Slacktory

Calvin's dad explains the sun

Reddit’s “Explain Like I’m Five” Q&A forum simplifies complex ideas and helps you understand the universe. Its offshoot “Explain Like I’m Calvin” simplifies complex ideas by feeding you bullshit like the dad in Calvin & Hobbes.

ELIC is almost as old as ELI5, but it just got more popular. Some of the best explanations so far:

How come pizza is delivered, but we have to drive to the burger place?

Pizzas have to stay in motion to taste good. That’s why you toss pizza dough in the air when you’re making it. If they’re stationary for too long, they stop tasting good, which is why the third slice is never as good as the first. You can trick pizza into being tasty again by putting it in the fridge–the coldness dulls its senses and makes it thinks it’s moving.

Why do I have to eat my vegetables?

You see son, Vegetables keep growing if you don’t pick them. Things that grow need food. So pretty soon the vegetables get big enough they can eat people. So we eat them before they can eat us.

LIC Why do cows moo?

Cows are very slow creatures, and they’re always getting in each other’s way. They’re actually saying ‘mooooooove’ but you never stay long enough to hear it.

How come I have to be 16 to drive, 18 to vote, and 21 to drink beer?

Well, son, you need to be 23 to learn that.

Why do we make toast when bread is already baked?

When do you eat toast? Breakfast.

Why do you eat breakfast? Energy.

Toast is not double baked bread, the bread is simply collecting energy from the toaster and your body absorbs it when you eat it. That is why we eat toast.

Why do I have to go to bed?

Son, I hate to break it to you, but… you’re dying. Because of the nuclear bombs that were set off during World War II, since then everyone has been mutated so that they die every night. That’s why you get tired at night.

Scientists scrambled to find a way to stop the mutation, but anything they did to heal the damage done to the body ultimately killed the brain, so the best thing they could come up with was to remove the brain every night so the body could heal.

Now, your mother and I can’t remove your brain ourselves – we’re getting our own brains removed. It’s the same for everyone else, too. So, to make sure your brain is removed while your body is healed, we’ve programmed robots to do it for us. The only problem is, they aren’t designed to look for you – they have to be programmed where you are. Because of this, they’re programmed to look for you in bed, and when you go on trips, we have to reprogram them to your new location (that’s why it’s always such a hassle for us when you have a sleepover).

So, I hope that answers that question for you.

Why does my dog turn around and around before lying down?

Back when dogs were first starting to be born, the Earth was entirely still. The dogs didn’t like having to travel all the way to the other side of the Earth to get some sleep, so they all started to spin around when they wanted to rest. Since they all did it at the same time, the Earth spun and the sun went down. Thanks to momentum, they don’t have to do it anymore, but they do out of tradition and habit.

The best answers are obviously “unified theories” that explain a few other details along the way. And that reveals Bill Watterson’s genius: He used Calvin’s dad as a satire of Aristotle or other great thinkers who didn’t bother scientifically testing their theories.

Read the canonical answers from the actual comic here. And then go make up some answers for the current questions at ELIC.

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