My 10-year-old brother explains the purpose of life

Alex: I want to be famous.
Me: Why?
Alex: Because I want people to remember me.
Me: Why?
Alex: Because I don’t want to live my life just for nothin’. I want to create something new, something no one can ever create.
Me: Why don’t you just watch TV?
Alex: It’s fun but not worth it.
Me: Why not?
Alex: You don’t discover stuff. You just find people who are discovering stuff for you. It’s fun but you want to discover for yourself so that you can find even more fun.
Me: But isn’t TV enough fun?
Alex: Yes, but it’s just not right. Just seeing all those people, all those kids on it, makes me wanna go out there for a chance.
Me: And do what?
Alex: Just discover anything. I can build an advanced sub and find some new species under the depths of the ocean.
Me: Why do you want to discover new species? Aren’t there enough?
Alex: Well, not really. There could be new species out there. And they could look like weird aliens. But to them, we’re weird. That’s why I want to study them so I can see what their special features are. And see what kind of chemical reactions they react to.
Me: We already have plenty of chemical reactions in this world.
Alex: No, I just want to see what kind of chemical reactions are down in the depths and what kinds of chemical reactions the new species carry with them. We don’t know what the new ones are capable of. They could be particular, like you can study mixed formulas with them, and they could create a thoughtful medicine.
Me: Why do you want a new medicine?
Alex: We don’t know what the new medicine could be capable of. It could save a lot of stuff. Including nature and species. But first of all we should actually test them. But the species we catch we’ll have to release them. We can’t keep them. It’s not safe for them. If they stay up here they’ll die. They don’t have the right amount of habitat.
Me: So you want to be a scientist?
Alex: Yes.
Me: How are you going to be a scientist?
Alex: Well, first I’m going to get something to study. Some formulas to study. Try to create medicines that already exist, for training.
Me: But before that, who’s going to let you touch medicine?
Alex: I’m just going to have to find some formulas for myself. There’s a lot of formulas that no one has explored yet. Even toxic waste carries lots of chemical changes and bacteria.
Me: Bacteria?
Alex: Yes, those microscopic species you can see with a microscope? Haven’t you ever seen one?
Me: So why are you going to school?
Alex: To learn. And then go on.
Me: Go on to do what?
Alex: Learn more math, learn more stuff, and go on to graduate.
Me: What are you going to do after you graduate from high school?
Alex: Well, I’ll go to a good college like Harvard. And I’ll study there too. At least two years?
Me: Four years.
Alex: Four years, if I do graduate, I might start studying some formulas for testing.
Me: What are you going to study in college?
Alex: Everything I can. Get every bit of knowledge I can.
Me: About what?
Alex: About everything.
Me: But you can’t learn everything.
Alex: In four years?? You can try!
Me: Is there anything you don’t want to learn?
Alex: No. Unless I already know it.
Me: It’s going to be hard you know.
Alex: I know. But I’m still in elementary school. I’m only 10 years old. After fourth grade, we’ll celebrate when fourth graders start going to fifth grade. And then we’ll get it all over with, the days pass, and you’ll just have to enter middle school, go to fifth grade, then sixth grade, then seventh grade, then eighth grade, and then, well, I don’t know if that’s the last grade or if it’s not.
Me: It’s not.
Alex: Then ninth grade, and so on, and I’ll study hard in high school, and after I graduate from high school, I’ll go to college, just like in the first few paragraphs, if you can kindly, just go up, and read the first few paragraphs. As I was saying, after everything is finished and over with, I’ll just have to move on and live my life. Until I find something exciting. Something new. I might even go around the globe. Study some more about the Amazon. Go from rainforest to rainforest. Study particular birds and animals. See how other animals communicate with other animals. Let’s say, the beaver and the moose. They have lots of stuff in common. They both live near ponds, and while beavers chomp down on trees and eat the barks in it, the soft part.
Me: They don’t eat bark.
Alex: Yeah they do. They eat the inner soft part.
Me: I think they eat fish. They use bark to build dams.
Alex: Mm-mm. I’m talking about–do you know what bark is?
Me: Yes. I really don’t think they eat bark.
Alex: Yes they do. They eat the soft inner layer. The squishy part. Like candy to them.
Me: OK fine, bark and beavers. You will study them.
Alex: But I already know about animals who disguise themselves like other animals.
Me: Like what?
Alex: Like the fly who disguises himself like a bee. He looks exactly like a bee. The back of him is yellow and black and he has antennas like a bee. But he’s not a bee. Bees are more bigger and more rounder. But not fatter. And even cheetahs’ cubs. At least you can look it up. You know cheetahs’ cubs, they have a white stripe down their backs and lots of black spots. So those cheetahs can disguised themselves as honey badgers.
Me: Really?
Alex: Yes. Because not many animals like to pick on badgers. Badgers are really tough. Especially honey badgers. But sooner or later the cheetahs will lose their stripes and become regular. Just like all the grownups.
Me: You have a lot of work ahead of you.
Alex: Yes I do! There’s a long way to go. I’m 10 years old and I’m only in elementary. It’s gonna take me another 11 years or maybe even 10. 10 to 11 years. But it will still take for a pretty long. From elementary to middle school. From middle school to high school. From high school to college. And then four years in college. That’s gonna take a while. But my sister, which is Sophy, as you can see she’s asking all the questions in this story, she will be graduating from college on May. This May. [whispers: write down the date!] No literally, write down the date.
Me: Uh… I need to check what date it is.
Alex: It’s May 24 Sophy.
Me: Wow, thank you. I didn’t even know that.
Alex: And write down the year that you’re going to graduate. You know you should put some exclamation marks and some apostrophes.
Me: Randomly?
Alex: Well… for expressions. No seriously Sophy, don’t write this down. Don’t write this down don’t write this down!!!!!!!!! Errghhh you coughed on my head! You need to cover your mouth you know, for some manners.
Me: Sorry.
Alex: That’s OK.
Me: Stop making fake farting noises. That’s disgusting. You’re being disgusting. Whatever.
Alex: Soooooooorry.
Me: You can do it, you know.
Alex: Do what? Fart?
Me: No. Everything you told me you can do.
Alex: Of course I can! 20 years until I get to 30. I hope. That’s a lot of stuff to do. I hope I can make it. I’ll get exhausted. I might even try to give up. But I’m not gonna give up! I’m just gonna keep on trying.
Me: If you give up I’ll kick your butt.
Alex: No.
Me: What do you mean, no? I just will. This means you need to read more books you know.
Alex: I know I know but I only read when I want to. I only read on weekdays. Not today.
Me: Today is Thursday. It is a weekday.
Alex: Yeah but it’s a holiday. Thanksgiving day. You know, I think we’re done.
Me: I love you.


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