Monday, November 14, 2005

In all seriousness, have you ever wondered if you're real? Have you ever had a moment when you were truly honest with yourself and wondered if you were merely a figment of someone else's imagination?

Me either.

My six year old daughter, however, is very concerned by it. She's worried that she's just a picture or a movie or an image created by another person. She's been asking how she can know she's real and not just a picture drawn by someone else.

Um... Apparently I did not pay enough attention during Lamaze classes because I am totally unprepared for these questions. I remember birthing videos, and putting diapers on a dolly, and instructions to not shake the baby. I have no recollection of the lesson on Raising Your Postmodern Child.

Thankfully these questions have all been lobbed at my wife, who is probably better equipped to handle philosophical crises than I am. I'm more adept at handling the type of crisis where the solution is inscrutable logic, or a fistful of chocolate, or maybe a fart joke. We all play to our strengths in this family.

My daughter voiced these concerns after several days of complaining that she felt something was missing from her life.

I know what's missing from your life, babe. BEING A SIX YEAR OLD! That's what's missing. No fair having existential angst at six. Save that crap for college or at least your sullen teenage years. When we baby-proofed the house we put the cleaning fluids and the knives out of reach, but apparently we left the Sartre within easy grasp. (Note: I've never read Sartre. Does my reference work?)

My wife asked her what would make her feel more real. My daughter suggested that cleaning the earth would be satisfying. Or maybe playing with friends.

Those aren't bad answers. I would have been slightly more relieved if she had merely asked for some candy or maybe extra TV time, but I can settle for "playing with friends". Additionally, if she does really clean the earth, that's a bonus for us all.

She's a good kid.


David said...

Oh I have been there. Actually, I had no problems believing that I was real... it was everyone else that I doubted. Maybe the world is staged for my benefit. Kind of like that movie, The Truman Show.

Mike said...

David, I think that paranoia makes WAY more sense than the "Am I real?" version. I know I'm real. I sure as hell can't speak for the authenticity of the rest of you (except you David, of course. You're totally real).

D said...

It gets better as they get older! Just wait!

Thanks for your info on my blog...I am going to check it out...and I can definitely see how that may become another addiction much like blogging...and running...and coffee...

Mike said...

You are welcome, DGC. Snappy nickname.