There IS a Correct Answer to this Question

So Tuesday night at dinner, my eight year old son Alex posed this question to my wife: "Would you rather be bigger or smaller?" and my wife said, "Smaller, of course, women always want to be smaller," and then Alex said, "No, really small, like six inches, or really big, like fifty feet," and then my wife answered the question -- and she gave the wrong answer . . . so take a moment and decide which is the correct answer, and then I'll explain why one answer is correct and the other is not . . . okay, so now you've weighed the pros and cons and you're ready to see how well you've done on this very short quiz -- and, because it is only one question, you will either pass or fail; my wife said she would rather be fifty feet tall, and her reason was, "if you're six inches tall, you might get eaten by a dog," and while I can't deny that, there are many more difficulties to overcome if you are very large: mental, social and physical obstacles that could pose some real problems . . . you would have a hard time finding shelter, especially when it's very hot or very cold (my wife said, "You'd build some kind of shed for me," but judging by how long it took for me to build this shed, she'd probably die of hypothermia before I finished) and you would have a hard time hanging out with family and friends -- you'd be isolated and alienated and alone (even if you were famous) -- and you wouldn't be able to read a book or watch TV or see a movie or go to a party or attend class . . . and everything you did would be very public . . . where would you go to the bathroom? and if you got sick, it would take an incredible amount of medicine to make you well, and you'd have to eat an insane amount each day, and though you'd probably receive fashion endorsement money, it would still be very difficult to manufacture clothes for you . . . but if you were small, you could subsist on very little food and water, and as my friend Eric noted, "you'd only need to buy one bottle of bourbon and it would last the rest of your life," and though you would be reliant on people, you'd be so adorable that people would love to take you places and hang out with you and carry you around . . . you're life would be strange, but not horrible, as you'd still be able to do many of the same things you did before -- you could shrink the font on a Kindle and read a book (you could jump on the screen to turn the page) and a YouTube video on a phone would be like a big screen TV . . . and so I asked my students this question, and many of them got it wrong at first, but then they were generally convinced by these arguments to switch to the small size: did you get the answer correct?


zman said...

I got the "correct" answer using the same rationale. I use quotation marks because the fact that we both came to the same conclusion using the same reasoning throws doubt on the validity of the entire analysis. We are, frankly, morons not to be trusted.

Clarence said...

Squirrel can tell you how that real tiny thing is working out for him.

Dave said...

it's true -- i love carrying squirrel from place to place in my pocket. he says funny stuff!

i'll never forget corcoran's comment to him the first time we went to the radish, and ordered one of their behemoth mugs of brew: "that's an awful of beer for you there, little fella."

squirrel was not amused.

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