Never ask hypochondriacs how they’re feeling. They just might tell you and that’s going to be one long conversation, and very one-sided at that. There’s a lot of questions we’d be better off not asking. Curious beings that we are, we’re relentless with the questions, and that’s mostly a good thing, and leads to a whole lot of discovery and enlightenment. Like our teachers told us, if you don’t know, ask, and you shall learn. Pretty sound advice on the face of it, but its companion adage, “there are no stupid questions,” flies in the face of human experience. There are lots of stupid questions, a plethora of things we just should never ask. Consider these:

“Is that thing loaded?” Rarely is there a good outcome when this question is asked.

“What does this button do?” See above, and whatever you do, don’t press that button.

“What’s your problem?” Unless you’re a doctor addressing a patient, there’s no possible good answer for that one. Similarly: “What’s wrong with you?”

What did they put in this delicious sausage?” Shut up and eat. There are some things you do not want to know.

“Why does Jesus want gay people to die and rich ones to pay no taxes?” Depending upon who you ask, you could start a riot, initiate a convoluted argument with an ignorant buffoon or make Glen Beck cry again.

“Who’s got the best college football team this year?” Depending on who you ask, you could start a riot, initiate a convoluted argument with an ignorant buffoon or make all the sportscasters cry again.

“Why don’t corporations recruit the salesmen who talk young men in the prime of their lives into blowing themselves up?” Actually, that’s a good question. Those guys could sell snow shovels in Brazil. Sales Rep of the year? It’s Mullah Jihad again!

“If a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it, will it still squash Bambi like a bug?” Yes. Yes it will.

“Wanna see the scar from my operation?” No, most definitely not.

“Have you had that looked at?” Before asking this question, make sure the person actually has something wrong with them an isn’t just plain old ugly. That could be pretty awkward.

“What if I don’t want to take my shoes off?” If you ask this in an airport, the next question will involve how you feel about a full body cavity search.

“What’s under that kilt?” Well, what the hell do you think is under that kilt?

“What could be the harm in it?” Whatever it is you ask this one about, rest assured there will be a great deal of harm in it.

“Is that your natural hair color?” The next two things you’ll wonder about is if that bright red complexion is her natural skin tone and how someone who weighs 115 pounds can pack such a wallop.

“Do think that paint is still wet?” Only one way to find out, isn’t there?

“How long before Afghanistan becomes a stable democracy?” That would be when someone invents a time machine that can transport entire nations from The Dark Ages to the present, or maybe when Barack Obama’s great-great grandson is conferring with his generals on how many soldiers, tanks and warplanes it’s going to take to convince Afghanis we are their BFF.

“Why haven’t you joined Twitter yet?” This question is yet one more annoying message from slackers with too much time on their hands and the misconception that everyone wants to know the blow-by-blow details of their tedious lives.

“Are you going to finish that?” Yes, I am planning on finishing that, now that you mention it. That was the whole idea when I ordered it. Thanks for asking, though.

“Why didn’t I think of that?” Because someone else did.

“Want to see the latest pictures of my dog?” Unless your dog is posing with the Playmate of The Month, expect a negative reply.

“Guess what?” Nobody feels like guessing what’s on your mind. Spit it out.

“Does this outfit make me look fat?” Well, since you brought it up…

“Why me?” It’s got to be somebody. Why not you?

“Is that a Susquehanna Hat?” Anyone even slightly familiar with Abbott & Costello can tell you this is one question you don’t want to ask or answer.

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