flarenut (flarenut) wrote,

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The world is a complicated place

As we were driving out of town last weekend, C looked out his window and asked, "What are those big pieces of stone with names on them?"

"That's a cemetery."
"Oh. I know what a cemetery is. It's where people get married."

Even if he has no idea what it really means, C is no stranger to the idea of death -- his grandfather died, his greatgrandfather died, two of his great-aunts died, my parents were dead long before he was born. But even after we sort of corrected him on the mechanics of what cemeteries are for the reasoning still eluded him. Why would you want to put a person's body in the ground after they died? Why would you want to put a marker at the place so that you could go there and think about them? Why have a place where everybody is buried?

Why indeed?

When he's older we could probably get into "well, if you eat them you get kuru, and if you leave them out they smell bad and scavengers tear them up, which is a bit squickly and besides you don't want scavengers to get the idea that human bodies are good food, and once people started burying bodies they built up a bunch of beliefs around the practice, and before you know it there were cemeteries..." But right now it just makes me think of how many interconnected facts you need to learn to be able to function in a culture and to understand the allusive mishmash that is our language (just this afternoon he was asking me why the store next to the bank was named "Yankee Spirits", because "Yankee is somebody's name.")

And tonight while I was trying to sing B to sleep (it didn't work) it came to me once again what a detailed knowledge of musical convention and christian doctrine is required just to make sense of "Found a Peanut."

Tags: culture, tlb

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