(scene opens over dish washing)
Beta: Mom, explain this groundhog thing to me.
Me: On the second of February, the groundhog comes out and it’s bright and sunny, he sees his shadow, gets scared, goes back to his burrow and its six more weeks of winter. If he comes out and it’s cloudy, no shadow and he just tools around doing his groundhogy thing, then winter is over and spring has arrived.
Beta: That doesn’t make sense. It should be the opposite. If the sun is out and the weather is nice, winter is over and winter is still here if it’s cold and cloudy.
Me: (mental sigh as she tries to find the words) Groundhog Day is a…poetic conceit? The cultural game we all play and pretend to go along with. No one actually believes it, we just go along with it.
Beta: But what happens if the groundhog says it’s spring?
Me: He never does! It is always six more week of winter because it is six weeks from February 2nd to the March 21st, which is when spring starts.
Beta: Then why do we do it?
Me: (starts up lecture of the cultural forerunners, Imbolc and Candlemas, then realize that no one is listening to her) Because humans are silly.
Beta: Oh, that makes sense.
(scene opens up in cluttered dining room, Alpha watching “The Great Escape” on the laptop)
Alpha: The guys without uniforms, who are they?
Husband: The gestapo.
Alpha: Were they military men?
Husband: They were not military men. They did not have the honor of a military man. They were civilians, a secret police, that worked with the Nazi party.
Alpha: Did they do bad things?
Husband: Very bad things.
Alpha: (thoughtful pause) Hitler was an ass.
(scene opens with Saturday homework extravaganza)
Alpha: (reading merit badge book!) Mom! There are aliens! This amendment gives the government the ability to make aliens US citizens!
Me: Anyone not born in this country is considered “alien”. Mexicans are aliens, Russians are aliens, the Irish are aliens.
Alpha: But we’re all human.
Me: The world is very tribal. Everyone identifies themselves by country and/or religion. That’s why we have war. People are from the “wrong” country or the “wrong” religion.
Alpha: (downcast) Humans are stupid.
Me: (with infinite gentleness) We’re not stupid. We’re incredibly shortsighted.
Just explained to Alpha that losing the Library of Alexandria was like having humanity start over at lvl 1 and re-learning/discovering all the skills/knowledges to be a boss. Not sure if I’m appalled at myself at the comparison or intensely gratified how horrified Alpha was at the loss of the Library.
(Scene opens at grade school touring 6th grade country projects)
Me: (looking over a display on Japan) Nice work, Alpha
Alpha: They have all sorts of festivals too.
Me: Oh yeah, they have the Cherry Blossom one, one for a full moon, one for kids, probably one for incense, one for the royal family.
Alpha’s Friend: They also have one for spring that has…. (trails off)
Me: They have several for spring. Or are you talking about the one where they carry the bier with a….(realizes she’s about to say “oversized penis” to a 6th grader on school property)
Alpha’s Friend: Yeah. That one.
Alpha: You know about that one mom? How do you know about that one?
Me: I know lots of things. But yes, they have that “other” spring festival too.