Years ago, I had the opportunity to simultaneously interview two young philosophers: Danny Swammy and Marc Anthony Beaman, respectively six and eight years of age at the time.
Both seemed very comfortable in their own skin and were appropriately attired in white underwear briefs, and nothing else. Except for a pair of long white tube socks that Danny was wearing on his hands. The socks stretched all the way up his arms and stopped at his elbows. He was preparing his hands to perform a puppet show for his best friend, cousin, and fellow philosopher, Marc.
These two young souls jumped at the opportunity to share their wisdom and experience of life with me. They settled into the black, leather couch, crossed their legs in lotus position, and waited patiently for my questions.
I said, “Why do people get married?”
Marc, being the elder of the two, took the lead. His almond-shaped brown eyes lit up, and he smiled indicating he had the correct answer to such an easy-peasy question. “To have a baby… and also so nobody ever gets lonely.”
Danny put one of his sock covered hands up to his chin and contemplatively stroked an imaginary beard. He looked at Marc and then at me, and without saying a word, nodded his head in agreement.
They both admitted to having had no experience with marriage themselves.
Marc continued, “But when I do get married, I want to marry a hot girl like you, Aunt Fanny!”
Danny covered his face and giggled into his sock-covered hands.
Young Marc’s blatant attempt to seduce this interviewer into being less objective didn’t work. I’m not easily swayed by charming young men who prance around in their underpants.
I continued with my hard line of questioning and asked them what their greatest accomplishments in this life are. They both recognized feats of physical achievement. For Danny it was climbing up the steep hills in Alley Pond Park, in Queens.
He said, “Sometimes I take the long way… and sometimes I take the short way… but I keep going and going and I always make it up to the top.”
Marc answered, ”Taking my bike to the ramps, because I like to go up and down and back and forth and do tricks and stuff. It’s exciting!”
I was curious to know what was the best thing in their life so far.
Marc flashed his dimpled smile and said, “My mom,“ and he looked over at his mother who was sitting on the chair beside the couch, “my dad, Danny, Andrew, and you, Aunt Fanny.”
The best thing in Danny’s life was riding on a pirate ship.
When I questioned if he’s ever actually ridden on a pirate ship, he grew agitated.
He raised both of his sock-hands high up into the air over his head and exclaimed, “No… not yet! But, everyday I want to ride on a pirate ship so bad!” He sighed heavily and dropped his exasperated sock-hands back into his lap.
Then we went a little deeper and spoke of death. Marc said, “When I die my soul goes up to heaven… or it goes down to hell.”
I asked, “If you were to die today, where do you think your soul would go?”
He furrowed his little brow, shifted his legs around nervously, and said, ”uhhhhmmm, I’m really gonna have to think about that.”
Danny held up his right sock hand, as if he were swearing on the bible, and reassured Marc, “Don’t worry, just your bones go to hell, your soul goes up to heaven.”
Marc insisted that just before we die they take the blood out of the body with a machine and clean it. Marc’s grandfather was on a kidney dialysis machine, and he observed the blood being filtered before his grandfather passed away.
Marc said, “You die soon after they clean out all of your blood.”
Danny said, “My friends, dad’s uncle, was a grandfather too, and when he died they put him in a box.”
Marc said, “It’s a coffin.”
Danny tilted his head to the side, stared at Marc, and then said, “Okay, so they put you into the box and then cough in it.”
Marc rolled his eyes and said, “it’s called a coffin, not a cough!”
Danny continued, “Anyway… I saw these people carrying the box.” He glanced over at Marc, “I mean the cough-in (and rolled his eyes), and they brought it to a grave and buried it in a deep, deep, deep, deep hole that went all the way down into the sewer.”
While on the subject of death I asked the boys if they thought the earth was dead or alive.
Marc said, ”Everything on the earth like the trees, bugs, fish, us, spiders, snakes, and birds are alive… except cars and stuff.”
Danny brought his sock-hand back up to his chin, and then nodded in agreement.
I asked them to talk about their biggest fears.
Marc said, “My biggest fear is that a giant sandworm comes out of the earth, chokes me, and then eats me. I saw it in a movie.”
Danny said, “My biggest fear is going inside a dark cave that’s filled with spiders and beehives… even though my favorite food is honey.”
“Who are the biggest heroes or influencers in your life,” I asked.
Marc said, “Sometimes my dad, but mostly Kilo.” And he pointed to the old graying Doberman Pincher that was sleeping soundly in front of the couch. “Because Kilo gets to pee outside. And, I want to be able to pee outside too, but people are always watching.”
Danny looked down at the old dog and said, “That dog is almost dead.” He continued, “I can’t think of any heroes who are not on T.V. so the X-Men are my favorite heroes – especially Wolverine.”
For my final question I wanted to know what would improve their lives the most.
Marc said, “To tell the world that God is the best and no more killing.”
Danny put his sock hand back up to his chin and nodded in full agreement.
I thanked them for their valuable time and then the two young philosophers jumped off the couch and quickly ran off, in their underwear, and one pair of socks.