Questions My Kids Have Asked That I Have No Idea How to Answer

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Scene Four

Mom, Dad, and two sons board subway car. They sit down directly across from an advertisement featuring a girl dressed like a naughty schoolgirl in a plaid skirt and a white shirt tied to reveal her midriff. Her ass is to the viewer, and she is looking over her shoulder while sucking on a lollipop. Just above her hip, a tattoo reads, “Billy 4-Eva.” Mom and Dad lock eyes and Mom mouths “WTF” over kids’ heads, except it is not abbreviated.

Six-year-old: (points at poster) I don’t know those words. What do they say?

Dad: It says “Tattoo Removal Services”

Six-year-old: A tattoo is a drawing on your skin?

Mom: Yes.

Three-year-old: Can I have a lollipop?

Dad: We have no lollipops.

Three-year-old: (whines) You need to buy me one.

Six-year-old: They are not going to buy you a lollipop. They NEVER BUY US LOLLIPOPS! (Regards Mom, then Dad, angrily for a moment, then returns gaze to advertisement.) So is this an ad to get a tattoo?

Mom: No. It’s an ad to get it taken off.

Six-year-old: But why would you want to get one on and then take it off?

Mom: Well, I’m just guessing, but maybe she doesn’t like Billy anymore. Maybe she doesn’t even know Billy anymore. She was young and she didn’t actually have any idea how her life would turn out. (Squints at poster. Wonders if this is meant to have been the client in the late nineties, around the time of Britney Spears’ debut album, …Baby One More Time — the client when she truly believed she and Billy would make it. Not pictured is the client fifteen years later, having to be careful about the bathing suit she wears to Mommy and Me swimming lessons. Realizes this is a more sophisticated advertisement than she originally thought.)

Six-year-old: Mom. Mom. Can you hear me?

Mom: (shakes head to pull herself out of reverie). I’m here, buddy. Just hit me with that question one more time. (Looks at Dad to see if he thinks she’s funny. He is gazing off into space, but at least not at the advertisement.)

Six-year-old: How do they get it off?

Mom: Lasers.

Six-year-old: (smiles as if in on amazing joke) You are kidding me.

Mom: I would not kid you about lasers. They can be used for so many different things.

Six-year-old: Let’s talk about all of them!



Scene Five

Mom is folding laundry in living room while son, age 3, plays with trains nearby.

Three-year-old: Why do we?

Mom: Why do we what?

Three-year-old: (eyes large and mournful) Why do we?

Mom: (stops folding laundry.) I don’t know, buddy. We just do. (Grows sad. Has to sit down.)


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