December 17, 2010

The why game

I'm off this weekend to graduate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, to finalize the process of getting my PhD.  It's been a little over four years now.  It sure doesn't seem that way sometimes - those years seemed to zip by.  I went from 4 cats to 5 in that time, and got both the dogs in the last year and a half.  Heather and I moved a total of 4 times, and she got her associate's degree in cardiac ultrasound.  Lots of ups and downs.

I keep getting asked by everyone when they should start calling me Dr. Vic.  I didn't get into this to get the added bonus of having a tag before my name (although if it gets me better seats at restaurants I might try), it was more because I wanted to pursue my curiosity.  I'm always asking questions and annoying the people who are in charge of teaching me.  I remember as a kid hearing a story about Abraham Lincoln (I grew up in Springfield, IL).  As a child he was sent off to school in Kentucky or Indiana or wherever he was growing up (I didn't exactly pay as much attention to the details of Lincoln's young life, despite my curiosity).  He came home one day upset because his teachers told him he was addled, he asked too many questions.  His mom wrote the teacher a letter saying he wouldn't be coming back, that any teacher who felt that asking questions was a problem shouldn't be teaching her kid.  I liked that.  Probably to the chagrin of some of my teachers.

My niece and nephews like to play the 'why' game.  It's fun as a kid.  The rules are simple: you are only allowed to respond to any answer from a parent/teacher with another question.  You can probably guess what the allowed word is: why? You win the game when you get the parent to throw up their arms in defeat and say 'Quit asking me questions!'  Extra points are scored for the level of annoyance you cause.  This is most effectively achieved by asking the question 'why' with a slight whining tone.

I do not intend to cast any aspersions on anyone else in my family, but I seem to be the only one who can play the 'why' game effectively.  Maybe I know a lot of useless info, but I can play scores of rounds of the 'why' game until either the kids give up or I do.  The kids give up when I give them an explanation they can't wiggle their way around, or when I run out of ideas and answer with the easiest filibuster of the game.


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