They say that there are no stupid questions. They are wrong. Because there has never been a sentence that has wrought more ire from me then the title of this post.
It typically sneaks up on you at the end of what would have been a fantastic, multiple choice question midterm. Fifty or so questions with the answers just sitting there in front of you, and then right before the bell, here comes this page full of lines, topped with a two-part question that starts as a reasonable request to prove the comprehension of a lesson, yet ends with this numbing probe into your mental faculties.
Outside of the blue book (if that’s still a thing?) and into the world, the question mutates into the equally irritating “What do you mean?”, which is followed by a repeat of the apparently offensive, illogical information given:
A: “Where’s James?”
B: “Oh, he went to the store.”
A: “What do you mean, he went to the store?!”
This exchange could give A some more information, as B could take the question as a cue to either relay details that may provide insight into James’ decision to go to the store. However, B would be quite correct by responding with, “I don’t know, dude! He went to the damn store!”
Whether it was 6th period History class, or in a conversation with a friend, this question fires me up. It makes me feel like what I said or wrote the first time wasn’t a good enough answer. Which means that I didn’t do a good job of communicating. Which means that I’m not smart enough to be trying to explain something to you. Which means I don’t belong in the conversation. Or group. Or guild. Or Whatever.
It’s always hard to find the fault in ourselves when people don’t “get us.” But here’s the truth …
Our work pours out of us written in the language of our experiences. We can demand attention, but we can’t expect comprehension. Growth as a creative reveals what you have to learn from yourself, and we can only learn from examination. From investigation. The question is irritating, but there is nothing new and valuable on the surface of anything.
We have to render. We have to dig.