Monday, December 14, 2009

I drink because I work with the public.

You know how people (librarians, mostly) always say, "Oh, no - there are no stupid questions" when they're trying to make someone feel better about whatever question they're asking?

Well, I'm going to break with tradition here and say that, yes, there are stupid questions. Lots of them, in fact, and they're frequently asked at my desk. For example...

Patron: "Do you have any um...German books? I don't know where to look. You know - like ones that are like, German-to-American?"

Me: "Well...sure. Okay, I'll show you." I guided her to the shelf containing the library's small collection of German-English dictionaries, deciding that I would just smile blandly and not venture into linguistics. I muffled a sigh on the walk back to my desk, telling myself that it would be most undignified if I were to run sobbing from the building.

20 comments:

Old NFO said...

Sad but true Breda- You should get the dumb questions I sometimes get from PHDs... wanta talk about facepalm time... sigh...

MedicMatthew said...
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MedicMatthew said...
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MedicMatthew said...

It falls over into healthcare as well.

Scene- the back of an ambulance moving very fast to the hospital. Our fearless hero has acquired EKG's, started IV's, given aspirin & nitroglycerin and has determined based on his interpretation of the 12 lead EKG that our patient is actively having his sixth heart attack all at the age of 50. A report has been made to the receiving hospital and upon arrival the patient will move directly to the cardiac catheterization lab. The ambulance is just backing in to the emergency department...

Patient: Let me ask you something.
Me: Okay.
Patient: My cardiologist told me after my first heart attack that he thinks I should take some heart medicine but I don't know as I really need to so I never got the prescription filled What do you think?"
Me: Well, it is your choice, die now or live to see your grandchildren. Your call buddy.


**sorry, first comment had a typo

minimedic said...

Hm. I just fell in love with two new blogs with this...Medic Matthew, you just became my hero.

And yes, there are such things as stupid questions...and stupid people, for that matter!

Anonymous said...

I've always liked the phrase, "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people that ask questions".

Crustyrusty said...

Anon. #6-

Bingo.

Lissa said...

Anonymous, I've always gone with, "There are no stupid questions. Only stupid people."

Stuart the Viking said...

I have always heard the quote to be:

There are no stupid questions, just inquisitive idiots.

s

Mark said...

As a former Civil War reenactor, i can also tell you that there are indeed stupid questions. We got certain ones so often we had ready answers for them, such as:

(Asked at Fort Mifflin in Philly, which has a big sign on it saying it was built in 1776) Why did they build the fort so close to the air port? George Washington needed a place to land Air Force One.

Are you really a Civil War veteran? Do I LOOK 150 years old?

(In Gettysburg National Park) What do they do with the monuments in the winter? They take them indoors of course!

Why did they always have battles in national parks? You wouldn't want them fighting on your property, would you?

Why aren't there bullet holes in the monuments? The soft lead bullets would just splatter on the granite, the drummer boys would go around afterward and scrape off the lead so it could be re-used.

Do you use real bullets during the battle reenactments? Sure, we all wear Kevlar uniforms.

Mind you, these questions were asked, regularly, by adults. I could understand some of them from six-year-olds, but...

jdege said...

Actually, my favorite was from Mammoth Cave. On being told that there are 367 miles of explored cavern, someone in every group always asks how many miles of unexplored cavern there are.

Joanna said...

How many miles of unexplored cavern? Why don't you go find out. Go on, we'll wait for you.

aaron said...

Of course there are stupid questions. They're the questions stupid people ask. It's not as if they're going to become intelligent just long enough to ask a question, then immediately revert to their previous stupidity.

TJP said...

You didn't take them to the shelf with Mein Kampf? How could you resist?


WV = "tacistor"; a tactical electrical component, often used in conjunction with the tacpacitor and the tacductor.

LPF said...

Stuart the Viking beat me to it... so I guess I have to work with the title not the content:

"I drink to make other people interesting." -- George Jean Nathan

John said...

Look on the bright side: so as long as otherwise-functional adults are incapable of asking a coherent question, reference librarians will have jobs.

Alan said...

The "no stupid questions" meme was made up by stupid people.

lordjim said...

Don't get me started on PhD's. I remember one that asked for some strange out of print foreign language book (that ended up only available through some strange Portuguese used book dealer) a week before they needed it for class. Had it on the syllabus for 3 *&$^ months before they came in to ask for it. "But I neeeeed it."

dr mac said...

"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions ?"

-Scott Adams

Y.T. said...

The person could have been asking about books that have german text on the odd pages and that text translated into English on the even pages.

I have some of those, they're not bad if you are learning the language.

I confess I don't know the proper designation for these editions.

BTW.. Richard Feynman once made a librarian gasp by asking whether they have a 'map of a cat'.