Là, tu m’as posé une colle.
laa, tew mah po-zay ewn KULL. Click below to hear this.
That’s a tough question. You’ve got me there.
Keep in mind that when you ask a question, in French it’s poser une question. To ask is demander. So poser une colle is the same construction as poser une question.
Anyone from your French teacher to a small child can poser une colle. It’s a French slang word for a quiz, but it doesn’t have to be a formal written test at all. My older son, at age three, used to ask questions like “How does it get to be night? How does a bulldozer work?” and my favorite, “How do they make glass?” Just a few days ago, my granddaughter wanted to know where the sun goes when it sets. Even my little grandson, immediately after “What is it?” routinely wants to know “What does it do?”
How do you explain what a platypus does? The world is full of unanswerable questions, and when you are stumped by one, you say, Là, tu m’as posé une colle. La colle also means glue, and it’s true that these questions can stick to you and haunt you. Even if you learn the answer, such questions lodge in our memory forever and remind us of our failures and our humility in the face of the vast unknowability of the world. And the amazing imagination of children that allows them to think up such questions!