The questions that really matter

A world is a very large, yet very small, concept for a child. Vast, in that there are untold many things that children realize they do not know—how to drive a car, the intricacies of insurance, the difference between a first cousin and a first-cousin-once-removed. Yet small, in a way that most adults cannot grasp: for them it's easy to believe that it's still possible to know everything there is to know.

They haven't found out yet that it's pretty difficult to cram knowledge of such disparate fields such as particle physics, graphic design, plumbing, marine biology, and accounting into one head without losing simpler things, like—say—one's humanity.

Some children accept this change in scope with no problem. Some find it easy to accommodate, and some spend the rest of their lives quietly mourning their inability to wake up with their eyes fully open and understand everything that's going on around them.

The latter, I think, was me many years ago.

As a very small child I wanted to know everything about everything. To awaken every morning content and serene in my knowledge; to know exactly how I fitted into the world. This stage lasted until I was around five or so; after that I just wanted to find one subject, one idea, one concept that was mine by virtue of understanding it more thoroughly than anyone else.

It's a rather silly idea when you think about it. If everyone followed that creed to its logical end, there would be one plumber, one marine biologist, one master winemaker—and the rest of us umpteen billion people would just have to get the one guy who did nothing but make documentaries to show us what it would be like to be one of those Mysterious Useful People.

I feel sorry for whoever got to be the person to make comfort food; I suspect that in that world, he'd get to sleep once every ten years.

But I got older, and realized how ineffably silly these ideas were. Instead, I said, let me just find the answer to a couple of questions that really matter.

So now, world, I present to you my latest question—carefully handcrafted and polished in the mind of a rather quiet domesticat for your enjoyment and/or amusement.

Which of my cats takes the time, every single day, to grab at least one piece of cat food and delicately drop it into their water bowl?

Every day we perform this ritual at our house. The cats eat their food, and we replenish it. At some point during the day, one of the cats uses their teeth to delicately grasp a piece of dry cat food, and places it in the water bowl.

Is it their way of making us do their bidding? A signal that it's time to change their water? Or yet another foible in the lives of two large, aggressively spoiled house cats? Moreover, which one of them does it, and why do Jeff and I never see them do it?

To quote an old commercial: The world may never know.