Everyone knows that boys ask a billion questions. They ask questions and then ask followup questions before you can even answer the first question. Some questions are reasonable, many ridiculous. But the craziest of boy questions are what I like to call the “hypothetical impossibilities.”
These are questions that are impossible to answer because they represent the most preposterous ideas boys are dreaming up in their minds, probably during spelling tests. But you cannot ignore them. Boys are demanding an answer. Some examples of hypothetical impossibilities I have been asked:
- What if the strongest man ever fought against a lion do you think he could beat a lion?
- In every minute during all day long is there always at least one person in the world drinking Sprite?
- Could the fastest car in the whole world go 3000 miles in one second?
Perhaps this is the mind of an engineer or statistician showing up early, who knows. But I doubt it. A more likely scenario is that boys just want to explore the limits of what can and cannot be done, and find out if some dude, somewhere in the entire history of mankind, was able to do it or not.
As boys grow older and take on specific interests, the hypothetical impossibility questions become more focused. Connor is eight and obsessed with all things sports. I think for his ninth birthday he’s gonna get a giant encyclopedia full of sports records, because I’m tired of trying to explain it all. Recent inquiries:
- What if every single baseball team in the playoffs hit four home runs in every single inning, what would happen?
- Did Michael Jordan ever make a thousand shots in one game against a really bad team, like the worst team ever in the NBA?
- Can the fastest guy ever in the whole world run a hundred miles an hour?
Do not fall for the temptation to attempt to offer logical explanations to these inquiries. Boys will not appreciate your effort. Just go with a simple yes or no answer, and wait for the next absurd question. You’ll save yourself a lot of energy. Once Connor asked me “If a giant fire truck crashed into a guy riding on a motorcycle, that would be pretty bad, wouldn’t it?” As we continued to drive, I helpfully bestowed a dose of fatherly wisdom upon him, explaining the dangers of motorcycles, design factors that make certain cars safer, and the benefits of seat belts and helmets.
Long pause as he considered this information…
“But if the guy crash landed in somebody’s yard and there was a trampoline for him to land on, do you think he’d probably be okay?”
I rest my case.