An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend...
God... if you're Out There can I ask You a Question?
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha'Tara]
Well now, apart from discussing the weather, how about this?
What is the absolute stupidest question anyone can ask in a tête-à-tête or an interview?
"Can I ask you a question?"
I recently got involved in a conference call with the bureaucrats who are doing their damned best to destroy my job (or at least the meaning of it) and the human resources newbie teen-ager interviewing me asked that question.
I wanted to play games with her mind, but time was pressing (these people are on the clock and then some!) so I let it pass and replied with the standard, "Sure."
I realize now I should have made an issue of it because that question is very much at the center of everything that's wrong with the way things are going. Meaning: who thinks?
Let's say you are being interviewed about a crime committed in your neighborhood which the authorities are trying to solve by questioning the locals in the hope of getting new information.
Cop shrink: "Can I ask you a question?"
Let the bells and whistles go off all at once, and listen to them, not to the question itself, because it is utterly inane.
Because there is no answer to that question, no matter how you turn it. No right answer, that is.
First, and obviously, the interviewer has already asked the question, without your permission. "Can I ask you a question?" is in fact a question. That is the end of that one. By asking the question, the interviewer has already violated the intent of the question.
The second, and even more obviously is, if you've agreed to the interview, isn't it totally redundant to ask if you can be asked a question? How else do you conduct an interview, I ask?
The third and most important part is, how can anyone answer that? If you say, well, that depends on what you're going to ask, that is the end of that conversation because if the interviewer answers you at that point, that constitutes a violation of the question, "Can I ask you a question?" because you have yet to say yeah or nay.
Yes, how can anyone honestly answer that question? You have to expect a trick question, otherwise the questioner would not ask, "Can I ask...?" so the logical answer, if there is one, is: "NO!"
Interviewer: "OK, thanks for your time."
And that terminates the interview... as it should.
Because if your interview is like mine, it wasn't worth the time and effort it took to prep for it, and to discharge myself of it.
Now then, God, if you are really out there, can I ask you a question? I bet you figured it out long ago, and that's why you don't answer, eh? Maybe you're smarter than I thought after all, your religious followers notwithstanding. So I'm not asking you any questions but if you want to talk, no prompting, no quid pro quo, no hidden agenda, I'm here, anytime, day or night. Don't worry about the doormat at the entrance that says, "I've found God" –I too can lie like a mat.