I love questions that really make you wonder. Questions like, Is there an exception to the rule “there’s an exception to every rule”? Or one of my personal favorites, Why are there 5 syllables in the word “monosyllabic”?
The fact is, you don’t have to go searching for ‘em; they sometimes show up right at your feet. In fact, it happened just the other evening when a neighbor from down the street dropped by to chat with Mrs. MZM for a few minutes. She happened to bring her cute little son along with her, and as is typical whenever multiple adults and only one child get together, the tiniest member of the group became the center of attention. (How do they do that, anyway?)
C’mon, Push the Button
Just so you know, our house isn’t exactly child-proof, mind you, nor is it filled with fun stuff for babies to play with, either. However, unlike us adults, children have an innate ability to uncover the entertainment value in practically anything (up to and including dirt).
We usually keep an electric heating pad lying on the floor next to the couch. (What can I say? Sometimes it just, er, helps. If you know what I mean – great. If not – one day you will. Just sayin’.) Now, you and I both know this isn’t an appropriate plaything for a baby. So of course the little critter made a beeline right for it.
He grabbed the control pad and quickly discovered that pushing its buttons caused the little light to change colors in the following sequence: push #1 = yellow, push #2 = orange, push #3 = red, push #4 = off. (Please be assured – and you’ll have to trust me on this – all three of us were watching him closely and there was absolutely no danger involved.)
This impromptu “toy” seemed to keep him happy, but it was the “off” setting that threw him for a loop. Although the pretty glowing light fascinated him, every time it turned off his imagined solution was to simply push that button all the harder. In fact, I could see his hands and arms literally shaking with the effort to make that light go on, as if he could make it work by sheer strength. Eventually, of course, he’d let go – then push it again and voila! the whole sequence began all over again.
Now, when you think about it, wasn’t it silly of him to imagine that if a certain action (pushing a button) failed to produce an expected result (the light changed color), that doing that same action with even more effort (c’mon, push harder!) would magically make it work?
On the other hand… don’t we adults do the same thing? No, you say? Have you ever flipped a light switch, only to find the light didn’t work – then (and be honest here) flipped it at least a couple more times, just to be sure? Yep; thought so.
Well then why do you press harder on a TV remote control when you know the battery is dead? (Yes, you!) I mean, you know it’s dead, right? Then, um, why – ?
Yeah, sometimes we adults aren’t quite so smart as all that, are we?
Ah, questions, questions, questions! The fact is, life if chock full of imponderable questions, isn’t it? So, just to celebrate that fact, here’s a whole herd o’ questions for which I have never found a meaningful answer:
- Why do ballet dancers dance on their toes? Why doesn’t the company just hire taller dancers?
- Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible black cinder which no decent human being (nor most self-respecting animals, either) would ever eat?
- Speaking of bread – since all sandwich bread is square, why do they make round sandwich meats?
- What should you do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
- If laughter is the best medicine, what does it mean when someone dies laughing?
- If milk goes bad when not refrigerated, why doesn’t it go bad in the cow?
- If a train station is where a train stops, what happens at a work station?
- Does a lightning rod on top of a church demonstrate a lack of faith?
- Do sheep get static cling when they rub against one another? And why don’t they shrink when it rains?
- If most car accidents occur within five miles of home, why doesn’t everyone just move 10 miles away?
Needless to say, there are plenty more where these came from! However, I’ll leave you with this one final question:
- If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
By the way, if you happen to know the answer to any of these questions, then by all means feel free to chime in with it down there in the comment box. What the heck, if you feel particularly inspired, go ahead and make an answer up! I might even award extra points for the most creative answers.