A four-year-old boy’s latest dreams and Mensa’s latest questions ask “What If?”

The number of unknown unknowns is unknown

“Did you have any dreams last night?” I asked the four-year-old boy yesterday.

“The purple guy saw me,” said the four-year-old boy, “and I fighted the purple guy and then we fighted and I kicked him into the swimming pool and he couldn’t swim.”

“What happened?” I asked. “Did he drown?”

“Yeah!!” shouted the four-year-old boy triumphantly. “And then someone was talking about getting germs and then a monkey came and he dropped something that he was holding on someone’s head, so that would spread a germ, wouldn’t it?”

“Would it?” I asked.

“Yes,” the four-year-old boy told me.

“So the monkey scratched his head?” I asked.

“No,” said the four-year-old boy. “He dropped something onto someone’s head and that would spread a germ. And then he snatched something off someone, so now he got a germ. And then he passed it to me and I didn’t want it, but he just maked me hold it and then I got a germ.”

“What sort of germ was it?” I asked. “Did you see it?”

The four-year-old boy shook his head.

“Because it was a small germ?” I asked.

“I did not want it,” the four-year-old boy told me. “It was smaller than me.”

Also yesterday – slightly related by the idea of letting your mind think whatever it wants to think – I saw a copy of the latest What If?

British Mensa has a SIG – a ‘Special Interest Group’ – called What If? which issues a regular newsletter suggesting questions which members might want to answer. The latest issue has these New Questions to Ponder:

- What if rain was alcoholic?

- What if skis and toboggans were the only legal form of transport when it snows?

- What if we were limited to saying 200 words a day?

- What if we had a maximum wage (including bonuses) as well as the minimum one?

- What if all retail outlets, garages, factories et cetera were by law required to be controlled and run  by only one nuclear family and share selling became illegal?

- What if all serious questions could only be replied to with a silly answer, and vice versa?

- What if it were possible to create a Jurassic Park?

- What if you really were what you eat?

- What if humans shed their skin like snakes as they grew?

It would be interesting to ask the four-year-old boy what his answers to some of those questions might be. Particularly the last two.

I must ask him.

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Filed under Dreams, Lateral thinking

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