Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new
friend, they never ask questions about what really matters.
They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games
does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?" They ask:
"How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does
he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do
they think they know him.
If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house,
with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof," they won't
be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw
a house worth a hundred thousand francs." Then they exclaim,
"What a pretty house!"
So if you tell them: "The proof the little prince's existence is
that he was delightful, that he laughed, and that he wanted a sheep.
When someone wants a sheep, that proves he exists," they shrug their
shoulders and treat you like a child! But if you tell them, "The
planet he came from is Asteroid B-612," then they'll be convinced,
and they won't bother you with their questions. That's the way
they are. You must not hold it against them. Children should be
very understanding of grown-ups.
But, of course, those of us who understand life couldn't care
less about numbers!
-- Antoine de Saint Exupéry (in The Little Prince)
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