Don't Ask--She Doesn't Know, Either

Anne Beatts is a writer who lives in Hollywood

People say kids are always asking questions. But kids only ask the easy questions, like "Why is the sky blue?" or "Are we nearly there yet?" (Everybody knows the answers are "Because" and "We'll be there when we get there.") And if the kids try to trip you up by asking anything you don't have the answer to, like why Daddy can't marry the kindergarten teacher instead of Mommy or whether your next-door neighbors are getting a divorce, you can always tell them to look it up on the Internet.

True, the answer to whether your neighbors are getting a divorce may not be in the Internet, unless you live next door to Roseanne, but the kids will probably get so distracted by all those cyber-goodies that they'll end up in one of the risque chat rooms the ACLU is so keen on protecting, and at the very least you'll have bought yourself some time.


It's the grown-ups who ask the really tough questions, the ones that put you on the spot because you have to answer them right then and there, like "Do you still love me as much as you used to?" or "Are you picking that scab again?" (The answers are "More" and "Who, me?")

Then there are those other questions, the ones you ask yourself endlessly over and over in the wee small hours of the morning, like "How come I didn't see that post when I was backing out of the parking lot?" I've got my share of those, believe me, but the things that keep me up at night tend to be even more ephemeral. Words race round and round in my head like caged gerbils: "tiramisu" or "velociraptor."

After a while they form themselves into sentences and lumber around my brain like slow-moving big rigs on an endless cloverleaf. It's not a dark night of the soul, exactly. More like a cloudy Sunday afternoon of the soul when everybody else is watching the Super Bowl or is out of town for the weekend.


Maybe some of these questions have occurred to you, maybe not. But I'm going to share them with you anyway. Think about them. Tonight. After all, if I can't sleep, why should you?

Do you think anybody ever tried eating the other parts of the frog?

Why are flesh-colored Band-Aids always the color of somebody else's flesh?

How does night cream know it's night?

Why do you never see any falling rocks in a falling-rock zone?

If every cloud has a silver lining, does that mean that every silver lining has a cloud?

Why do people in small towns have big hair?

Are nuns allowed to use tampons?

If we all became what we wanted to be when we grew up, would we be living in a world full of nothing but cowboys, firemen and ballerinas?

If the stuff they make Snapple out of is so great, why do they have to make it into Snapple?

If all we found were their bones, how do we know what color the dinosaurs were?

Is God religious?

If learning is supposed to be fun, why are "learning experiences" always so painful?

How come wolves mate for life when most humans can't?

What about Dutch elm disease? Is it the disease that's Dutch, or the elms?

If dog food is for food for dogs, and cat food is food for cats, what is cheese food?

What do swans have to do with toilet paper?

If violence on TV makes people more violent, why doesn't comedy on TV make them funnier?

If the Chinese had invented peas and carrots, would they have called them "thousand flavor vegetable"?

If it takes 100 million sperm to find one egg, why are women surprised when men refuse to ask for directions?

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