Too Many Questions

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Have you ever had a conversation with a five-year-old? Not a “Where’s your mommy?” or “How old are you?” kind of conversation, but a real conversation where you explore the issues of the day. Where neither of you tries to eat the sand in the sandbox just to see how it tastes.

I know I have. I mean the conversation part. I stopped eating sand when I got cats—they didn’t always distinguish between my box and theirs.

Cats.

The first thing you’ll learn from that five-year-old—when they stop yammering about nap time, and the coming elections, and the quantity of nose hair you possess—is that they ask a lot of questions. And that’s our fault as a society.

We bombard them with things they can’t possibly know the answer to, and wonder why some of them grow up to be lawyers or accountants … or blog writers.

This is on us, people.

It starts innocently enough. They get up each day, eat a nutritious breakfast of milky sugar, and plop down in front of the TV. And the questions begin.

YA Author Tom Hoover on Conversations with Children“Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

The short answer is, “Of course not. We’re not cartographers.” Naturally, they’re several thousand questions away from learning what a cartographer even is, so why do we expect them to answer this way? It’s inhuman.

And what if they were born in the country, like I was? Where if you wanted to walk from your front porch to any street, you better pack a lunch. What’s worse, even if they did know the way, why would they send their five-year-old friends there? To a place where your mother’s fuzzy slippers have eyes and talk to you? Have the stuffed animals taught them nothing?

I was traumatized by questions as a child. To this day, I die a little inside when someone asks me, “Who’s got your nose?” Because up until that point, I could have sworn I had it.

I wish they’d at least stop doing it at job interviews. Aren’t résumés enough anymore?

And for the last time, I have no idea who let the dogs out.

As if all this isn’t bad enough, we ask questions that actually have no answers. But that never stops anyone from asking.

For instance, when my dad asks, “What did I say?” There’s no way to answer his question that doesn’t get me in trouble. I can’t ask him to clarify, which makes it really hard. Because over the years, since I met the man, he’s said a lot of things.

And here’s the kicker—if I guess right and tell him what he said, I’m smarting off.

It’s like playing card with my muse. You can’t win because the game was rigged before you ever sat down.

Sorry. It’s an emotional subject.

What was your question again? Oh yeah.

7:45.

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