My daughter, Bree, just graduated from college. She’s now writing a personal statement for grad school. I’m helping her with edits. I get distracted sometimes.
Anyway, what my poor children had to endure. I had forgotten. Kind of feel sorry for them, but then I kinda don’t.
“I’m 7 years old. I sit in the back of the family Volvo en route to my grandmother’s house. I ask my INTP dad, ‘Are we almost there yet?’ He answers, ‘Define almost.’
“I don’t respond.
“I know what’s coming.
“He goes on, ‘The word almost is relative. It depends on what one compares it to. Compared to how long it would take to get to the moon? — we aren’t close. But compared to those mountains over there, we’ve arrived.’
“‘So what, tell me, do you mean by the word almost?’
“I don’t respond. I’m frustrated — by his answer, but also because I just want a normal comforting ‘Yes, baby, we are close.’
“‘But Dad, you KNOW what I mean!’ I shout, as I always did during his incessant philosophy lessons.
“He goes on, ‘Maybe I do know what you mean. But not everyone will. We must learn to think critically about the words we use, what they mean, and we must always strive for clarity.'”