Wednesday, March 30, 2005


"Daddy, are we really mostly made of water?" T1 asks.

"That's what they say," I reply.

"Who says we are made of water?" T2 asks.

"I guess scientists," I say.

"How do they know?" T2 asks.

"They study these things," I say.

"I know we are not made of water," T2 says, "because we are not falling apart."

"I always had trouble with the concept myself," I concur, "but apparently it's true."

"Then where is the water?" T2 asks.

"All through your body," I say. "In all your parts, in your skin and in your blood."

T2 holds up her hand. "If I go like this, is all the water going down from my hand and arm?"

"I think it stays," I say. "It's caught."

"Is it pond water we're full of?" T2 asks.

"No!" T1 shouts. "We are full of well water, not pond water."

"I'm full of very expensive bottled water, myself," I tell them. "Now go to sleep."

"Daddy, I have another question," T1 said.

"Just one?" I ask.

"How do people learn Chinese words?"

"Well, you could study to learn it, but most people learn the language their parents speak. If their parents are Chinese, then they will learn to speak Chinese."

"But daddy, after the China children learn the Chinese words, do they ever say, 'now teach us the regular words'"?

"To them, the Chinese words are the regular ones," I say.

"Chinese words are not regular words!" T2 shouts.

"Time for sleep now," I say. "Good night."


"Are they asleep yet?" LZ asks, as I barrel down the stairs.

"Almost," I say.

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" she asks.

"To the kitchen for a drink," I say. "That Chinese food makes me thirsty as all get out."


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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Q & No A

"Why is there a world?" T1 asks.

"I don't know," I say. "But I'm glad there is. If there were no world, then we'd have nothing to do. We'd just be sitting here in the dark."

"We are part of the world," T1 says. "If there was no world, there would be no us either."

"If there 'were,'" I say. "Subjunctive."

"Why is there life, then?" T2 asks. "That is the question."

"That certainly is the question," I say.

"But why?" T2 persists.

"No one knows," I say.

"Maybe we could ask the man," T1 says.

"What man?" I ask.

"The restaurant man, on the computer," T1 explains.

"Oh," I say, "that man. "He's dressed up as a butler, not a waiter."

"What's a butler?" T2 asks.

"Can we just ask him?" T1 complains.

"He doesn't know," T2 says. "No one knows."

"I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask," I say. "Maybe there's some new information that I've missed."

"He won't know," T2 states once again.

"Here's what I've got," I say. "The first two answers deal with the meaning of life. That's not what we want, is it?"

They shake their heads.

"The next two tell what life is, but we already have a handle on that, don't we?"

They shake their heads.

"Meaning of life, meaning of life, irrelevant, irrelevant, meaning of life, irrelevant."

I shake my head.

"Wait a second," I say. "Let me click on this one. This guy may have something."


"Oh, never mind," I say. "It's just a long posting refuting some crackpot creationist lecture."

They look at me blankly.

"Time for bed?" I hazard.

"I knew he wouldn't tell us," T2 says. She turns and stomps up the stairs to bed.

"What's a crackpot?" T1 asks.

"One who holds eccentric or lunatic notions," I say.

"Like Eli, at school," T1 says. "Yesterday he wore a pajama top to school instead of a shirt."

"He certainly sounds eccentric," I say. "He just may be a crackpot."

"Why do I always have to go to bed and she doesn't?" T2 calls from the top of the steps.

"To bed with you," I say to T1. "Tell your sister we'll continue our inquiries tomorrow."


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