The Lady or The Tiger?

It’s currently 2am.  I spent an amazing day out and about in the city.  One of the professors (black belt instructors) at Gracie Barra Chicago, Professor Sid, retired from the Chicago Fire Department after 33 years of service.  Absolutely Amazing!  A bunch of the Gracie Barra guys and gals came out for that fabulous celebration, and from there it was one point after another bouncing around, till we ended up at Gracie Barra The Loop watching UFC 155.  Grr…Dos Santos got dominated.  So not happy about that, but Cain Velasquez fought a great fight.  So here I am, and my mind is abuzz…with the excitement of the day.  I met new people, had lots of great conversations, broke bread in great company, had an amazing, although scary experience with a flock of pigeons…all of the types of things that make me happy.  However, another topic has been on my mind as of late, and that’s what I truly want, and intended, to talk about this post, and that is…


Duh, Duh, DUH!  I don’t quite recall when I first encountered this short story.  When I was in elementary school, I was in the gifted program for reading, and they gave us these books full of “advanced” short stories, and we’d read them, and discuss them.  All I really know is that the first time I read this story, it captivated my mind…it still does today.

As I look back on that then, and reflect now, this story wraps up many of the things I find fascinating in the world today: philosophy, psychology, open-ended debate.  As I sat a few nights ago re-reading, and thinking about this story, I came to the realization that one of  my favorite films, “Inception,”  is based around many of the same themes.  If you’ve never seen that movie, go see it IMMEDIATELY!   Thoroughly fascinating movie, and it culminates in a final scene that leaves you with more questions than answers…much like this short story.

So, if you’ve never read this short story, I will not share it here in it’s entirety, because that would make this post ridiculously long…however, here it is here, in it’s complete form, for you:

Read “The Lady, or the Tiger?”  Here!  

******SPOILER ALERT******

So, just for knowledge sake:

The Lady, or the Tiger?” is a much-anthologized short story written by Frank R. Stockton for publication in the magazine The Century in 1882. “The lady, or the tiger?” has come into the English language as an allegorical expression, a shorthand indication or signifier for a problem that is unsolvable. The underlying allegory is parallel to the dilemmas often faced by participants in problems predicted by game theory.”
Source: Wikipedia: The Lady or the Tiger?

So, first things first; If there is anyone who can reasonably and simply explain game theory to me, I will totally buy you coffee.

Going on….so, I ask you…how does the story end?

Now, obviously, that question is truly unanswerable…because it’s unverifiable.  However, that’s one of the things that makes this story so amazingly intriguing, because once you throw that question on the table, the adventure truly begins.

I think so much of how you think this story ends depends on your personal perspective, history, and a myriad of other influences.  How would you want to see the love of your life end up?  What could you stand to live with?

For those of you who’ve seen “Inception”, it’s pretty easy to see the similarities to the question, “Does the top continue to spin, or fall?”

I read this story twice a few days ago, and I let it cook my noodle for a while.  Before I knew it, 40 minutes had passed, and I was still trying to decide, “What is behind that right door?”  Could she stand to hear him ripped limb from limb by a hungry tiger in a most gruesome death…or, could she stand to see him married to a beautiful maiden, and whisked off to a new life…a life that she would have no choice to be a part of, lest she find him in the arena yet again.

Absolutely amazing in its simplicity, yet it’s complexity.  Suspenseful…

So tell me in the comments….how does the story end.  Does the young man encounter the lady….or the tiger?


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