Showing posts with label questions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label questions. Show all posts

How to answer a child’s questions about death

Right after sex and the alt-right movement, death is one of the most difficult matters to explain to a child. Here are some questions you may get and some sample answers in reference to a dead Uncle Bob. Remember, the answers you give may be different, so do not read these word for word to the child unless your dead person is also Uncle Bob.

1. Where’s Uncle Bob?
Uncle Bob is dead.

2. What is dead?
Dead is when you stop breathing.

3. I can hold my breath.
That is not a question, but I’ll answer it anyways. If you were to hold your breath for a long time you would die. Just like Uncle Bob.

4. Is Uncle Bob being punished by God?
No. Uncle Bob did not believe in God. Too bad for Bob, because God believed in him. So now Bob is in hell with the devil and eternal fires.

5. Why is Bob in that box?
Bob is in that plain box because he could not afford the metal one with the stainless steel. Bob was a bad planner and spent his money on booze and women. Daddy wishes he could have the plain box.

6. No, why is he in that box and not moving?

He’s dead. I thought we covered that in #1.

7. No, why is he out so we can see him?
Uncle Bob is being displayed so that people can say their last good-byes. In a little while, they will shut the box and bury the box in the ground.

8. Why do we put people in the ground?
Dead people can come back as zombies and it is best to lock them up and stick them as far as possible under the earth. Remember, only a head shot can take out a zombie.  Don’t try to light them on fire. You can also hit them with a guitar.

9. Mom said Uncle Bob was going to be cremated.
Oh shit. You are right. He’ll get stuffed in the flames, crackle, crackle, crackle, then they give us a handful of ashes, which we can pretend are his.

10. Was that last line a complete rip off from the Monty Python “Undertaker” sketch?
Yes. Your Uncle Bob loved Python. And scotch.

11. What are all these rocks with the writing on them?
Those are called tombstones. They are overpriced chunks of marble so that we can remember that we outlived Uncle Bob. You’ll note that Uncle Bob’s tombstone looks like everyone else’s and we are bound to spend countless hours searching around for it so that your mother can swap out the flowers.

12. Why is everyone crying?
Uncle Bob owed a lot of people a lot of money. This funeral ain’t cheap either.

13. You didn’t like Uncle Bob, did you?
It’s not polite to say bad things about the dead.

14. Will I die?
Someday, yes. But not for a long time. You’ll spend years of your life, trudging and plodding and scraping by. You’ll get married and have kids and retire. Then one day you'll ask yourself "why?" Then you'll impatiently wait for death to come to your doorstep.

15. Which is harder to explain: death, sex or neoconservatism?
Sex, then neoconservatism and then death. In that order.

16. Why do people have to die?
People have to die so that the cigarette companies can make more money. At least that's what I read somewhere.

17. Did Bonkers die?
No, Bonkers ran away. And let's stick with the Uncle Bob theme.

18. What if Uncle Bob wakes up and he is under ground?
Good question. Uncle Bob is really, really dead. But just in case, all bodies are buried with a cell phone and five free minutes. I hope this cemetery isn't outside of our calling area.

19. Are you going to try to stretch this out to an even twenty questions?

Dinner Table Questions

As a youth, I was a curious lad and asked many questions. Usually they were asked as the family gathered around the dinner table so that everyone could hear. For years we had an expanding table in our kitchen that was extended during the holidays. After a time, that table got beat down by four kids and needed replaced. Dad, attempting to get his WoodCraft badge, built a table out of two by fours, butcher block style. I distinctly remember the unevenness of the top and how hard it was to clean off with all the crumbs falling in the cracks. I assume mom hated that table.

As the kids got older and moved away, the two by four table ended up in the garage and a smaller table took up residency. My younger sister and I were the last two left and we would spend our evenings, after work or practice, at the table eating reheated leftovers. In mid-meal, one of us would inevitably begin to eat with our hands and the Barbarian Food Eating Contest would begin to see who could eat the messiest and loudest. We were 19 and 16 at the time.

Getting back on track...

Back when I was seven, while at the table with the family around Christmas time, I asked what was behind the door in the basement. I knew what was behind the door in the basement because my brother and I had been down there that morning looking at the hidden Christmas presents. The door did not have a lock, so dad put a nail in the top of the door frame and bent it down as a make shift security device. Steve stood on a paint can and turned the nail. We looked through the bags of stuff and put them back exactly as we found them, thinking mom and dad actually remembered how precisely the packages were stacked. As we left, Steve said, "Don't say anything to anyone about this." After I told everyone about this, we were told NOT to go in the room and that those presents could be returned. The next day when I went down the nail was not in the lock position and the room was empty. For the next week I feared the gifts had been returned. Christmas morning we learned that they had actually been re-hidden.

Years later I heard our teen babysitter Darla tell my brother a joke about 100 nuns and gasping and tittering. I didn't get the joke. One of the words didn't make sense in the context it was being used. I knew what the word was, but it didn't seem to fit. When I asked them, they said I wouldn't get it. At the full dinner table I got to ask, "What's a rubber?" I then got to tell them where I heard the word and Darla got to hear my mom and dad express their disappointment. Steve explained to me how to keep my mouth shut with a series of punches to the arm.

At our dinner table at home, I wait patiently for those questions to emerge. So far, Greg has only dared to talk about bodily functions and body parts, but I assume that one evening he will blow us away with a ringer.

The joke? It's still a good one:

Head Sister Maria called all 100 nuns in the convent together for a meeting.
"We have learned that a MAN broke into the convent last night."
99 nuns gasped and 1 nun tittered.
"And he left behind a rubber."
99 nuns gasped and 1 nun tittered.
"And the rubber was USED!"
99 nuns gasped and 1 nun tittered.
"And the rubber had a hole in it."
1 nun gasped and 99 nuns tittered.