What do kids really want to know? Sometimes parents wonder.
Fortunately, there’s the “What If” website and book to help answer that eternal question. It promises to provide serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions.
And guess what? It turns out that kids want to know answers to questions that I’d also like to have answered, like: “How long would it take for a single person to fill up an entire swimming pool with their own saliva?”
This is a question that is of intense and particular interest to me, ever since a kind of disgusted dentist who was constantly having to use the spit-sucking device and multiple cotton swabs told me, when I was but a callow youth, that I had “exceptional saliva flow.” Now I’m proud of my drool-producing capacity.
It turns out that it would take a normal person a very long time to fill that pool. Humans produce an average of half a liter of saliva a day, which would mean it would take a year to fill a bathtub. And, at that rate, it would take 8,345 years to fill an Olympic-sized pool to a depth of four feet. Even at my alarming spit-producing rate — I’m guessing I’m at least double the average in the drool category — I wouldn’t be able to accomplish even a reasonably sized in-ground backyard pool in my lifetime.
Too bad! It would be a laudable life goal.