WhyI wake up at 7:30 a.m. and my mom walks into the bedroom.

The first words out of her mouth are: “Is Dad in the bathroom?”

From the confusion inherent to early mornings matched with the weirdness of my dream about Danny Glover singing me the Hora, I respond: “Heh?”

In my family, that constitutes a question type C.

Mom leaves. Her work here is done.

There are three sorts of questions to ask in my family.

A. A question so random that the chances of your companion having a prepared answer are equal to those of him having a scorpion in his wallet.

B. A question that your companion has no interest in answering.

C. A question that your companion has no possible ability to answer.

This morning interaction with my mom is a question C. I didn’t handle it well.

Having been a member of my family for 37.6 years, since the circus dropped me off on the porch in Langhorne for being too unwilling to get fired out of cannons, I have developed a system for dealing with these types of questions.

A. Random Question: There is one way to deal with this line of questioning: counter with another random question.

Dad: “So, what are your three favorite movies about the Spanish-American War?”

Me: “If you had to lick four bugs to win $1 million, which bugs would you choose?”

Stalemate. This method requires preparation.

B. Question you have no interest in answering. This happens constantly in my family and always involves someone’s marital/relationship status, why their relationship status is what it is or how much alcohol someone consumes on a daily basis. The best way to deal with this is to answer in a ridiculous manner and keep a straight face. This confuses the questioner and gives you an opportunity to divert the subject to food, which is the subject of ultimate respect in my family.

Mom: “What happened to that girl you were dating?”

Me: “The last one? Uh, she was eaten by a pack of rabid honey badgers.”

Mom: “No, not the last one, the one before that?”

Me: “She was carried away by a band of angry midgets at a Pink Floyd concert.”

Mom: “Does Collin have a girlfriend now?”

Me: “No.”

Mom: “So he’s single?”

Me: “No.”

Mom: “What do you mean?”

Me: “He’s gay now.”

Mom: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah, do you want to eat Chinese for lunch?”

Mom: “Ok…”

Ignoring the confused look on the interrogator’s face is an imperative tactic, as is pursuing the gastronomical discussion.

C. Question that is impossible to answer. This one almost always involves the physical whereabouts of another person or any number of questions about complete strangers. The only way to handle this is to sing. Warning: Do not try to answer with anything in hopes of ending the line of questioning. It does not work.

“Is that guy German?”

“No, he’s Finnish.”

“How do you know? Is it his shoes? Are those shoes Finnish?”

As observed, the questioned party made the mistake of trying to truncate further questions by answering the one simple question given him. This, however, led to many more questions, all of which are impossible for him to answer.

“Is that guy German?”

“When the moon is in the second star and Jupiter aligns with Mars…”


This has been a short educational essay brought to you by children of other people. Any further educational material will be appreciated.

NB: No parents were harmed in the writing of this blog.

  1. #1 by Andy on April 30, 2012 - 4:58 pm

    Does the insect have to be living? I’ve heard toasted grasshoppers are actually pretty tasty.

    (and by the way, your captcha generator produces the weirdest combinations of words)

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