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Maybe I’m just turning into a cranky, impatient, snarky old bastard.
I suppose that would make sense, given that I’ve been a cranky, impatient, snarky youngish bastard for quite a while now. Why the hell should I change now?
Anyway. One thing I’ve found that makes me cranky and snarky and that I have no patience for is people asking rhetorical questions. And then waiting for a damned answer. Oooh, that makes my eyeballs twitch.
Now, this is not a new phenomenon for me. I’ve railed against this ridiculous, pointless behavior for most of my life. To be honest, there was one member of my immediate family, who shall remain nameless (*cough* *kaff* mother… *cough* *cough*), that was way guilty of this nonsense. I spent the better part of my childhood having exchanges like this:
News Anchor on TV: …the would-be burglar required a rescue when he got himself stuck in the family’s chimney, and was unable to escape.
Unnamed Immediate Family Member: Tsk. That’s just stupid. What the hell is wrong with people?
Me: (Just let it go… leave it at that… let it go…)
*long uncomfortable pause*
Me: (Okay, good. That’s the end of –)
Unnamed Immediate Family Member: Well?!
Me: Um… what?
Unnamed Immediate Family Member: I said, what the hell is wrong with people?
And folks, there’s no good answer for that. Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people. How the hell should I? Frankly, if I had to guess, I’d say that there’s probably all sorts of things wrong with people — some of them are crazy, others are brain-damaged… I imagine a lot of them are just plain ignorant.
But these are just guesses. There’s no way to know what the hell is wrong with people, so why ask the damned question? And more to the point, why demand an answer? We’re all allowed a few unanswerable questions now and then — ‘Why is the sky blue?‘, for instance. Or maybe, ‘Why is Jack such a raging asshole?‘. Or ‘Just who the hell do you think you are?‘
And that’s fine — I’m willing to give people a pass on those. Just so long as they don’t stand there, toe tapping, waiting for a damned answer. There are no answers! And if there were, then obviously I wouldn’t know them, would I? It’s just damned rude, if you ask me.
To me, the real crime is that this particular brand of bullshit shifts all the burden to reasonable people like me. See, I’m the one capable of having a normal, legitimate conversation, free of impossibly unknowable queries, and yet I’m the one who comes off looking like an asshole when I roll my eyes, or lash out, or savagely beat the questioner with a table lamp. Hey, I didn’t ask the rhetorical question — this shit isn’t my fault.
I think there should be a code word of some kind to get out of this situation. Whenever somebody asks you a question that you couldn’t possibly answer, and then pushes you for an answer, I think you ought to be able to say a single word that will let them, and everyone else around you, know what kind of asininery is going on. Something you wouldn’t accidentally use in other areas of conversation, like — I don’t know — how about ‘Asstweaker!’ Or maybe ‘Peeniepopper!’ Would you believe ‘Hamslapper’?
Okay, so the word itself needs some work. Still, the point is valid — there should be a word that is an answer, the answer, to all those questions that have no answers available. And it should be a word that makes everyone around immediately take notice, and stare all at once at whoever prompted the word to be screamed into the ether. That’s the only way these people will learn, folks. I’m just trying to make the world a better place is all. Who’s with me on this one?Permalink | 3 Comments
Well, ‘Unnamed Immediate Family Member’ was probably expecting an answer because ‘What the hell is wrong with people?’ is not a rhetorical question since the answer is so glaringly obvious. They are stupid. All of ’em. Especially when they drive.
Man, why are snarky old bastards bugged by rhetorical questions anyway? ;-)
Uhh sorry but asstweaker is out, that is what I call the people I work with!
I think I’ll just stick will “fucktard” it’s always worked well for me.
Asstweaker just leaves too much room to be taken offensivly by gay men.