Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Belated Answers to My Parents' Questions

Now that I'm almost 45 years old and I have two sons of my own, I think it's high time to answer some of my parents' questions.

1. If your friends jump off a bridge, would you jump too?

I'm going to need a little more context to answer that question. If my friends were jumping to their deaths as part of a suicide pact, I like to think that I would find a way out of the arrangement. If a herd of rhinoceroses are charging my friends and me, I may very well follow my friends over the bridge railing. How tall is the bridge? Does it span water?

2. Don't you know that children are starving in Africa?

I compartmentalize my willingness to eat lima beans and my desire to contribute money to African food programs. I think you should do the same.

3. Do you want me to pull the car over?

That won't make any difference. I'm still going to pinch my sister when she claims Jimmy Carter would be a better president than Gerald Ford. I can take whatever something you give me to cry about.

4. Isn't it about time you started taking some responsibility around here?

This answer hasn't changed. No.

5. Were you born in a barn?

No, I was born in a hospital, but you already knew that. I think this was a rhetorical question designed to make me feel silly for leaving the door open, so let's address that issue. Frankly, I don't mind leaving the door open. If flies come in the house, we can catch them and convert them into ants. If you're worried about excessive climate control expenses, I don't mind paying the bills with the money that grows on trees.


  1. You've started saying these things to your own children, haven't you?

  2. Here are things I've said to my kids:

    "Money doesn't grow on trees."

    "You have to learn to clean up after yourself."

    "I'll give you something to cry about."

    I'm sure there's more coming.