This I Believe

Leslie - Decatur, Georgia
Entered on March 2, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

I believe in asking questions. Not just the obvious ones like, what=s your name, where=s the restroom and, does God exist. Rather, I believe in asking the questions that no one else wants to ask. These questions always require an answer that is painfully obvious B to everyone but me that is.

Picture it. I am sitting in a computer class, trying to wrap my head around yet another concept that I need in order to do my job. Unfortunately, one allegedly simple yet vital piece of information just won=t B well compute. Do I sail along, not understanding, and reassure myself that maybe, against all evidence to the contrary, I won=t need to know it anyway. Or do I hope against hope that some other brave soul will step forward and ask the question. My nature, made up of equal parts curiosity and obsession, won=t allow the former, and the latter, well it almost never happens. Public speaking is one of the top ten human fears, and I suspect public questioning lies not far behind. So I sheepishly raise my hand and make my query, insecure in the knowledge that I have sealed my intellectual fate. I might as well put on a T-shirt that says AI am not WITH stupid, I AM stupid.@

What seems like hours pass while those who have observed my moment of shame recover from shock. In the meantime, the speaker gives me my answer and I quietly slink back in my seat B praying that the audience will mercifully forget the humiliating scene they have just witnessed.

Now you may ask why I continue to voluntarily insert myself into such situations B which I do on a regular basis. The key is that my quest to question is not only about getting the answers. It is about helping humanity. Really. You see, not long ago I made a startling discovery. I found that I am quite often not the only person who needs the answers to these seemingly simple questions. I began noticing that frequently, after I have asked the question that no one else will, someone in the room invariably comes up to me wearing the face of one who has found a free lemonade stand in the middle of the desert, and offers the following sentiment: AI am SO glad you asked that question. I was too embarrassed to do it. Thank you so much.@ This has happened often enough to make me not only less reluctant to ask the questions no one else will, it has made this my mission in life.

You see, I may not be able to solve the problems of homelessness, global warming or middle aged spread. I certainly will not find a cure for AIDS or cancer. And baking a flaky pie crust continues to elude me. But by asking the questions no one else will, I believe I am providing a truly useful service. As a sort of Amiddle man@ of information, I am making available a multitude of answers to those truly in need. And saving many a tortured soul from public ridicule that might scar them for life. I accept the fact that this not entirely selfless endeavor is unlikely to place me on the shortlist for sainthood. But who doesn=t like coming to the rescue of someone in distress? And besides, it=s a lot easier than operating a lemonade stand in middle of the dessert.

Oh and by the way, the bathroom is the second door on your left. You are most welcome.