One of the most common refrains heard in school and workplace conference rooms is that there’s no such thing as a dumb question, OR, if there is such a thing, the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked.
I hate to tell you this, but that shit is absolutely false, ludicrous and Plymouth Rock-landed-on-you-level nincompoopery.
Look—and I don’t know how else to say this but bluntly and honestly—but bruh, fam, whoadie, boo ... not only is there such a thing as a dumb question, but people are out here asking them with tremendous aplomb, enthusiastically lobbing stupidity, running amok with fuckery, proving social Darwinists right, and ultimately setting e’rybody back regardless of race, creed or color.
Now, I don’t intend this to sound mean; I’m actually a pretty sweet chap. The truth is, I’m a dumb-question magnet, so I’ve come to obtain an odd appreciation for the art form. If there’s a dumb question sitting on the lips of a person who should know better, it comes my way about 60 percent of the time. Ultimately, I’m fine with it—I just don’t want people thinking that dumb questions don’t exist.
We should define some shit for the culture:
dumb question. noun. a pontification better left to the Googles or just damn knowing better than espoused publicly, typically out loud or through social media channels where other people with similarly nonsensical voids of knowledge dwell. Also, never go Eric Benet.
(I’d like to draw a VERY significant distinction between dumb questions and questions asked when high, which usually tend to skew toward mind-blowingly deep and perhaps earth-shattering. Questions like, why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? That shit? Deep.)
I hear you looking at me. Panama, what are some examples of dumb questions? I’m glad you asked. Here is but a sampling, a smattering, really, of questions that might be deemed dumb at worst and better left unsaid at best.
Do I need a passport to get to Hawaii? Was Barack Obama born in America? What’s next, what’s next, what’s NEXT? Is racism really a thing? Is Donald Trump just misunderstood? Why doesn’t Obama get more flak for how he handled Hurricane Katrina? Obamacare is a disaster, unlike the Affordable Care Act ... that’s much better than that bullshit Obama came up with (pretend that’s a question by adding your own question mark).
Short list, but I think you get the point. Luckily, I tend to be one of those people who believe in living their best altruistic life. You see, I bathe in sunshine and unicorn dander, so that makes me want to help people who can’t seem to help themselves; I’m really a philanthropist, if you think about it (think about it).
I dance even when I don’t hear music because my heart is full of the emotions Mariah Carey sang about when she was white. So if you are somebody who has ever been concerned about asking a dumb question, here are a few questions to ask yourself first (we shall call them “not dumb questions”) to determine if you need to ask that questionable-ass question within earshot of God’s good graces.
1. Is the answer a Google search away?
Yes. Yes, it is. It always is. While Google may lead you astray—for a while, Ja Rule’s Wikipedia page was just cruel—chances are SOME version of the truth is available in this post-Ask Jeeves world we live in. Plus, you have a phone (most likely); use that bitch.
2. If I ask this question, is there even a gnat’s-ass chance that I will be judged appropriately for NOT doing a Google search (see No. 1) or having the wherewithal to have thought that through a little bit more? If the answer is yes, am I physically able to do the Googles in the moment or think it through?
I see what you did there. You’re saying you might not be able to Google in the moment, but you really want to know. That’s fair. But if the question itself might be questionable, why not save that shit for later, unless you’re in friendly company that knows your heart and understands that you ask questions that nobody should be asking out loud, but you’re fun so it’s not really a big deal. Also, if you just can’t think shit through a little bit more, then it’s probably not your fault. It’s your education.
3. Is this question well outside the range of my technical know-how? Does this question require technical know-how?
If the answer is yes, it’s not a dumb question; it requires actual topic-specific knowledge. UNLESS you’re talking about a fuckin’ Keurig or something and you can’t figure out where to put the K-Cup. If you ask me, bruh, you are ABSOLUTELY getting the “That’s a dumb-ass question, bruh bruh” face. It goes to the north, yeah, that way. But if we’re talking about shit that was in Hidden Figures, then, yeah, you good. Ask all the questions.
4. Do I really even need to ask this question?
Similar but different from realizing you can Google it. For instance—which is how the French say “for instance”—you might need to Google some shit like how many minutes are in an hour. Sure, you should already know that, but maybe English wasn’t your subject in school, ya dig? Plus, some public schools don’t even got books.
But there are questions that Google ain’t gonna answer that you probably should just kind of be aware of, like, “Do women really have to deal with sexism?” If that’s a question you genuinely grapple with, regardless of gender, then, like that dude said to O-Dog before O killed him in Menace II Society, “I feel sorry for your mother.” Yes, that’s a dumb question that you shouldn’t have to ask, and that “for instance” thing was a joke, in case you were sincerely perplexed. Dumb question. See how that works?
Follow these rules and you’ll have mad bread to break up, if not 24 years on the wake up. But most importantly, and above all else, just know that there are dumb questions out there lurking, and you, too, can help prevent forest fires.