5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About World Wonders, Holiday Traditions and Foul Language

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

I’ve got to do better at this, y’all.

These girls ask great questions. Sometimes, though, it’s not at the most opportune time. Like, in the waning moments of a tense NFL playoff game. Or, while the grill is in full flame. Or, I’ve got both hands on a gorgeous slice of pizza.

I try to jot them down on anything I can get my hands on, but I’m looking at a pile next to my laptop that includes a 2012 Carolina Panthers media guide, a cardboard box of crap I cleaned out from my car on Saturday, and an ESPN the Magazine with a jinxy cover of Colin Kaepernick.

Somewhere among that mess is a sliver of paper with three or four “Go Ask Daddy” questions scrawled on it.

I try to take notes in my phone, but it’s not a smart phone. It’s really a dumb phone, not because it’s just a throwback 2004-looking flip jobbie, but because I always forget I have the note feature in there when a great question is born and I’m just not ready.

It’s like those biblical stories in which a gospel writer tells of some great miracle Jesus performed, then passively mentions “and He performed many more miracles such as this,” but without the play-by-play. Is anyone else bummed we don’t have more Jesus play-by-play available? C’mon, Luke.

Let’s learn a little about one of the Seven Wonders of the World. No, not Jennifer Lawrence. We’re talking about the Great Wall of China.

It is one of them, isn’t it?

1. How long is the Great Wall of China?

I suddenly have a craving for sesame chicken and wonton noodles.

It’s hard to say how long the wall is. Many different empires contributed. It’s like a hall of fame of Chinese dynasties and brick layers. Some empires went big, dropping brick way up in the mountains, in the desert, in grasslands … It has 7,062 lookout towers and 3,357 wall platforms, though.

Officially, it’s 5,500 miles from Hushan to Jiayuguan Pass. Which is how long it feels like Kansas is when you drive through it.

2. Is there a kids’ jail?

If it gets you to behave in school, then, yes, there is a kids’ jail.

They call them “correction homes” or “juvenile detention,” but it’s the same concept: You do time for crime committed. Grace, I’ve heard you talk about “Juvee,” which is kind of badass, coming from a charter-school kid. More than 70,000 kids are in juvenile jails in the U.S.

That’s incredible.

They’re in for doing things that your occasional card-turning day in school can’t even touch.

3. Why do we say “Merry” Christmas?

It actually has nothing to do with Jesus’ mom. (Am I the only one who wondered that?)

It’s your good old Olde English influence surviving the generations. Now, we can’t change it, because of all those plastic and inflatable reindeer and snowmen we have stored with “Merry Christmas” printed on them. I suppose it would sound stupid to say “Happy Christmas and Happy New Year.”

Probably an English major edited that phrase in for the sake of prose.

I realize it’s almost Valentine’s day that I’m getting around to this one. You kids ask lots of questions. Consider it early for Christmas 2013, not late for Christmas 2012.

4. Do they do volcano drills in Hawaii?

Liberals probably think this is a racist question.

Wait, Hawaiians are Americans. Never mind. And, they do have escape routes like we do for hurricanes. I wonder what the signs look like. The name of the game is getting to high ground. Oh, and avoiding the blazing-hot ash and scalding geysers of molten lava. I’ll take the hurricanes.

When there’s a volcano threat, I imagine they do like we do when there’s a wisp of a threat of snow: They load up on food and water, and probably stuff to make waffles. I think I’ll get stuff to make waffles today. Just in case of a volcano.

Are there bad words in the dictionary?

No. And if I see you perusing the dictionary and giggling when we’re not even playing Scrabble, I’ll know what you’re up to.

Actually, they’re in there. It’s not called a “good word” dictionary, after all. There’s a market for just the bad stuff, though. Kind of like when Lucky Charms put out that all-marshmallow cereal (or did I just dream that?) There’s a list-of-badwords Web site so extensive I couldn’t bring myself to link to it.

There was stuff in there even Republicans would find offensive.

It didn’t include anything in Chinese, although, I think, the words listed end to end would definitely give the Great Wall a run for its money.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.


  1. You are a good daddy. And, in Hawaii, when a volcano erupts? People scream and then it smells like KFC. True story. Don’t tell the girls.

    1. I’m not a good daddy, because I told the younger two what you said. Not even the teenager, the 8 and 12 year old. We’ll see how well they sleep tonight.

      Strangely, now I’d like a bucket of chicken.

  2. Thanks! My first winter seasonal greeting and it even looks like Christmas outside. It’s been heavily snowing for almost 36 hours straight! Every December, I get at least 2 cards from Hubby’s family in Ireland and often printed inside (i.e., not hand-written) – “Happy Christmas and Happy New Year” or if there’s a verse, the signatory writes “Happy Christmas”. It’s weird, but true! 🙂

    1. Hey, I’m glad to provide this service to even my northerly friends. I wish it looked like winter here. Instead, it’s cold enough to turn your nose blue, but not cold enough for snow.

      Anyway …

      Oh, the Irish. God love ’em.

  3. letizia says:

    Now I’m always going to think of “Mary” Christmas! That never crossed my mind before; you are too funny 🙂

    1. I hope you make the spelling mistake on your Christmas cards this year and think of me.

      1. letizia says:

        If I do, I will definitely think of/blame you 🙂

  4. Rosey says:

    I am the only person alive, I’m sure of it, who thinks it’s cool to get an S.I. cover, and not a jinx. 🙂

    1. Now that you mention it, I’ve never been on an S.I. cover, and I’m anything but jinxed.

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