The number of unanswerable questions I hear on a daily basis is sometimes overwhelming. For example, do rabbits hibernate? How is salt made? Do the mom flies bite and the dad flies eat garbage?
In just one afternoon, I was the recipient of all three questions and off the top of my head didn’t have a definitive answer for any.
I gave standard non-answers.
“That’s a good question.”
"Boy, you’re a thinker.”
And, if pressured, my last resort: “I’m not really sure.”
I am guessing I asked similar questions when I was little. However, instead of a smart phone my mom just had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica in the living room and a library across town. And she probably wouldn’t think of looking up the answer for me. I would probably have been simply told to “look it up,” resulting in at least an hour with my nose in the encyclopedia.
The other option would have been to make a trip to the library to get an answer to my question. I had to learn how the card catalog system worked and then actually find the book in the library, hoping that it wasn’t checked out. Then to read the book for the answer and so on.
So although I believe that I still had questions, I was perhaps stymied a bit by the process of finding the answers as compared to today’s kids.
The “Do rabbits hibernate?” question came while I was driving. Having to actually wait for the car to stop to get an answer was like having to wait an eternity for my kids. They had to know RIGHT NOW.
My oldest daughter grabbed my phone out of my purse, “I’ll just Google it.” Within about a minute, probably less, she had the answer. “No, they do not hibernate, but they do sleep more in the colder weather.”
Whew! We could get on with our day.
But since the answers are so readily available, the questions seem to multiply even faster.
Later that day and into the next, I was asked the following:
What is this made from? (Said while holding up a piece of Cookie Crisp cereal.)
What do dolphins eat?
What comes before zero? (At least I had an actual answer for that one, -1).
Is zillion really a number?
Which one is bigger, an alligator or a crocodile?
What is a brain made out of?
Why is it called a "tongue?"
I don’t know! I am not that smart! Or maybe my brain can only retain so much. Everything that is not relevant to my daily life has seemingly vanished or else been stored so far back in the depths of my grey matter that it’s no longer easily accessible.
Therefore, to combat my missing or lack of knowledge, I have taught all of my children how to use the Google bar in the Internet Explorer window — a technologically advanced card catalog search, if you will.
Now, when I am asked an imaginative yet unanswerable-by-me question, I can simply reply: “Can’t you just Google it?”
Why yes, they can!