jeudi, septembre 15, 2005

What Would You Have Answered?

A Prelude to What I Want to Ask You

Yesterday, my daughter (a.k.a. "TinyE") and I went to dinner for her favorite meal - "chips and cheese." You may know them as nachos. She likes to get her nachos at Boca Chica's Taco House and within that, she prefers the Maplewood location to the St. Paul location (better gumball machines). I prefer St. Paul because of the mural.

At the restaurant, I scolded a group of young men (they were 12-14 years old) after they came in, one young man said to another young man in his group "ask the bitch can we get four waters." I said, "excuse me, what did you just say?" And then I went on to lecture them from there (my wife says I'm a lecturer). It all left your humble lecturer feeling very, very old. I think I got a couple of eye rolls and a couple of threatening glances, and I'm sure those young men are totally done with misogyny and will never say the word "bitch" again.

Later, while TinyE and I were eating (I had the veggie taco burrito natch), a young woman (18 or 19) sitting in a group of three other 18 or 19 year-old women (why do the young peoples travel in fours?) left to purge her dinner and spoke candidly with her friends (who were concerned and who scolded her - they all thought she had stopped) about what she'd done.

It made me very sad, and because everything is about me all the time, it also made me think a lot about what I could do as a father to help my daughter avoid cutting or eating disorders or drugs or STDs, or a stunting letter from the Ivy Leagues denying her admission.

And just as I'm thinking of all that, my four year-old daughter, who, by the way is only four, says to me (and she's age four mind you) "those girls are prettier than me." Ladies and gentlemen, she's only four years old.

I lectured her. It all comes very fast dear readers, it all comes very fast.

End of prelude.

What I Want to Ask You

But that's all a prelude to what I want to ask you.

On the way home, my daughter asked me:

"Why do people get married?"

My question to you is: What would you have answered?

I'll tell you what I answered tomorrow. For now, here are some answers I ruled out:

1. Because people are illogical and do strange things.

2. For financial expediency...

3. Well now there's dowery and property transfer and estate laws and well, I guess romance too...

4. Everyone sing: "...the bible tells [them] so..."

5. Because from suffering comes strength, and because that which does not kill you...

6. Because abstinence is a virtue.

7. Human beings, all of us and each of us, are creatures of habit and tradition...

You understand my dilemma, right? As a super-progressive, hyper-liberal, uber-Democrat, commie-socialist-pinko, I absolutely will not go to the "well honey, a man and a woman fall in love and they decide that they want to have kids" route. Non-married folks have kids, and married folks don't have kids. Oh and by the way, marriage should not be limited to a man and a woman (IMHO). Power to the people with no delay.

Anyway, I'll ask you again...what would you have answered?

I'll tell you my answer tomorrow (and you can critique it).