#AtoZChallenge: Q is for Questions from Kids

photo credit: Cue the music because STAR WARS is back! via photopin (license)

This A to Z Challenge has proven quite challenging up around here.

QIt’s what happens when you toss in a load of high school soccer matches and club practice and, oh, an assignment at work that could make or break us. No pressure. I can handle it. It’s just words. In fact, I armed myself with a two-liter of Diet Mountain Dew and commenced writing.

Then fell asleep sitting up at the couch minutes later.

I have a great guest post to share and other stuff to write and letters to catch up with. The universe, though, saw fit to make this the day I caught up, a Friday, for the letter Q. For “questions from my girls.”

Go Ask Daddy began years ago as an attempt to answer my girls’ questions. It’s nearly 400 strong, with doozies yet unanswered, such as:

GAD GRAPHICWho were the people made of clay? What does schmuck mean? What’s the last stage before a tadpole becomes a frog? What happens if you use up all your substitutions in a soccer match? Could you wear short-shorts and leggings to school together?

Does ‘sub’ mean below? Don’t you have to take off your sunglasses when you show your passport? Is this your core? Is that a saxophone playing in the song What the Man Says?  Do they pinky promise in China? Could you get in trouble for bribing a cop?

What’s the alcoholic drink with the cherry? Do you wear stripes with plaid? Do you still do Zumba? What are gigabytes? Where did Cam Newton go to college? What does ‘first down’ mean? Does the U.S. Women’s national soccer team have black uniforms? What is the B for in World B. Free?  

Clearly I could use another Diet Mountain Dew.

1. Should I put this in the trash or recycling?

If you’re referring to that empty bottle of Diet Mountain Dew hanging from my lip … bottle in recycling. Dude attached to the lip in trash.

[Check the Earth911.com recycling directory]

It’s not as easy to determine just by the recycling symbol and number inside. Whenever you have a recyclable and there aren’t recycling bins around, try your best not to throw it away. “It’s just one bottle” doesn’t cut it.

Here are three items you think would be responsible to recycle, but you cause headaches if you try:

SHREDDED PAPER | Good white paper has long fibers, which makes it even more recyclable – unless you shred it. A good sheet of white paper could reincarnate five or six times. You cut that to zero when you try to recycle shredded paper.

PIZZA BOXES | A nice cardboard pizza box qualifies as utterly recyclable. It’s the greasy pizza parts that render it useless in the recycling center. That’s where paper’s mixed with water to make slurry.

Your Pizza Hut meat lovers pizza leaves a slick of grease that really gums up the works.

PLASTIC BAGS | Just one in the bin won’t hurt, right? One paper bag can strangle a seagull or suffocate a sea lion. It can also get tangled in the machinery like it does your car’s front axle if you happened to run one over on the highway.

Then crews have to come in and clean the mess.

2. Do fish have noses?

photo credit: Angler Fish Mask: hello! via photopin (license)

Ever tried to sniff something underwater?

Don’t. It’s called drowning. Fish have noses; but they’re not connected to their mouths, or involved at all in respiration.

Fish draw water in through one or two sets of nostrils into a nasal cavity. Its olfactory epithelium detects molecules in dissolved water. They’re pretty good at picking up even the slightest molecular presence. They check molecules to find everything from food to friends to enemies to lovers.

I wonder how they tell the difference.

3. Could a Jedi use The Force on himself?

To play Jedi mind tricks on himself? Only if he creates a YouTube channel for that shit.

I found many instances in which Jedi on the dark side used the Force to heal themselves. (Sith Lord Darth Krayt didn’t have to go to the dark side to heal himself from death. That’s the ultimate.) Darth Vader called on Force healing through angry, frustrated meditation.

That’s a tough feat. I tried yoga angry once, and it didn’t work.

Darth Vader could temporarily turn off his hyperbolic chamber and life-support suit. He could channel healing through the dark side, but it could never have lasting effects. Think about how many Jedi have artificial limbs or wacky-ass suits or prosthetics to worry about.

If they could heal themselves, don’t you think they would?

4. Why are girl pockets not deep?

I suffer from survivalist grief or some relative equivalent.

Ever seen a guy’s pockets? We can fit our mega smartphones, wallet, keys, sunglasses, bottle of Coke Zero (we’re talking two-liter), car charger, baseball, Sharpie, and a Dachshund/English bulldog mix in our cargo shorts. And that’s just the two side pockets.

Men’s clothes are exceedingly utilitarian, while women’s clothes, to me, seem more for aesthetics. This is why men’s dress shoes feel like house slippers; women’s heels like Guantanamo Bay interrogation parting gifts. You could always borrow a pair of our cargos!

5. What is it called when they chop off someone’s hand?

A morbid one to end the night.

The MacMillan Dictionary has a list of terms to use to “remove body parts and organs.” (Because what’s more embarrassing than using the term disembowel when you REALLY mean circumsize?)

The word you’re looking for: Mutilate. That means to damage a body permanently but cutting it or removing part of it.

Make sure it goes in the right bin, though.

hands quote.jpg


  1. Lyn says:

    LOL I’m almost OCD when it comes to recycling. When it comes to paper I’ve shredded (bank statements, assignment letters from FBI/CIA ) I just take that to the local pet shop to be used as bedding for the animal pens. They always have signs up asking for clean shredded paper.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s the only good approach, Lyn, because what if we toss something that could be recycled? It’s like a batting average. You can’t ever erase the strikeouts, so you hope for the highest percentage you can manage.

      Bedding’s a great way to recycle that shredded stuff, too. I love when people get clever about how they recycle.

  2. Nikki says:

    It’s late and I should be sleeping but this all cycled round in my head and here’s where I arrived: Recycle vs. Trash-this can be applied to so many other areas of my life. There are people who were put out with the trash that might have had a second life in another role and vice versa. Jedi/Force-I think we all use the force on ourselves, every single day. It’s what gets me out of bed, makes me head to work when I’d rather have a day at home building pillow forts and eating ice cream with a good friend. Healing happens when we let others use the Force on us. Mutilation: it happens. Hearts are cut out, people are excised from lives, memories are butchered. I like to think that’s why transplanting began-to heal those voids, fill them up with something better, create something from nothing.
    Can you remind me to read your posts AFTER I sleep instead of before? As always, thought provoking Mister Eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What’s cool is that I pick these questions at random from the list, but there’s always some cosmic chain that binds them all.

      I always think of how the Falcons traded Brett Favre because they didn’t think he’d be much. And look how that turned out.

      Some of the best things in life are tossed away. They can find redemption – but there’s also that period that they remain in the can and have to wonder about their own destiny for a while.

      First thing in the morning is probably best for the posts, especially if there’s a hearty breakfast nearby, Nikki. I’m grateful you’ve found your way here.

  3. ksbeth says:

    life is all about the questions – both answered and not –

  4. Lulu says:

    The world of recycling was pretty much a mystery to me. It was like a black hole into which my bottles and boxes disappeared after I dropped them in the bin. Thanks for the really helpful info. Tell your girls not to worry too much about little pockets. We get to make up for it with big-ass handbags. Mine doubles as my briefcase during the week and carry on when I travel and contains everything from emergency rations to a liter of water to a literal survival manual (DBT skills and my meal plan), plus two journals, a couple books, pens/pencils/highlighters, the basic necessities like Chapstick-tissues-hand sanitizer, sunglasses, and an EpiPen.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There’s so much going on at recycling centers. I try to remember to take caps off bottles, but I’m awful about not rinsing them out.

      The big-ass handbag might be a curse, too. I have a humongous backpack that has so many pockets that I lose stuff *in* it.

      You should do a post that dissects your bag. I did one, once.

