Jul 30, 2008

I’m glad you asked

The four words you seldom want to hear. These four words are normally followed by a long story that contains way too much detail and insignificance to your own life. In an ironic manner, “I’m glad you asked” is often later followed by the four word thought, “I’m sorry I asked.” So, what does this four-word question have to do with my blog and how does it concern you? I’m glad you asked.

Sometimes I want to answer certain questions with a much simpler two-word phrase: “Don’t ask.” For example, when someone asks me how National Championships went, I’m not going to perk up and say, “I’m glad you asked” and then explain how I had a horrible race and finished 11th. I’d much rather just say, “Don’t ask” and let that person use his/her imagination of a painful, horrible, and disastrous race. Actually, let’s create an official scale. “Don’t ask” in mountain bike racing terms translates into any finish outside of the top 5; and in road racing terms, to any finish outside the top 10.

Beware that a similar scale CANNOT be applied to everyday life. If you ask someone, “How was your day?” and they say, “Don’t ask”, you can automatically assume that they’ve had a bad day and they don’t want to talk about it. End of conversation. Simple, yet effective. However there is a flipside to this question in everyday life. If you ask someone, “How was your day?” and they answer, “I’m glad you asked”, then they’re obviously willing to talk about it whether they had a bad or good day. In that case, the asker is probably screwed because he/she is about to get an earful of way too much detail and insignificant information, as I brought up earlier. Or, the answer to “How was your day?” could be, “Why do you ask?” and that’s not good either because it sounds standoffish and that’s just bad manners.

The only time it’s appropriate to answer a question with “Why do you ask?” is when someone asks something like, “You live in Muscoy, right?” or “Is that your red convertible Mustang parked out front?” Often times a question like that is followed by bad news. Actually, the answer to those questions can also be followed by bad news. If the straight forward answer to either of those questions is “Yes”, then the chances are you’re already down on your luck because you live in Muscoy or you’re an idiot because you drive a red convertible Mustang.

Anyway, how did the state race up at Rim Nordic go this weekend? Don’t ask.

I got sixth, but it sure beats living in Muscoy or being the owner of red convertible Mustang. That's just tacky.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with a red Mustang?
Mentone elitism?

JOY said...

I usually say "i'm busy" or "you don't want to know" that usually elevates any pressure of verbal involvement.