MUSINGS The oval of life



The oval of life

The littlest people tend to ask the biggest questions

The Circling Fin
Fin Keegan

For a dozen years now I have been immersed, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in a major research project involving three local children: two boys who serve as this community’s lone defenders against the dangers of Extraterrestrial Invasion and their Commander-in-Chief, a young lady fast approaching her fifth birthday.
In the course of this scientific investigation of exactly how much domestic chaos the average Fin can withstand, I have taken note of several pointed queries that have come out of the mouths of these particular babes. Today I am sharing some of their questions with you. Think of them as a spur for us grown-ups to start asking our own Big Questions. Let’s start with these examples:

Do angels have childhoods?
Why don’t we have only one nostril?
How do aliens breathe on the moon?
Why do people change?

Why DO we change? Interesting that a being who has only just arrived on the planet would notice that we are all changing all the time, just as the philosopher Heraclitus observed in ancient Greece. In fact, if you’ve come to the conclusion that people never change, you have definitely lost touch with your inner Big Thinker. Here’s some more:

Does God know what humans are for?
Do dinosaurs have ghosts?
Why isn’t it ‘The OVAL of Life’?

Good questions all, with the ‘oval of life’ a distinct improvement on the predictable ‘circle’. Of course, children don’t yet know about the Lightning Bolt of Destiny, which can quickly make any circle look like a demented hexagon. Some more puzzlers they have set me, usually when they’re supposed to be fast asleep:

Did Jesus know football would be invented?
Where do orphans come from?
Does God have a belly-button?
Can we buy more money, Daddy?

Hmmm.... CAN we buy more money? Or to put it another way: “Why can’t the Germans get over their terror of inflation and allow realistic levels of Quantitative Easing?” If only the ECB was run by nine-year-olds we would not be in the fix we are in. In fact, if the world was run by primary schoolchildren, we would (putting aside the perpetual warfare) be far better off, at least economically.
In our incident-obsessed media culture, we are all too well-informed about the World of Appearances but curiously incurious about what might really happening behind the scenes. Time to get with that inner half-pint of ours and resume asking some Big Questions.

Fin Keegan is a writer based in Westport. This column is based on his weekly radio essay, heard on WRFM radio, and online at