed, as if we hadn’t both known it was coming. “Now do it to me.”

Well, I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I also didn’t want to see my little boy flipping me the bird. He held up his hand and I pointed to his pinky. “Are you green?” I asked. “No.” Down went the pinky. “Do you eat shoes?” “No.” Down went his ring finger. “Are you very silly?” “Yes!” Up stayed the middle finger. “Do you like mashed potatoes?” “No.” Down went the index finger.

Now his middle finger and thumb remained pointing up. A big smile spread across his face as he thought he knew what was coming next.

I pointed to his thumb. “Should you put your thumb down?” I asked. “Yes!” he said at once. “Ah, that means it stays up!” I pointed out. So he recanted: “No!” “Ah, then I don’t want to make you do something you don’t want to do.” “Wait… yes! Um…”

I blew his little mind.

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