Mary the Marriageable

— There’s this girl Mary.

— And?

— Such a lovely girl, and she takes good care of her house…

— Mom, I’m okay, I’m not marrying yet.

— Think again. This girl has studied all her life, discovered new things, and she now knows all there is to know about the brain, colors and vision.

— Cool.

— But the poor thing hasn’t left her house all her life, and her house is all black and white! Just take her out some day, she’ll be surprised to see colors for the first time!

— Why? She already knows all there is to know about color and vision?

— She knows it on paper, but she’ll learn something new when she sees something red, something blue! She doesn’t know that feeling, the redness of red!

— Says who?

— Says who? But, think it through, my dear, doesn’t it seem obvious to you?

— It doesn’t matter how it seems to me, I don’t know all there is to know about colors and the brain. In fact I don’t think our current science allows that right now. I think you’re making it up to get me interested in this girl.

— I’m saying she discovered it all by herself! But she doesn’t know what it feels like to see red…

— I think she would know.

— I’m sure she doesn’t.

— I think she does. This isn’t going anywhere.

— …

— …

— Please? For me?

— Okay mom, I’ll see her.

— Great! One thing though: she doesn’t speak English.

— Oh? Would be cool if she knew any French, I can practice my–

— Chinese.

— Chinese? Only Chinese? How do you expect me to talk to her?

— Oh I got that figured out, we can look online and prepare a notebook with answers to every possible question in Chinese, all written with their pronunciations.

— Mom, I don’t think that’s technically possible. You can’t just list every possible question in a language, let alone their possible answers. Even if you could come close to it, it wouldn’t be one notebook, it would be thousands, and the time I would spend to find the first question and its answer would be days – or months, years, I don’t know.

— I didn’t really mean every possible question, you silly. How many questions are there on a first date? 30? 50?

— That’s still not a good way to communicate, it would be slow and robotic.

— Everything’s gotta be fast with you kids. Okay, so don’t talk. Just share something. Go to a cooking class.

— You’re all about learning, aren’t you. How about I take her out to the movies. Batman Begins is playing, we can learn what it’s like to be a bat.

— … You know you can never learn that. You’re just trying to annoy me now.

— I don’t know that, mom. You’re the one who knows all these things, intuitively.

— That’s because I’m an old lady. I’m wiser than you.

— Precisely. Not sure about the second part though.

— Get outta here!

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