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Archive for April, 2008

Wizards and Mammals (aka Lying to children)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Hilarious post on Metafilter:

Sometimes kids won’t believe the truth anyway. True story. I’m in a taxi with my niece, who is five, and my sister (her mother).

Niece: Were there dinosaurs when you were little?
Me: No the dinosaurs were all gone a long time before that.
Niece: Before Grandma was little even?
Me: Yes, even before Grandma was little.

[Pause as five year-old tries to imagine such a time]

Niece: What happened to them?
Me: (Glancing at my sister to determine where to go with this) Well, I don’t really know for sure, but a lot of people think that a big meteor came down and hit the Earth and made a lot of dust, so the sun couldn’t shine on the Earth and the plants couldn’t grow, so the dinosaurs didn’t have anything to eat . . . so . . . (again a glance at my sister).
Sister: (deciding to make it a teaching moment) So the dinosaurs were all gone and the small furry mammals took over, and after a very long time, the small furry mammals turned into YOU!

[Five year old is not buying this for a second.]

Niece: HOW did they turn into me?
Sister: Well, you know, you were my baby, right, but you’re a little different from me, right?
Niece: (Warily – is this a trap?) Mmmhmmmm?
Sister: Well their babies were a little different from them and THEIR babies were a little different and each little difference built up and finally the babies were like people.

[Another lengthy pause. The taxi driver is now curious about how this will end.]

Niece: Okay, maybe, but I think maybe a good wizard came and turned all the little furry mammals into people.
Sister: (Not missing a beat) Yes. Well, a lot of people think that . . . but I don’t think so.