Questions Elude Me

March 9th, 2007

“I can’t think of any good questions to ask. How do I resolve this problem?”

Ryan The Great

Liam’s Answer

Not being able to think of good questions is a common problem. We’ve all been at a party, met someone, asked them what they do for a job, then completely dried up about what to ask next.

What the world needs is a question generator. Someone needs to invent a tool that allows you to go to a web site, type in an answer, and then be given a whole lot of questions.

There’s a web site called Ask.com that I thought would contain such a useful tool, but sadly, it’s actually a web site full of answers.

Using this perverse logic, I went to a web site called Answers.com, assuming that if Ask.com is full of answers, Answers.com is full of questions.

There’s another web site called Questions.com, which is supposed to have a lot of frequently asked questions, but which looks to me suspiciously like a lame-assed excuse to show ads from Google.

I thought I got lucky when I found the Question Generator at the University of Hertfordshire (no longer exists). But in fact, it requires you to ask the questions, so is in fact completely incorrectly named. It’s like calling a camera a “photo printer”, really.

Pay dirt seemed close when I came across the Random Question Generator. It seemed just what the world needs. Sadly, it isn’t. The first question it proposed was “When did your sentience proof count the cumulonimbus cloud?” That’s not even a sentence, let alone a question. Ask that at a party, and within minutes they’d be dragging you out in a straight-jacket.

Sadly, the Question Generator awaits creation. Until then, Ryan, we will all have to rely on rote learning general purpose questions, and repeating them at what appear to be appropriate moments.

But there’s good news in all of this. There’s a good question that you can use in the future: “Why is it so hard to find an online tool that generates questions that can be used in social situations to resolve the difficulty that we now face, which is that I can’t think of anything interesting to say?”

Chris’s Answer

The best way to avoid the problem of having to think of things to ask is to be arrested on suspicion of murder. Not only will the cops expect you to stay silent, but whenever you do ask a question, your interrogator will say something like “I’m the one asking the questions, not you!”

The next time you are at a loss for words at a party, remember this simple question: “Can I get you another drink?” Then take their glass, and get them a re-fill at the bar. Then secretly slip in a lethal dose of barbiturates into their drink, and happily hand it back to them.

They’ll drink up quickly as you both stand around trying desperately to think of something to ask. Then, they’ll fall over. You can ask “Are you all right?” “What’s wrong?” and “Can someone call an ambulance?”

Within a few days, the toxicology reports will come back, and you’ll be arrested.

With luck, you’ll be put into a maximum security cell. With no one around to talk to for 23 hours a day, you’ll have plenty of time to invent and perfect a Question Generator to help others in your predicament.

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