Today, I sat down with my boss to talk toys. It is, of course, what we always talk about since it’s our job to make them. But we also talk music and life and family. He often takes home the toys we make and he has the best stories about his daughters’ reactions. They always give him, and us, a heaping dose of reality.
After playing with a toy, this particular one bursting full of content, dozens of buttons and learning games that required pages and pages of logic scripts, a mind numbing amount of bug tests, and endless debates about whether it was too ‘learny’ (I’ve trademarked the term) or not ‘learny’ enough, after pressing every button, playing through every game, answering every question without a word, his daughter looked up and asked:
Ok Dad. I played it. But what is the point of this toy?
Oh my goodness, this made me laugh out loud.
And it made me think.
It’s a very sophisticated question for a child to ask about a toy. It’s a very sophisticated question for someone of any age to ask about anything. Because it’s really a kind of prompt or plea. It says: Give me a reason. To believe in this. To stay with it.
I’ve questioned the point of many things. Small things. Like making the bed in the morning when you’re just going to get into it again that night. Wearing a veil at a wedding. (As a side note: I was shocked to learn that questioning this would throw people into a state of rage, confusion, and a frenetic this-is-the-way-it’s-done tizzy.) And big things. Like writing a novel. Having a career. Falling in love.
There are a million answers to each and every What’s the point? question. But, whether it’s a small thing or a big thing, I think it’s important to note that people often ask it when things are just about to break, when they are hanging by the thinnest thread.
So I think it’s important to ask it. I think it’s important to find an answer. I believe it is not good enough to live your life inside a giant ‘just because’.