• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 05
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Down to Perspective

At the donut shop we see a picture, my daughter and I, a photograph of an astronaut floating in the void. My daughter asks, “What is that?”

I examine the picture and see a tiny figure lost amid the cosmos. I wonder: How do you explain the massiveness of the Earth to a child? How do I put in perspective one tiny human life?

“The Earth,” I tell my little girl, “is like…like…a donut, the biggest ever made.”

I point to the largest donut in the display. “It goes on and on in waves. Some of it is smooth like the sweet, sweet glaze and some is like the crenellated dough, crisp from the fryer rising in a massive mountain range. Beneath the surface is the…um…the jelly filling that sometimes oozes to the surface, sometimes when you’re ready, but mostly when you’re not.”

“And we, people like the astronaut, we are like tiny sprinkles, miniscule. Inconsequential, really.” I’m stumbling now, fumbling for words. Where do I go from here? “We’re like a little decoration, sweet to look at, but meaningless in the scheme of things.”

I pause.

And wonder.

Have I gone too far, allowed my adult-onset pessimism to jade my child’s view of life?

She looks at me and tilts her head and says, “Daddy, I think you’re wrong. I think you have forgotten. Glaze and frosting and jelly filling are nice. But they’re not what makes a donut special. The sprinkles, Daddy, the sprinkles are the best part.”


Down to Perspective

She points at a donut, yellow cake, chocolate frosting and sprinkles over it all. “The sprinkles are the best part, Daddy. They’re what make the rest of the donut special.”

The boy behind the counter clears his throat. “What are you having?” he asks.

My daughter and I point, both of us, at donuts covered in sprinkles.

Covered in sprinkles that make everything else special.