Often, we are told in our youth that there are no stupid questions. This is to encourage us, as small children, to ask away, to become curious, to gain the knowledge we so badly need. Teachers repeat this lesson to get their students to ask questions, to encourage a more open atmosphere within their classroom realm.
It’s still wrong. There are stupid questions.
For example, last year I was sitting in my pre-calculus class when the teacher was explaining a problem to our class. I remember a lot of trig on the board, and struggling to follow along with the lesson. The teacher looked up from the whiteboard to our puzzled faces, and picked out one of my fellow students, who must have looked even more confused than I did, to explain why she looked so puzzled.
“Well, I don’t understand why that’s the x-axis,” she said, pointing to the horizontal line on the graph. What? You’re in Honors Pre-calculus, the hardest math class that can be taken at the 11th grade level, and you don’t know why the x-axis is the horizontal one? I learned that in fourth grade. My math teacher looked at her in utter disgust, looked to the heavens, and sighed, audibly, before continuing to do the problem and refusing addressing her question. That is, by far, the stupidest math question I have ever heard.
Although stupid questions in the classroom slow down the learning process and irritate the fudge out of me, there are other kinds of stupid questions too. Some questions can be answered just by observing.
I’m holding a handful of mail, and heading out to the driveway. “Where are you going?” “TO THE F***ING ZOO.”
There’s a giant clock on the wall. “What time is it?” “I don’t know, LOOK AROUND.”
Then there are those questions that are just plain useless.
Person A: “what’s your favorite band?”
Person B: “I love the Fleet Foxes right now.”
A: “Oh, what’s your favorite song by them?”
B: “White winter Hymnal.”
A: I’ve never heard any Fleet Foxes music.
B: Then why did you care about my favorite song?
A: Because I’m an idiot who asks stupid questions.
There you go.
And finally, there are just those questions that you just don’t ask normal people.
A: Oh, when did you have your first wet dream?
B: I don’t think we should talk anymore.
There are stupid questions. Everyone is guilty of them sometimes, but please, don’t be that guy.