We come from the future
We come from the future

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" This question has been posed in many situations. It has been pondered by great minds. It is the most unanswerable famous riddle of all time, and it has an answer.

Well, technically this riddle has many answers. People have had a lot of time to think up something clever. It first appeared in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a famously creepy children's book which Lewis Carroll wrote in 1865. Alice falls asleep one day, follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole, and ends up in a world of crazy logic which Carroll based on what he considered the nonsensical logic that was piling up in his chosen field of mathematics. Arguably the craziest characters are the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Alice ends up at a tea party with them, and the Mad Hatter asks her the now-famous question, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

Alice asks him why, and he admits he doesn't know. He was just asking. Alice chides him with, "I think you might do something better with the time than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers." Ha ha! Take that you upstart mathematics punks! Get a job!

The unanswered riddle, which many people were exposed to in their formative years, got under people's skin. In their attempt to adequately extricate it, they've come up with answers. A satisfying, but meta, answer is, "Poe wrote on both," given by puzzle enthusiast Sam Lloyd. More in the spirit of the nonsense genre, Aldous Huxley ventured, "Because there is a 'b' in both and an 'n' in neither." Beautifully bizarre.

Carroll's answer was less popular than his question. People have persisted in coming up with their own answers to the heavily-pondered riddle. I'll take my own shot at it. "Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because neither is ever approached without caws." Eh? Eh??

Would anyone like to take a crack at it themselves? I look forward to your answers.