Do you remember arguments like this?
|The scene is set. Picture this. A bunch of kids on a soft and sultry midsummer night. After dark. Out in the back yard - lying in the cool of the evening, on a carpet of sweet smelling fresh-mowed dewy grass, all lush and fragrant.
The breeze is gentle, just the softest whisper up in the oak leaves. Beyond, a wide bare patch of silky black sky, speckled with stars.
The kids are tired. The day has been long. The mood is reflective, and argumentative too...
The oldest is nine. The youngest is five. The rest are scattered through the ages in between.
The gist of their argument went something like this -
"What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Of course - the chicken, silly.
Naw. The egg.
Nope. Had to be a chicken to lay that egg.
Oh yeah? Then how did the chicken get there if there wasn't an egg first?
How could there be an egg if there wasn't a chicken to lay it?
I dunno.....do you suppose there was a chicken dinosaur?
Maybe - how old are chickens, anyway?
A gazillion years.
Ain't no such number.
Yeah there is.
No there ain't.
Anyway, the heck with chickens. Look at all those stars. How many stars do you suppose there are?
Ain't no such number!
Well, a squillion then.
Ain't no such....
There's a lot. More than you can count.
I can count to that.
No you can't. You'd be dead first. Nobody can live that long.
How far away are those stars?
Far far far - a gazzilion....
How far is the farthest one?
I don't know. To the end of the universe.
How far is the end of the universe?
Farther than you can drive.
You can't drive in outer space.
Fly, I mean. It would take a million years.
A billion years!
More than that. Do you think anyone will ever go there?
Rockets will have to get a lot faster.
Hey. If you went to the last star, what would happen after that?
You'd just come home again.
No, I mean, what's after the last star, just empty space?
Probably just the end of the universe.
Do you think it ends?
Of course it ends.
But how would you know it ended?
I dunno, it just would.
Would there be a fence, or a sign or something? With "End of the Unverse" on it?
Naw. That's just the kind of thing people do. Whoever built the universe wouldn't do that.
Hey! If there was a fence - what would be on the other side of the fence?
Nothing. 'Cause it's the end of the universe.
But there has to be something on the other side of the fence. Otherwise, why have a fence at all?
There ain't no fence, silly. It just ends.
But how the heck would you know it ended if there wasn't a fence?
How could you have a fence there anyway? Just floating - wouldn't it just float away?
I don't know - but anyway, there'd have to be some kind of fence or sign or something, otherwise you'd never know that you came to the end.
That means that you'd just go on forever...
How long is forever?
A long, long long time.
Well, when you get to the end of forever, how long a time is that?
A gazzilion years!
Ain't NO such thing as..........
Aw heck - it's just some goshdarn big number, that's all.
Do you think there's an end of time?
Yeah, I guess - it's gotta end sometime.
Well, if it ever ends, then what time would it be after it ends?
No time - it just ends.
But how can you have an end of time if a clock is still keeping time?
Would all the clocks just stop?
Yeah, I suppose - but if the clocks all stop, does that mean that time stops?
When our kitchen clock stops, it just means the battery is dead.
Did they have clocks in olden times?
I don't know - a hundred years ago?
I think so.................
Was there a clock at the beginning of time?
I don't think so.........
Well, if there wasn't, then how did they know what time it was?
How did they even know it was the beginning of time?
I don't think there were people then. So there wasn't anyone around to look at a clock.
When do you think it was the beginning of time?
A long long time ago. A gazzillion billion million squillion years.
More years than stars?
Do you think the beginning of time had stars in it?
Naw. They had to grow first.
Hey! Did we ever figure out about the chicken?
I had chicken for supper.............................."