This afternoon, 3B answered a question that’s been vexing astronomers and philosophers for years.
To be fair, his quest for the answer started a few weeks back, while we visited the Museum of Natural History in New York. He loved the dinosaurs, the 94-foot long whale model and the instruments from Africa–over the weekend he asked me again, “Daddy, can we go to Africa and get one of those little guitars?” Me: “Yes, sure, someday.” 3B: “Tomorrow?”
But where he took off was in the space exhibit. We came into it at the exit, unaware that we were doing so. That left us at the bottom of the spiral ramp down from the entrance. While Uncle FunkDaddie and I checked what our weight would be on the Moon, 3B took off up the ramp at a dead sprint. Although it only took Uncles D and FunkDaddie and me half a nanosecond to bolt after him, he was so far ahead of us, all we could hear were his footsteps slapping on the steel ramp as he circled away and above us.
As we neared the top, a woman looked over the railing and asked if that boy was ours. We said no, that we were abducting him–of course he’s ours, you ninny. She promised to stop him, but she didn’t look like she’d be any match for 3B, so we kept on. What we didn’t know was that she had nature on her side–specifically the element iron, which was likely part of the alloy in the doors that 3B found closed at the top of the ramp.
She explained that we were coming in through the out door, but that we were welcome to watch the show in the theater we were entering, which introduces the exhibits all down the ramp that we had just sprinted past. 3B didn’t want to see the show at first, since it started with a big bang–the Big Bang, to be precise–but he endured and ended up absorbing quite a bit of it.
As we walked down the ramp, we pointed out how the exhibits detail the passage of billions of years and the evolution of the universe, our galaxy and life on Earth.
While we were out riding bikes in circles–spirals, according to 3B–all of this came back to him, and he asked me:
“Daddy, why were there no stars before the Big Bang?”
“Because they all came from the Big Bang.”
“So, what was there before the Big Bang?”
“That is a question that I don’t have the answer to.”
“So, before the Big Bang–was there nothing?”
“I suppose so.”
“Then that is the answer.”
I suppose we can call Stephen Hawking and tell him that his life’s work is complete now.
I’m working to make cancer history. Will you help me?