One of my favorite zoo activities, aside from chucking small children into the gibbon enclosure, is to follow families around and eavesdrop. Because I’m creepy that way. And because I'm looking to snatch a few babies to add to my collection.
Actually, I eavesdrop because the most fascinating animal behavior happens on our side of the cage. Any visit to a zoo, museum, or cultural event is an excuse for children to ask their parents EVERY SINGLE QUESTION ANYONE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF…and a few new ones. The questions are usually pretty tame, such as, “What do pandas eat?”
Mothers will readily admit defeat. “I don't know, now eat your vegetables or your face will freeze that way.”
Fathers, however, are a whole different story. The average father cannot bear being called out as ignorant, and, moreover, has no compunction whatsoever about lying to his progeny. I think it’s the same grandiosity gene that makes dads believe they can fully assemble a bicycle in fewer than ten minutes on Christmas morning.
And if the bike isn’t ready, it’s because Santa screwed up. Not Dad. Never Dad. Fathers are by biological imperative completely omniscient, omnipotent, and wise. This is what makes them so endearing.
Anyhoo, what do pandas eat?
Mom: I don’t know. Now stop trying to shove your sister into her diaper bag.
Dad: Naughty children.
Correct answer: Bamboo. And people who don't leave comments.
In the comments, tell me the most outrageous lie your daddy ever told you. If it's good, I won't feed you to the pandas.