No Stupid Questions?

StoopidQuestionsIt has been said that there are no stupid questions. In general, this adage appears designed to prompt people to freely ask questions without appearing moronic. You’ve probably heard this right after someone has finished explaining some subject. “I’m open for questions,” the lecturer will state. “Go ahead and ask me anything. There are no stupid questions.”


Maybe, though, the statement is intended to infer that the questions themselves (the verbal constructs) are not stupid because a “question” isn’t an animated living thing. If this is the case, then saying so is pointless. It’s like saying there are no stupid conjunctions, or prepositions, or particles in a sentence. It’s like saying there are no stupid vibrations in the air. No shit. Thanks for prefacing a load of stupid questions with a stupid statement.

The term “stupid question” is generally understood to mean the content of the question and the response it’s supposed to receive. Not the fricken vibrations of the air, or the concept of a question itself. No, a stupid question is a question you could have answered. It’s a question everyone knows the answer to. It’s a question that has already been recently answered. In this context, there ARE stupid questions. And people ask them. Saying there are none is stupid.

Asking stupid questions is something of an art form. Maybe I’ll discuss that in another blog article. I’ve known experts at asking stupid questions. I still know a few, and I could certainly interview them. Their knowledge could be passed on. But not today. Today, I’m all about categorizing the stupidity.

Stupid Confirmation Questions:
This is a request to confirm something you’ve already stated. For example, let’s say you are explaining how to operate something. You might state that it is necessary to press the blue button, and then someone will ask you if it is necessary to press the blue button. Most people don’t ask these questions because they were listening to what you were saying the first time. When someone does pose one of these questions, it tells you that either they weren’t listening, or they’re a dumbshit. It’s an invitation for you to make that determination. They might as well ask, “am I unobservant, or just stupid?” Of course, if they’re wearing a hearing aid or something, maybe they just didn’t catch your words. Hearing aids apparently provide a defense against the assumption of stupidity. They’re like a shield. Maybe everyone that asks stupid questions should wear one. If not, then how about a t-shirt that says, “I ask stupid questions.” Or maybe just a badge that reads, “IDIOT.”

Stupid Clarification Questions:
This is a request to clarify something that you’ve already stated and should be clear. If it wasn’t clear when you made the statement, then they should have told you they didn’t understand then. If everyone else understood what you said, then why don’t they? Of course, this is quite subjective, as not everyone has the same understanding of the subject matter, so it depends on what you’re explaining. For example, you explain how to change a cat’s litter box to someone, and then they ask you what would happen if they failed to put new litter in the box after throwing the old litter away. It denotes a failure to think. Tell them to, “use your imagination.” Of course, then you’ll be a dick talking to a moron. You might as well wear a badge that reads, “I answer stupid questions rudely.” That doesn’t work though, because then they’ll ask you what the badge means. I suppose you can just tell them, “it helps me identify dipshits.” Consider it a tool for locating tools.

Stupid Unrelated Questions:
This is a request for information that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject you were explaining. For example, you tell someone how to operate a television remote. Directly after your explanation, you’re expecting questions regarding this operation, and instead they ask you how to delete the messages off a telephone answering system. Was this a lesson about telephones? No. It was a lesson about televisions. If you’re teaching someone how to operate the remote, the last thing you want to hear are questions about telephones, the operation of watches, the proper use of deep fat fryers, or effective birth control techniques. Tell them to stay in context. If they need a lesson about something unrelated, they can schedule a meeting on your calendar. Draw a face on your hand, hold it up in front of them, and state in a clear voice, “talk to my secretary.”

Stupid Obvious Questions:
This is a request for information that they should already know because it’s common knowledge and EVERYONE should know. For example: How do I close the garage door? How do I turn on the vacuum cleaner? How can I copy and paste a line of text? Should I wear clean underwear every day? How is your sister related to you? Can I date your wife? Is that gun loaded? In order, the answers are: press the button, plug it in and press the switch, CTRL+C CTRL+V, Hell yes, she’s my sister, Hell no, check it and see. The next stupid question is – should you really need to tell them this shit? I think you know the answer to that one.

Stupid Pointless Questions:
This is a request for information that they don’t need to know. For example: Why are you wearing jeans? Why do farts smell? Why does the value of Pi have no end? Where do toilets lead to? Why is orange juice orange? Why do I have fingers? Why do people need to eat food? These questions are pointless. If they really need the answers, they should Google it. Do you feel compelled to answer these questions? If so, wear a shirt that reads, “ask me something stupid and pointless, but not pointless or stupid.” You’ll surely get a dumb-ass clarification request. My advice is to give an equally pointless answer. In order: because I put them on, because you sniffed them, because circles are round, somewhere you don’t want to go, because it’s orange, so you can pick your nose, and to avoid being hungry.

There are plenty of additional categories. Make some yourself if you’re bored. Bottom line: next time someone tells you there are no stupid questions, raise your hand and show them how wrong they are with a question like: Why do people breathe oxygen? or Why to bagels have holes? or simply, What do you mean by that?

17 Responses

  1. Now I have to ask what prompted this post. Were you lecturing somewhere and got hit with a bunch of really stupid questions afterward? Or did one person ask you a question so colossally stupid that you had to ventilate or your head would explode? (And if my questions sound stupid, chalk it up to my being old and infirm … or something.)

    • It’s more like one person has asked me many many stupid questions continuously. And I’m forced to work with her. Oh, I’ve worked with worse idiots before, but that was when I was going to college and earning money as a security guard on the side. And, of course, the military is chock-full of absolute morons. But I’m in a software company right now, and most of the people here are highly educated, self-motivated, and very good at what they do. So when you get saddled with someone who doesn’t listen, can’t understand what you’re saying, needs everything explained multiple times, and continuously asks questions they could find the answers to on the fricken internet, I go off.

  2. A little testy today? Get up on the wrong side of the bed? Chill friend.

    • I got four hours of sleep last night, so yeah. I’m surviving on coffee right now. Speaking of which…

  3. I can’t stand the “stupid unrelated questions”. That drives me crazy. I think some people just like to hear themselves talk, so they ask the stupidest things. So annoying.

    But, yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question.

    • I wonder if there are any frozen waffles left in the freezer.

  4. This has me wondering: do you think there’s such a thing as a stupid question?

    • Yes. But I could be wrong. Maybe it’s an opinion?

      • This weekend, which for purposes of this comment I shall note is the beginning of December, I was wandering around the Home Depot when a man came up to me and asked, “Are you wearing tap shoes?”

        I thought about your post and laughed and told him I was not, indeed, wearing tap shoes. He then asked, and I am not making this up, “Aren’t those things slippery? Isn’t it hard to walk in them?”

  5. lol

    • :)

  6. Why do farts smell? Damn you Writerdood, know I have to Wiki it :(

    • And surely you will discover that methane is colorless and odorless. Think on that for a moment!

  7. […] No Stupid Questions? ( […]

  8. […] No Stupid Questions? ( […]

  9. In some of those cases, I think the stupid questions are deliberate. There are some people out there who hear that phrase and feel compelled to PROVE that there really are stupid questions. I don’t think they can help it. They may need treatment.

  10. […] Original article found at: […]

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