Apparently “four out of five parents have been left vexed by science questions asked by their children”. This doesn’t surprise me: children of a certain age are miniature Herr Flicks, constantly interrogating any handy adult on the bizarre workings of the world around them, unaware that in a few short years all they’ll care about is painting their entire lives black and living in a dustbin. (Not me, though. I was a nice boy.) And the grown-ups they ultimately become are generally too preoccupied with jobs, mortgages and the neverending questions of their own children to have any sense of wonder about the world.
Some do, though, and we call them scientists.
Oh, I’m exaggerating. But there’s a grain of truth there, I think. Many artists prattle on about the amazing world in which we live, but too often they go on to thank their invisible friend or friends for creating it (when the evidence suggests the truth is far more interesting). Or they’re so far up their own… arts they’re barely aware that anyone except themselves exist. I discount these people with a wave of my hand: bah!
The BBC Magazine article includes ten questions from children that flummoxed their parents. These questions are, you’ll note, not from the survey they’re reporting on. Some of them aren’t even science questions. But here they are, with Avaragado-approved answers to provide to any probing child.
1) Why don’t all the fish die when lightning hits the sea?
Because electric eels absorb all the energy. It’s like charging up their batteries. You remember on Doctor Who when the Doctor just redirected all his regeneration energy into his severed arm in a bucket? It’s a similar principle.
2) How much does the sky weigh?
As much as Rupert Murdoch thinks he can get away with. The BBC is much better value for money.
3) Why can’t people leave other people alone?
I’ll tell you when you’re older.
4) Why are birds not electrocuted when they land on electricity wires?
You have a thing about electricity, don’t you? Because all birds are made of rubber. They don’t actually fly, they just bounce where you can’t see them.
5) What is time?
About eleven o’clock. Shouldn’t you be in bed?
6) Why is the Moon sometimes out in the day and sometimes at night?
It’s on shift work like your Auntie Doreen.
7) Why did God let my kitten die?
THAT’S NOTHING. You should read the Old Testament, it’d give you nightmares.
8) Why do I like pink?
Because you’re conforming to the heteronormative hegemony of western civilisation (if a girl).
It’s just a phase (if a boy).
9) Why is water wet?
To alllow it to go through pipes easily. Dry water just clogs everything up.
10) Why does my best friend have two dads?
Have you been at the sherry again? How many fingers am I holding up?