Saturday, January 1, 2011

What the Hell Do I Know?

"A person soon learns how little he knows when a child begins to ask questions." - Richard L. Evans

Parents are supposed to know everything. At least, they're supposed to give the appearance they know everything. But we don't know everything. In fact, even the things we think we know, we don't.

Basic undeniable facts that have been ingrained into your skull since grade school, are now no longer undeniable. For example, if you would have asked me yesterday how many oceans there are on planet earth, I would have given you a fast, confident, inarguable response: four. I would have been wrong.

On New Year's Eve, as we counted down the final minutes and then seconds of 2010 with the creepy buzzkill that Dick Clark has become, something else captured my attention. Something more disturbing. A large felt map of the world hanging in the den of our friends' home. This map featured velcro labels for the major countries and bodies of water, including the oceans of the world, as a fun learning tool for kids. Then it caught my eye...

The New Discovery!
Stuck there on the wall all by itself, off Australia, was a lone label, surrounded by nothing but water. It was blue with white letters and read, "Southern Ocean." I was outraged. "What the hell is this? Where did this come from? This is supposed to be teaching kids geography and it's got made up oceans on it? This is preposterous!"

I dramatically tore the label off the map, threw it onto the floor, and announced that no map of the world in no home of my friends will have inaccuracies on it. No way. No how.

The aftermath of my outrage (photos courtesy of Andy Conrad)
 And then, just for the hell of it, I googled "Southern Ocean" on my Blackberry. I checked Wikipedia... and, it turns out... there is a Southern Ocean. Who knew? Not me.

To my defense, and according to the hyperlink above, geographers still apparently disagree on both the ocean's boundaries, and on its existence. That's right.. its existence. So I may still be right... according to some geographers. But the fact remains that I had no idea that there was even a debate, even a possibility of a fifth ocean. Thankfully, FAO Schwarz did.

In the not too distant future, Penelope will start bringing schoolwork home. What other mysteries lurk out there in the universe that I'm not aware of? I know Pluto is no longer a planet. But what else? I was a very good student, especially in math and science. But that was back when facts were facts. There were nine planets, four oceans, and zero championships in our lifetime for the Red Sox. Those days were glorious.

Now, I'm just confused.

You learn something new every day. Even when you're a parent. Especially when you're a parent.

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1 comment:

  1. Hey man its Keith Collishaw. How could you not know that Justin? I always referred to my fish tank as the southern ocean. Miss those good old days of hanging out you and I in that room. Man did we have fun. Phi Alpha buddy!


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