Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Your Metaphysical Questions Answered

Ah, Children.

Aren't they great? Inquisitive little boogers - always wondering, always seeking answers to questions that would stump
Stephen Frickin' Hawking (as he is known to his close friends).

The science questions are bad enough - and they seem to come when you least expect them: in the grocery checkout line, through the powder room door, while gesturing at an idiotic driver as you pass him at high speeds with two wheels up on the curb.

You know - when you're

In these situations, I've found that the inquisitive youngster (and the folks waiting in line behind you while you try to find your coupons and your club card) are most appreciative of an answer that sacrifices a smidgen of accuracy for the sake of brevity.

For instance:

Child: Why is the sky blue?

Parent: Because no one looks good in yellow.

Child: Then why is space black?

Parent: Because they turned off the lights to save energy. In the 70s, space was lit up like a landing strip.

Child: Where does rain come from?

Parent: The ceiling.

And so on.

Life moves forward, dinner gets made and (bonus!) somewhere out there in the future, a science teacher is hugging himself with glee at the discovery that yet another kid in class thinks the rings around Saturn were built by Nintendo as a
Mario Kart practice track. (People like to feel good about their jobs, you know.)

The Bigger Questions.

Sure, these bite-sized science inquiries can be swatted away
before the kid realizes we don't know the answers either without too much effort, but what about The Big Questions?

You know, the thanks-for-the-
Legos-but-can-we-get-back-to-the-matter-of-where-we-came-from-and-why-we're-here-and-where-we're-going-next-type questions. (Known collectively among educators and parenting specialists as "The Widowmaker" or "The Flaming Chimichanga.")

Many of you probably have religious or philosophical foundations that provide ready-made answers to these fundamental questions. (
Lucky!) There are many folks, however (myself included) who haven't yet found that single, ideal belief system that has it all: profoundly comforting answers to life's monumental questions without the pesky purple-cape-and-hi-top-sneakers dress code.

And so, when our children come to us thirsting for knowledge about the workings of the Universe and beyond, we want to provide answers - boy, do we - but, alas, we simply don't have them. Nor does it seem appropriate to give a youngster a completely candid response along the lines of "It beats the crap out of me, kid!"

Which leaves us somewhere in the middle: we have to say something...right?

Why not say this:

Question: "Mommy, where did people come from?"

Mommy: "In the steamy dawn of the Time of Gorgon the Fluctuator, it was decreed that certain things shall be so. Then, before we knew it, Bob's your uncle and here we are. Now, then! [clap hands loudly] Who wants frozen yogurt?"

Question: "Daddy, who is God?"

Daddy: "Your mother sent you to ask that, didn't she? Listen, go tell Mommy that I said God is - are you ready? - Eric Clapton."

Question: "Hey, Mom, what happens to people after they die?"

Mom: "Hmm, well, I don't know the specifics, of course, but I'm under the impression that if you're a good person your whole life, you go somewhere that has free valet parking. On the other hand, if you're not a good person, well, two words: shuttle bus."

Question: "Dad, what's the meaning of life?"

Dad: [ahem] "Hey, sport! Did I mention we're getting a trampoline? Yeah! Let's go pick out that bad boy right now!

* Unless you have a really big yard, we recommend using this answer only once.

We hope you find these responses helpful as you are called upon to field The Big Questions. In the meantime, if you happen to know the REAL answers to any of the queries above, please post them in the comment box below. Also, I would really enjoy a pony and a zillion dollars.


[Note: No deities were harmed in the writing of this post.]


Anna Lefler said...

Hmmm...I'm getting reports that the comments are not working so I'm here with the ol' toolbelt to check it out.

Here goes...

Megan said...


I mean, seriously? You don't know the answer to life's most important questions.

And you didn't even bother to investigate, just bribed your child with trampolines? (p.s.~ That'd be the best blog giveaway EVER)


It's 42.

You're welcome.

FreshHell said...

Those kind of questions get answered thusly in our house:

Child: Why is there wind? Where does it come from?

Parent: Uh, rotation of the earth? Tides? I don't know.

Child: You don't know anything!

Parent: That is correct. Now, hand me that bottle opener before my beer gets warm.

essbesee said...

You know Stephen Frickin' Hawking, too? I thought I was the only one he let call him that. The Clapton/God reference made me spittake my diet coke.

Wanderlust said...

I pretty sure this is what the Discovery Channel is for. I've taught my kids to use the remote.

Jeanne Estridge said...

I don't know The Meaning of Life, but I firmly believe the purpose of life is education.

We're put here to learn lessons and we're presented with the same lessons over and over until we either get them, or we die.

In which case, we have to go to summer school.

Ann Imig said...

Steven Frikkin Hawking is messing with your feedburner.

Look who has the last laugh now!

Chimichanga Flambe,

Ann with no A

p.s. GREAT freakin' post

Cheryl said...

My grandmother had the answer to everything that came out of the mouth of an inquisitive child. "Children should be seen and not heard."

This post was more awesome than Stephen Frickin' Hawkins.

Suzy said...

Same thing when my sister's dog asks his Aunt Suzy where dog poop goes once it's picked up.

I always answer: Who wants a cookie? WHO???

Grand Pooba said...

I can't wait to have kids so I can make up stupid shit.

LOL ;o)

Anonymous said...

Yes! Clapping your hands loudly always works to change the subject. And to scare the living bejeezus out of my 21-month-old out.

