What Are People For?

Dash spent the night with us last night, while Lisa went to our friend Alexis’ wedding to create a horrendous Sunday morning hangover with old friends. Dash and the kids were up early this morning. I let Todd sleep in, as he had partied with neighbors until the wee hours of the morning. So, i was wrangling my now very mobile nephew (He’s going for the stairs! He’s going for the dog’s bowl! He’s juggling knives!), keeping Malex the Pup from chewing everything in his way, and attempting to make Mama some coffee, all the while fielding the constant barrage of questions, interspersed with their own brand of commentary, that a three and five-year old will throw at us in the mornings.

What are we having for breakfast? Can we have blueberry pancakes and eggs and apples with peanut butter? We don’t have milk. We should have juice. We can have water, but if we have the water the juice will have to be watermelon. Can I smell that coffee? Dash is funny. Who is the Birdiest of the birds? And so on. The coffee continues to drip in slow motion, not nearly fast enough to save me.

“Mama?” Rollie says, “What are people for?”
I look at him blankly.
“What are people for?” he says again, a serious and thoughtful look on his face, his morning hair mussed.

Todd received Wendell Berry’s essay collection What Are People For? for Christmas, and I have been reading it, ahem. . in the bathroom for a few months. I thought, well, maybe Rollie read the title of the book.

“That’s a good question, baby,” I said. Damn it, coffee! Drip! For the love of God, drip!

“I mean, like, what are people for? Why did God make them?”

Since he started school this past year, he has started describing things using the word, “Like.” It makes him sound like a complete and total dumbass teenager. It is driving me crazy.

“Well, baby, that is an awesome question. In fact, people have been asking that question for a couple thousand years, and taking years and whole books to answer it. No one has really answered it. And I can’t begin to talk about it without my coffee. We’ll talk about it this afternoon, okay?”

I was astounded. Holy crap. Not enough coffee in the world.

Plus: Superfluous Mama needs coffee song. . .


  2 comments for “What Are People For?

  1. Lee Lee
    June 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    omg. so funny. i love the questions: Can I smell that coffee? Who is the birdiest of the birds? That’s a good one.

  2. June 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Birdiest of the birds almost got me to laugh before coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *