Did you ever have a college professor affirm to the class early in the semester that, "There are no stupid questions . . ." I appreciate the intent of such a statement--the desire to encourage open discussion, the willingness to clarify and explain. But it's simply not true. There are stupid questions. Lots of them.
Medical personnel do stupid questions really well. They are professionals, after all. With the right tone of patronizing superiority they can make YOU feel stupid for not knowing how to respond. For instance:
"How would you rate your pain, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no pain and 10 being the most severe pain possible.?" What does that even mean? Like anyone knows what the most severe pain possible is? I certainly don't want to test the limits so I can give an accurate answer. And if I had no pain at all, would I voluntarily spend a summer afternoon in a backless blue gown in the emergency room? Mmmm, no. I hurt, OK? Just start the painkiller.
The stresses of parenthood seem to spawn a particularly idiotic strain of questions. I cringe to think of the ludicrous queries I've put to my children. Some classics:
1. "Do you want a spanking?" Right. What kid WANTS a spanking? Like they harbor a secret wish that we'll swat their little bummies and they've been hoping we'd ask. Do we sincerely want their input on the matter? Doubtful.
2. "How many times have I told you (fill in the blank)?" Oh, wait Mom, while little Johnny runs to his dresser drawer and pulls out the tally sheet. He has kept precise records of everything you've ever said to him and is so happy that you asked. He'll do the math and get back to you asap.
3. "Why did you do that?" This question assumes that there is a logical reason that Susie shoved a bean up her nostril and that she can articulate it in twenty-five words or less before you cut her off with question #2 above.
4. Do I look like a dictionary? Wow. If my kids can't tell me from Webster's at a glance then I've got bigger problems than why the bean went up the nose. Either it's time to drill them with some family-photo flashcards (Mommy. No, not dictionary. Try it again M-O-M-M-Y.)or I need an extreme make-over.
Kids on the other hand, ask really cool questions. They put us grown-ups to shame. But that's a discussion for another day. So what all-purpose stupid questions do you ask your kids? Come on, I can't be the only one! Dish. Or what absurd questions did your parents keep in their arsenal? Make me laugh.