Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It makes me feel unimportant to someone when they begin a conversation with the one word, "Question." Sometimes they might vary this a little by saying, "A question." Or maybe, "Oh I have a question for you." If the word, "question" appears in the first sentence then I wonder about that person’s manners.

Polite society says that you should always greet a person with a, "Hello" or some other harmless introductory word or phrase. Then after pleasantries have been exchanged, you can present the goal of the conversation from your point of view. In this way, you ease into the question; sort of like dipping your foot in the pool to test the temperature before performing a cannonball to splash people at the poolside.

At least that is what my mother taught me.

I don’t have a need to be important to everyone, but it annoys me when people walk right up to me and say, "Question." It reminds me of Dwight from the office. He is socially inept and oblivious of that fact. I am certain that people who speak to me in that way do not fit into that category, socially inept. So I can only believe that they do not care enough about me to extend the conversation for an additional 5 seconds.

I do, however, love Jim (another character from the office) when he imitates Dwight in episode 21 "Product Recall," in Season 3, and begins a conversation with the word, "Question."

Typography (, or this more complete version.

Now, should someone begin a conversation with the magic word, I will interrupt with this-

Random Person: Question.

Me: Question. What kind of bear is best?

Random Person: That's a ridiculous question (not really sure what they will say, this is what Dwight said in return).

Me: False. Black bear.

Random Person: That's debatable. There are basically two schools of thought-- (not really sure what they will say, this is what Dwight said in return)

Me: Fact. Bears eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Random Person: Bears do not... What is going on?! What are you doing?! (not really sure what they will say, this is what Dwight said in return)

I will not reply to anyone in this way as an attempt to disrespect them, but for my own personal amusement. In this case I am being proactive, preparing a response in an attempt to lighten the moment, for myself. If they get the joke, great. If not, perhaps they will not approach me with that word first the next time they want to know something, and I will get what I truly want. Just a, "Hey, how are you doing today?" would be nice.


Al said...

At approximately 12:05 pm I was able to put this into practice today! The person got the reference and we both laughed. Mission accomplished.

Thunder said...

I agree! When someone, and it's usually the same couple of people over and over, approach me that way it puts my teeth on edge. I will try to start a conversation, not about bears, with the next one and see what happens. Thanks, Al.

Al said...

Follow up- I had to make a few end of the year announcments in front of the entire staff. A few people who knew about my bear pledge decided to put me to the test. When I took a break in the announcements, one of them spoke up with "Question." With a microphone in my hand, I calmly repeated the bear conversation.
And 85 out of 90 people in the room did not understand what I was doing. I did laugh a little on the inside and 5 people did get a kick out of it so it was worth it!

Hip Sean said...

That’s Awesome… I’m going to try and practice this as well and will report back when it happens. I will use the whole “Bears” bit too.

If I am able to pull this off to the couple of people I have in mind that do this they will probably think I’m an idiot however, as you said they will probably think twice before approaching me with that kind of conversation starter again and I will thank Al every time.