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The World Is Built for Four and Who Cares?

#2. Meals

So it's a lot easier to sit in restaurants with four people, too! Look at this truck stop we had lunch in. Four-person maximum at this joint. There was literally not one place that held more than four. (Some of the jukeboxes did work on the other tables, though.)

Hey, y'know those people that always straighten up surroundings before they snap a picture? Yeah, I'm not one of them, but after this pic, I'm thinking I should be.

So yeah, much easier to fit four at a table than five, although there is no magic number to stop Yoshi Sushi from pretending that his is a "Philadelphia roll."

Yes, that IS crab and shrimp in their Philly roll, and not at all the smoked salmon that I and every other person who has ever eaten sushi and is not insane expected.

Apparently whether you're a party of one or 17, Yoshi Sushi calls cream cheese and smoked salmon their "bagel roll." So yeah, I lost pretty hard on that one, but that's not relevant to numbers.

#1. Attractions

So one day I decided to pay entirely too much money to go to a water park, but I have to admit, it was pretty damn fun. Know what else made it fun? All the slides were made for two, and I got to go down each one with one of my kids.

Just like this blurry dot and his dead person friend here.

Not just the money I saved buying the ticket, but the rides. Five is just cumbersome, but four in a row or two by two, it just makes sense. It works. My Lord, it seemed Fred was right: The world is built for four.

And Who Cares if It Is?

So as illustrated above, Fred has a very solid point. In many ways, it does seem the world is built for four, and I can understand the logic of planning a family that fits to the contours of that number seemingly provided by the universe. I can understand it, but I don't care. At all. Because families are not supposed to come in neat little packages. Families are not supposed to float down the pathways of life without leaving a trace on their surroundings. That's the job of a painless enema, not a family.

Families are messy and loud and hard. Families make you laugh too loud in public places, and they can make you insane. They are filled with chaos and regret and anger that rivals the deepest loves and commitments and sacrifices. Families grow together through tragedy and triumph, and if you plant a family in a perfect square box, its roots will twist and embrace until they explode outward looking for a way back to soil again.

It's not a parent's job to figure out what the world is built for. Especially because the world, like everything else, changes. Things happen. Death and divorce happen. Illness and tragedy happen. Things you could never even think to list, even if it were your job to make lists, happen. They take your family from five to four, from four to three, from one to seven. And if you think the point of family is numbers, then you won't know how to make the math work when those big changes happen. No, it's not a parent's job to figure out what the world is built for. Parents take the world they find, in whatever form, and try to make it work for their children, knowing that imposing order on family is as impossible as quantifying love.


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