  5. Eric says:

    Not only do we recycle paper, plastic, and tin cans we take our bottle to recycling depot to get our nickel’s worth. We also compost. Thank you so much for inspiring me to do the question thing too. Not only is it fun to write about their questions and to answer them but it has seriously encouraged them to ask more. Especially since they discovered I put them on the blog. I’ve never thought of a Jedi using the force on himself. If they could, couldn’t they make themselves fly?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nice work, Eric. We tried to compost, but marsupial mammals used it as a buffet.

      Glad the question thing works out for you. I’m grateful the questions don’t ever cease.

      Jedi flying is a point of contention in forums, I’ve found. Some feel a flying Jedi would be too much. Others realize how much power it would take to keep yourself afloat, and how dangerous that’d be. Remember the concentration it took Yoda to pull Luke’s X-wing out of the swamp on Dagobah.

  6. Kisma says:

    Our recycling is crazy while our neighbors trash is out of control! It’s free, why not recycle?

    Happy Friday Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’re the balance of the universe there, Tiff. I would think all my fellow Coloradans would recycle. Happy Friday to you, too.

  7. cricketmuse says:

    My hubs has a standard outfit that I’m jealous of as it always looks both casual and crisp for just about any occasion–no weddings though. He tosses on his khaki cargo shorts with one of his numerous polo three button shirts and his ready. I deliberate on my outfits endlessly.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We dudes can live like cartoon characters, basically. Ready to roll. I don’t even worry about colors matching (although maybe I should.) So long as it’s clean.


      1. cricketmuse says:

        It’s a guy thing, as the hubs likes to say, when it comes to matching.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        We live in a mismatched, yet colorful world. Today, i’m wearing my lucky Spider-man socks to our soccer game. Pulled up high and proud.

      3. cricketmuse says:

        Socks do define a person.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        As a man with Spider-man, Stormtrooper and football-field socks in his drawer – I like that notion.

  8. encountered your blog on AtoZ wandering. We recycle. Before our council introduced a recycling bin that took everything we recycled aluminium cans (our Little A’s collected them) and glass (Bottle bank for Little A’s) and there was a paper recycling place in town (didn’t know about shredded paper… I’ve put it in recycle in the past. Might put it on the garden instead. Heard it can be part of composting) We have a compost bin AND a dog so that takes care of most food related scraps. Now that we have the recycle bin…. it all goes in there. I even wash the pet food tins… that was a bigger for me and the family but we are pretty well trained now.

    I love the as yet unanswered questions… my kids are 21-31 now so the day of seeing me as the font of all wisdom is long past. Now I ask them all the questions… how do I reprogram my phone, what happened to that last blog post, when are you coming home. I do expect an amazing growth in wisdom when I eventually become a grandma. I remember that me having a baby made my mum develop deep and abiding wisdom

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you stopped by, Philipa! I remember the days of collecting aluminum cans and taking them to the recycling center, as a kid.

      some of those questions have been in for years, and some are new. I pick them at random, and often, they seem to have an appropriate tie to the day they’re answered.

      Like, recycling and Earth Day.

      Love the switch in wisdom sharing. And that transformation of how they see us parents when our kids become kids? I heard it’s real. Very real.

  9. Thumbs up on this Earth Day post that covers the gamut from recycling to Jedi powers to those ever-expanding pockets that defy the laws of physics. It’s always a delight to see what questions are populating the Coach Daddy Universe.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It all cosmically came together, didn’t it? Or was it comedically? great to see you here, Deborah, and I can’t wait to get to the unanswered questions.

  10. zannie a-z says:

    well, that list of questions in the pending tray made me laugh….have you reneamed yourself as wikipedia?
    Zannie A-Z Hopper

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      See, Wikipedia gets crowd-sourcing, at least. These questions are mine to share alone! Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Red says:

    Where do you get your Star Wars (Dark side healing) information? I’ve watched the true canon (Episodes 1-7) including all extras, but I know there are off-shoots.

    I’m wracking my brain to think of when Darth Vader tried to heal anyone…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was on the Star Wars wiki. It cited Darth Vader self-healing, but the extent was limited: He was able to breathe without his apparatus and suit.

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