This I Believe Essay “No Stupid Question Should Be Left Unanswered”
I believe in “The Book”. No….not THAT book. My bible is Mad’s Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions by Al Jaffee.
The problem with the other book is that it provides the reader with questions. Nothing but questions! “Should I do this?” “Should I eat that?”. Don’t we have enough questions to answer in our lives? With this book, the folks at Mad Magazine have given us a book for the ages…one chock full of answers.
How many times do you find yourself heading out into inclement weather only to have a loved one ask “Are you going out in this type of weather?” Without the vast warehouse of sarcasm in this book would you have the presence of mind to say “No, I’m going out and change it into some other kind of weather”.
Just the other day, I was standing in line at a pharmacy when I overheard a woman ask the pharmacist “Is it safe?” I stood there praying that the pharmacist remembered the immortal words on page 59 “We’ve never had any complaints from the people who’ve taken it-God rest their souls”. But no, the response was some reassurance that there was nothing to worry about. Are we that concerned about possible litigation that we can’t label a stupid question for what it is?
The beauty of this book is that it provides the reader with not one possible retort but three. This allows one to tailor a response to a specific audience. In fact, the author actually leaves a blank on each page in the event that a fourth bon mot comes to mind.
You may be listening to this essay and think that this may be a book that you , too, could believe in. Here, unfortunately, is where the problem is. The copyright date of the book that I have is 1968 and I suspect that this book may be out of print. This was a dilemma that I,too, encountered but through the miracle of the internet, I found a copy in New Zealand. Apparently the teachings of the author are still in vogue in this country. I am still in shock that bookstore owner was willing to part with this epic work for the paltry sum of $4.00.
My mother taught me that you should never answer a question with a question. Through the wisdom imparted to me by this book, I rarely have to.
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