Life Advice to my Two Infant Nieces: A Socratic Dialogue


Harper, 9 months, student

Emery, 8 months, student

Chris, 386 months, philosopher

Emery: Philosopher, what is the greatest thing one can do to distinguish themselves in life?

Chris: Self-awareness. You two were born into a country called the United States of America. An enchanting land where people can stand in Lafayette Square and say the French never did anything for us. Any self-awareness you show beyond that will make you stand out.

Harper: Why is this distinction important, philosopher?

Chris: You will experience mixed messages throughout life. These come from people who often claim to have your best interests at heart.

Emery: For instance?

Chris: Both sets of your parents are avidly anti-Santa Claus. They find the idea that he travels the world in one night visiting every child and leaving presents is absurd and that they are doing you a service by making you superior to a ridiculous fiction. They are in fact giddy when your older siblings disabuse someone of this notion. At the exact same time they are 100% certain that the creator of the universe is interested in their daily activities and intervenes to assist constantly.

Harper: Yikes.

Chris: That about sums it up, yes.

Emery: Philosopher, to what do you attribute this goddamn nonsense?

Chris: Please watch your language, there are babies present.

Emery: Shit, sorry.

Chris: I attribute this to a strange fact of life that I must share with you now: everyone, and I mean everyone, thinks they are above average.

Harper: Everyone?

Chris: Everyone.

Emery: Even my parents?

Chris: Especially your parents.

Harper: That is absurd. Bordering on psychotic.

Chris: I know.

Emery: Not everyone can be above average! That’s not how math works!

Chris: Right.

Harper: I am glad we figured this out now.

Chris: Well, the three of us are above average, I’d say.

Emery: Philosopher, what is the meaning of life?

Chris: How the hell should I know? I am only 32. To you that seems ancient, but I assure you in the grand scheme of things I am considered quite young. Younger, incidentally, than 3/4 of your parents.

Emery: Then what is one thing we should know on our journey for the meaning of life?

Chris: It is this: There are those that wander this entire life not knowing they are loved. You two, I can say with absolute certainty, will never have to worry about that. Armed with that knowledge you do anything.

Harper: Is sappy sentiment designed to make you look like a good person part of it?

Chris: Yes.

Emery: When will our next lesson be?

Chris: In 14 years, when you need album suggestions.