Parents are under an awful burden. Its the burden of eventually being looked up to by our children as the provider of answers to all the worlds tough questions. As parents, were expected to know all these things or risk our children realizing that were not as smart as we pretend to be.
In preparation for the barrage of questions that I know will eventually be coming my way, Ive been doing my homework. Ive been looking up the answers to some of the easy ones, like why is the sky blue and how do airplanes stay up in the air. That stuff is simple compared to the tough ones I may never be able to answer.
For example, I cant explain why my car insurance keeps going up every year even though I have a great driving record that gets better each year. I think it has something to do with insurance companies either using a Ouija board to play the stock market or keeping all their customers premiums invested in magic beans.
Why cant people figure out the difference between the words "less" and "fewer"? Its easy - "less" is for a quantity and "fewer" refers to the number of things. Im hardly the grammar police, but seeing educated people mangle the language drives me nuts. And while were at it, look up the difference between "its and "its".
Why is any change in service that a company announces is "for your convenience" automatically going to cost you more and be less convenient?
Why is it old men who always have the loudest opinions about womens issues? Everyones entitled to an opinion, but every time I see someone going on about abortion, hemlines, employment equity or the importance of women staying home to raise children, it seems like its a gray-haired guy who probably never changed a diaper in his life.
I cant explain why gas prices go up and down several times a day, and only hit the peak when my car is empty. They say its due to problems with "supply", except the oil companies control the supply themselves, from it coming out of the ground to the nozzle on the pump at the station. So when theres a shortage, its because theyve decided to not supply themselves with as much gas as needed to keep the prices reasonable.
Why does God allow so many idiots to claim to be His representatives on Earth? There are lots of really nice, quiet religious people out there, but theres always a few starting a crusade, jihad or ethnic cleansing in His name. Think of how much better off wed all be if He handed out a few well placed lightning bolts to people acting like jerks in His name.
Why does the public keep falling for politicians who offer simple solutions to tough and complex problems? There rarely are simple solutions, but there seems to be no shortage of simple people.
Why do child molesters and rapists get off with light sentences, but if you steal money you can go to jail for a long time? Shouldnt we consider hurting people more serious than walking off with a few bits of paper or a car?
When you call a utility or bank, why do they make you key in all kinds of account numbers before you can talk to a real operator? When they come on the line the first thing the operator asks you for is your account number again. Are they just messing with us in the hope well give up and go away?
I still have a few years to figure it all out before my kid realizes I dont have all the answers. Hopefully hell stick to asking me the easy ones, like advanced trigonometry and conjugating irregular French verbs.
© Stephen Lautens 2003