A few days ago, my son asked me how many strings were on a ukulele. Not long before that, he asked me if I knew Gordie Howe’s birthday. (The answers, for the record, are four and March 31, 1928, respectively.) I don’t know why he thought I would know this stuff, except that he has a pretty remarkable collection of arcane facts in his own head. He has developed a little bit of a mania for reference books. He likes quizzing me on obscure baseball records at the breakfast table, and he seems to have great confidence in my ability to answer. I hate to let him down, but if I ever knew that Mickey Mantle hit the longest home run ever recorded (643 feet at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium in 1960) I surely couldn’t retrieve that information before I’ve finished making coffee.
Maybe I should be flattered that he thinks I’m Mr. Know-It-All. But more likely, he just understands that living in the Age of Google means never having to say “I don’t know.”