The day: it got away from me.
Today, the kids were home from school. It’s the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but they’re still here. Who authorized this?
This means that today I am the Human Source of All Knowledge (HSAK). Like the interwebs, only easier to use. Just ask Mom a question and the secrets of the universe will be revealed to you. At least, that’s the expectation. You would think, with some fantastically bad answers, that perhaps the questioners would give up and play Indiana Jones Lego Adventures 2. I tried that, no luck. So the questions continued.
Mighty Mite (6): “What color exactly is Martin Luther King Jr.’s skin?”
HSAK: “Didn’t you see pictures of him in school?”
MM: “Yeah, but they’re all black and white.”
HSAK: “Well, he’s black. But not really black, kinda a dark brownish color, but people call it black. People come in a range of colors, from very pale to very dark, and everything in between. Sometimes black people are really brown, but we don’t call them brown, because that sometimes means a different color. And then there’s Asian skin, which isn’t really brown either.”
MM: “So, what color exactly is Martin Luther King Jr.’s skin?”
HSAK: “I don’t know.”
Why do we have such a horrible inability to describe people’s skin, except in colors ordinary (black, brown, white) or food-related (cappuchino, latte, cream)? And how do you describe people of color’s skin without sounding idiotic, or worse, racist? This is a struggle for most writers, I think, and having characters of color in my stories, I’ve wrestled with it even before I failed, utterly, to answer my six-year-old’s question. I’ve seen a few postings about this, most lately at the lovely yet wacky Le Rejectionist blog.
Worm Burner(8): “What happens if you have a different number of neutrons and protons in an atom?”
HSAK: “Well, the neutrons and protons don’t have to balance. But if they don’t, it’s unstable and you have emissions, like nuclear radiation. If the protons aren’t the same as the electrons, then you have a positive or negatively charged atom.”
WB: “How many atoms can you put together to make a molecule?”
HSAK: “Well, you can put together as many, in theory, as you’d like. You can make a string of carbon atoms together and make it really long. Long strings of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms are called organic molecules, and they can get quite large and complicated. Living things are made out of organic molecules, and living things are usually more complicated than dead things.”
WB: “In theory, which would be harder to blow up: a regular rock, or a rock made all from one molecule?”
HSAK: “A rock all from one molecule, because the forces that hold a molecule together are stronger . . . “
When do they go back to school?