Warts & The Meaning of Life

My 11-year-old daughter is fighting warts on her feet and yesterday, in our car ride to go pick up her flute from the repair shop, she wanted to know more about warts:

Wart_Toe“Dad, what are warts?”

“Warts are skin cells infected with viruses.”

“Yeah, but why do they get so big.”

“Well, the virus gets inside the skin cell, reproduces inside of them and then makes them grow faster and spread more of the virus. So the wart piles up on the surface of your foot.”

“But why do they do that Dad?  What the heck is the purpose to do that?”

“Well, sweetheart, they are doing the same thing those weeds do, those trees do, the raccoons in the woods do and even humans do. They are just trying to replicate — to make copies similar to themselves.”

My daughter then became despondent. “Wow, life is meaningless. There is no point to life.”

“Hmmm,” I responded. “Well, if life was meaningful, how would life look different for warts, weeds, raccoons and us if we all had meaning?”

“So the only reason we live is to be happy, but there is no purpose?”

“But if there was purpose, how would a happy life look different?” I persisted.

“Hmmm,” she said, taking her turn to think. “Well, we wouldn’t die!”

“Ah, so when you say ‘meaningless’, you are just sad that we all die?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“I get that. It is a bummer.”


“So, I guess we just have to settle for trying to be happy during our life even though we know we’ll die.”

“Yeah, that sounds right to me, honey. Being happy sounds like a pretty good purpose. Just because we die doesn’t mean that our happiness is meaningless, does it”?

“No, it doesn’t. Being happy is good.”



  • This post fulfills my “Roadkill Theology” criterion. See the post and take the poll.  Readers are divided on the issue.
  • My daughter proofed this post for accuracy.  Then she kindly volunteered for the flute photo. (but the toe wart is from wiki!)


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

10 responses to “Warts & The Meaning of Life

  1. faycinacroud

    Well,I can’t answer the question about the meaning of life and I’m not even gonna try! I’ll take on the wart question instead.. I’ve battled foot warts before. They suck and can take a long time to get rid of, but Compound W does a pretty good job, you just have to be diligent about applying it every day. At this point I’m thankfully wart-free. Now, if I could just get rid of the damn toenail fungus!

  2. @faycinacroud: Yeah, we’re actually pretty good at warts in this house. I use to work in pediatric dermatology. Salicylic Acid (Compound W) works well in many cases. But the warts, as you said, are not really the point of the post — I hope others feel brave about discussing the substantial points of this post: that is why I wrote it.

  3. TWF

    Great navigation! The “…how would life look different…” question is an excellent one to ponder. I wonder if meaningless, myself, if many people reject atheism due to its “meaninglessness”, despite having never hashed out for themselves what meaning really is for themselves. It’s too easy to bestow our “daily” meaning on what others think of us, and, scaled up, our “overall” meaning on what a god allegedly thinks of us.

  4. @ TWF,
    Yeah! You actually understood exactly what I was after. You are right. Thanx.

  5. Earnest

    Nice story.

  6. Wow! What a great conversation with your daughter. There are times, in conversation with my kids, that I am just blown away by there wisdom. That was some good direction.

  7. Thanx, CTQ. Kids are fun that way, eh?

  8. Are those your daughter’s drawings in the flute picture?

  9. @Alice,
    Indeed they are! Our resident artist.

  10. My 14 year old is ours:)

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