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Answer This

I’m addicted to a new App called QuizUp. It’s fantastic fun, and it don’t cost anything. Very rare combination indeed. QuizUp is great because it’s equal parts Jeopardy (e.g., tough questions about 18th-century poets) and Pop Culture 101 (e.g., Seinfeld and Lost questions galore). Probably goes without saying, but I’m really strong on the Seinfeld and Lost front and not doing so well in the Poetry category.
 
One of the coolest things about QuizUp is that it allows regular Joes to submit questions for review. If you’re an expert in, say, sports jersey numbers (uh, like yours truly), you can submit some sample questions and wait for the QuizUp team to review your work. I’m still patiently waiting.
 
I love asking questions. It’s part of my DNA. I usually don’t mind answering them either, although these days my two kids are dealing me their own form of QuizUp without downloading a thing. And the questions are getting tougher than Shakespeare or the Periodic Table.
 
Category: Birds & Bees
Question: Dad, where do …
Answer: We probably prepare for this category all of our parental lives. No question has been the subject of more stupid sitcom scenes. The good news is that Mom apparently has had a couple of excellent conversations with my daughter, since I’m no longer getting any question in the ZIP code of Birds & Bees from her. Mission accomplished. For the boy – an inquisitive 9-year-old – the questions have just begun. “Dad, what are those people doing in that movie you wouldn’t let me watch after I accidentally flipped the wrong channel?” “Dad, what was that boy lion doing to that girl lion when we were at the zoo yesterday?”
 
“Son, let’s go work on your jump shot.”
 
Category: Stuff That Has No Answer
Question: Why is the sky blue? Why can’t we feel the world spinning? Why do people flip you off when you cut them off in traffic? Why does every Chick-fil-A employee say “My pleasure” every time they serve you?
Answer: Some of these have definitive answers and are easily found thanks to the genius of Wikipedia. Others are met with a dumb look from me followed by a change of subjects. Kids have an uncanny knack for asking questions that I couldn’t answer even if I’d gone to M.I.T.
 
Category: The Future
Question: Dad, what do you think I should be when I get older?
Answer: Obviously, a famous doctor who discovers the cure for diabetes or cancer. Or a lawyer. Or an Internet mogul. Problem is, kids don’t want to hear any of that. They want to talk about being starting safeties for the San Diego Chargers. (Yeah, that would be the current aspiration of a boy whose dad couldn’t break a 6.0 40-yard dash with a jet pack.) My son’s backup plan is to be a crime scene investigator. Yes, the next David Caruso? Geez.
 
Category: Higher Ed
Question: Where should I go to college?
Answer: You’d like to answer Harvard, Yale, Princeton or TCU. But in reality, you’re probably hoping for Texas State, North Texas or maybe Oklahoma State. We’ve got great kids, but between crazy tuition and heightened qualification requirements for many top schools, reality dictates that you just pick the best available at the time. Of course, you don’t want to answer that, so you say, “You can go wherever you want. Just keep your grades up.” You then say a prayer and find a second job.
 
Category: The Past
Question: What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you have other girlfriends before Mommy? Did you ever cheat on a test?
Answer: I wanted to be a safety for the Dolphins. Yes, but only one. And never. OK, OK, two of these three is true. I really did want to be a safety for the Dolphins, but I settled for shortstop on an adult softball league. Kids are always intrigued by your past. I can understand that. But the more you tell, the more they figure out that all this sage advice you’re constantly giving them was never followed by a younger version of you. It’s like a basketball coach never shooting in front of his players. Once they see his terrible mechanics, they’ll never listen to him again. In other words, be careful with your answers here.
 
Rudy lives in Flower Mound, works in Fort Worth and plays everywhere in between. He has one wife, one daughter, one son, one published book, one obsession with sports and 20 million observations on marriage and children. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.

Published March 2014