Helping the Kids

3 March, 2008

This evening I was playing guitar while my wife played solitaire on the computer.  The phone rang, and my wife answered the phone.  I only heard one side of the conversation:

“No, she’s at rehearsal.

“Now THAT’S a loaded question.

“I’ll ask.  Bill, what’s a stomata and a stoma?”

I gave a great husband response.  “Huh?”

“R is on the phone.  He’s working on his bio homework and he’s having problems understanding stomata.”

I thought for a moment, and then said, “It’s the pores on the bottom of the leaf that allows carbon dioxide in and oxygen out.  The pore has two cells which open and close by swelling.”

 She explained it on the phone.  I could tell by the way she was explaining it that he didn’t quite understand a hole opening or closing.  “Think of it as a butthole, but instead of the sphincter, it has two cells which get bigger or smaller to open or close the whole.”  That satisfied him.

Then I had to ask, “What was a loaded question?”

“Oh,” she answered, “He asked if I knew anything about biology.”  We laughed.  A couple of possible comebacks were tossed around:  “We’ve got two kids, so that would be a yes”; or, “Yeah, but we got it fixed.”

Apart from this being a remarkably surreal conversation, it makes us feel pretty damn good that our kids friends will call us for help with homework, even if our kid isn’t at home.

Then I went to Wikipedia and realized that I was right and actually remembered some of my high school biology.  That made me feel even BETTER about the help I gave my daughter’s friend.



  1. I’m impressed. I would have replied, “nothing, whatstomata with you?”

  2. I probably would have googled it and read the answer to the person on the phone.

  3. PhillyChief: You made me groan out loud. That’s worth one free visit to my site.

    Chappie: I was playing the guitar and disentangling myself from a dreadnought, walking all the way across the living room to the computer, and then googling it was way to much work.

    I’m just happy that my kid’s friends know we are available for advice and (almost) useless facts.

  4. I remember all kinds of useless shit. The kind of things that make people say, “Why do you know that?” Until they need it. Then you’re the man.

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