"In the steamy dawn of the time before Gorgon the Flucuator" - I can't stop repeating this.

Ann (of the Rant's) was right. This blog ROCKS.

Trooper Thorn said...

"Daddy, why are you always lying on mommy and hurting her?"

"It's your fault Simon. Your the one who keeps asking for a little brother."

Jules AF said...

Pssh, I look good in yellow. :)

K A B L O O E Y said...

OK, another big question: why can't Steven Fricken' Hawking afford a good tailor? He looks two dimensional in that big jacket. Seriously. Get the guy a Flaming Chimichanga or something.

Elkhorn Inn & Theatre said...

LOL! You really are wonderful!
My dad (who grew up in the "monument business", meaning tombstones, and who studied to be an embalmer until he found out he was allergic to formaldehyde) answered my "what happens after you die" question when I was 6, and I'm STILL in need of therapy! On, how I wish he'd said "valet parking"! I'll even happily take the shuttle bus! :-)

La Belette Rouge said...

I like your answers better than all the ones I got in parochial school. You should be a metaphysical teacher. Huh? There is a buck to be made in that. You could be the next Deepak Chopra. I would much rather see you in PBS than Wayne Dyer.

Ron said...

Those are golden. They go perfectly with the latest parenting manual I recently picked up. "Great Lies To Tell Small Kids." Favorite example:

"That word dad uses sometimes... it means 'please.' Use it at school."

Savor The Days said...

Thanks for the laugh!

The Retired One said...

Beats the crap out of me..until I was twelve I thought the trees moved themselves and that is what made wind...hey,I saw those mean trees in the Wizard of Oz,they were alive... so what else could I believe???!!!! Gheesh!

Alexandra said...

My poor kids think their names are "google it."

Shari said...

My yard is not big enough for even one trampoline. I'm so screwed.

When Pigs Fly said...

I'm liking the "shuttle bus" comment. Sadly, I don't have any answers either. Wish I did as I would love the purple pony and the zillion dollars.

joanne lee said...

I fumbled through with my children but thanks for the answers. I have 8 8/9 grandchildren to mess up now!

MommyTime said...

I was capable of answering, looking up, or making up the answers to any question thrown at me until "how does the baby get out?" suddenly shifted one day to "BUT, how does the baby get IN?" Then I went into full-on def-con five stammer-and-distract mode. It worked for what I can only assume is temporarily until the quenstioner remembers that question never got answered. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trampoline option.

Does that come with free delivery and set up?

Ash said...

Two weeks ago I so could have used this. Oldest did really ask me "Where did we come from?"

I told him to correctly phrase the question as "From where did we come, dear Mother?"

That baffled him enough to forget the question. Thank God.

You're pure genius, as usual. Bookmarking.

HermanTurnip said...

Many thanks! I wasn't sure what I was going to tell my kid when he got old enough to ask such questions. Now I'm prepared.

CaraBee said...

It was something I marveled at not too long ago that the minute you give birth to a child you go from being the person with all the questions to the one with all the answers. My kid is so in trouble.

Jack Steiner said...

I like to turn the questions around and say, "what do you think?" It works like a charm.

KLZ said...

Oh, shuttle bus is the little known 19th circle of hell.

Brutalism said...

Timing really is everything...I'm so glad I have a mold-able youngster still at home that I can try these out on. Thanks!

David said...

It was really very very funny!!
Thanks a lot for sharing!
I always love to read your new post!

Mark said...

Nice blog today:) But I always like to ask the kid back...well, what do you think happens? (and then say 'yes' to whatever new myth they manufacture). :)

Jody Worsham said...

Love your answers. Mind if I borrow them. This is my second time around with kids so I have forgotten what I said the first six times. The Medicare Mom

bernthis said...


My daughter is wondering why i don't have a boyfriend.

I await your response.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Leave it to a kid to leave an adult tongue-tied. Heeehehehe!

Ya'll have a terrifically blessed day!!!

Anonymous said...

The Calvin and Hobbes approach to the big questions.

Calvin: Where does wind come from?
Dad: Trees sneezing.

My mom did this with my kids. Made elementary school science pretty interesting.

-Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points

Big Mama Cass said...

LMFAO!!!!!!!!! Omg I just spit water on my monitor!

HogsAteMySister,com said...

Hi Anna,

I did start a book when son Eli was starting to talk, to capture all the miracles and wonder. That lasted about two months. Sad, because he really did come up with some old man wisdom when he was 3 or 4. Good because there is no evidence of the 'answers' I gave him. I'm still fighting extradition to Oklahoma for promising my niece that planting M&Ms along the soccer field sidelines would grow huge M&M trees. Well, it was better than watching her brother play soccer. At age 6 they are like herding cats...

Cat Wisdom 101 said...

Wish I'd had these answers ten years ago. Glad to have found you at Blog Catalog.

Glen said...

After persuading my wife to explain the birds and the bees while I was elsewhere, my seven year old boy (the elder of my two) came upstairs and asked me...

"Dad, what's it like when you give the lady the sperms?"

Several coughs later I mumbled that it was OK, but twice was enough, then pointed to a spider and ran away.

I'll have to remember the one about God - thanks

Unknown said...

Don't you just love kid questions and comments? When my son was 5, he figured out why cars don't park on clouds. It's because theyd fall through and squish the bugs.