25 Unanswerable Questions

The drive to school can be harrowing, but amazing, for a stressed-out parent.

The ride to school is the calm before the storm in what is usually a hectic day and I often reflect on how lucky I am to have them — sometimes just looking at their faces and silently mouthing “Thank God.”

Still…

For them, this short excursion is a break from 650 cable channels, laptop computers, and tablets, and without a firehose of technology shooting at them, their minds tend to wander.

Or perhaps it’s just that they know they have me cornered, with no place to go?

Either way, this is when the questioning begins.

“Daddy?” asks my oldest. “Why are the mountains higher than the sky?”

The first question always catches me off guard, and mistakenly, I try to apply logic to the situation.

“Well sweetie,” I say, “you know there is nothing higher than the sky.”

“Except the moon,” chimes in my youngest.

Ah, right. The double team, I think. I always forget about that.

“And the sun and space too,” the oldest says, clearly piling on.

At this point, I reach deep down into the core of my being, pulling out everything I’ve learned from the premium version of my meditation app, and prepare to weather a barrage of questions fired at me with the cadence of a machine gun.

“If you were fighting a replica of yourself, would it be better to fight him or someone else?”

“Can you use solar panels to get electricity from the moon?”

“When they take your blood, and they are done testing it, do they throw it away, or do they keep it?”

“They keep it,” I say.

“Why? Can’t they use it for someone else?”

“Um, well?”

And so it continues…

“Since a fox chases mice, is it more of a cat or a dog?”

“What does the fox say? What sound does it make?”

“If three strikes in bowling is called a turkey, what are five more strikes with those three called?”

I catch myself thinking, is that a bowling question or a math question?

No matter, the barrage continues without mercy.

“Is it werewolves or vampires that have superpowers?”

“What are some that don’t like salt?”

“Can you cook leeches?”

“Who discovered light? You know, the guy with the crazy hair?”

“Thomas Edison?” I whimper.

“No.”

“Einstein?” I say with no reasonable hope of success.

“No. The guy with the key. Ben Franklin”

Sure. Ben Franklin.

“What are eyebrows for?”

“Is there a life hack for coffee? And if you didn’t have one of those fancy machines, how would you get coffee?”

“Who do you think would win, Superman or Goku?”

“Who is Goku?”

“He has four ascent ions.”

Of course, he does.

“Which is fast or easier to get, hot or cold?”

“Can you tame a shark?”

“Who would win, a lion or a bear?”

“I vote for a lion,” yells the youngest, saving me from what would probably be an embarrassingly wrong answer on my part.

“What can dirt survive?”

Finally, we reach our destination, the school parking lot. Knowing full well that for the next eight hours, a 28-year old teacher — who will hit the eject button the second his novel is finished — will now be the victim of their hyper-inquisitive minds.

Eh, he knew the risks when he took the gig, I rationalize.

But, just as they grab their lunch bags and 64oz water jugs from the backseat, they deliver the coup de grace.

“Daddy, if a vegetarian died, and then came back as a zombie, would they want to eat people’s brains or still only vegetables?”

It’s the same every day. Twenty-five unanswerable questions my children ask, with only one in return from me.

“How on earth could I live without these two?”