Stupid Questions

January 22, 2012
My teachers have lied to me since I was seven. Every year, they've reassured my class that there are no stupid questions. But, recently, I've discovered that I ask stupid questions all the time – some are irrelevant, some are obvious, and most are far from scholarly.
Throughout the day, a puzzled voice chirps these questions into my eardrum. As the questions “how did medieval people with poor eyesight see?” and “where do roadkill go?” resonate in my head, they naturally seep out through my lips. My family, accustomed to hearing me make random inquiries, chooses to ignore them. When my intonation rises, my sister doesn't even look at me. When I begin a sentence with “why,” my mom tells me to Google it.
Although my family dismisses these questions as annoying, I picture them as fuel for the furnace of curiosity. Without discriminating between insightful and obvious inquiries, the embers alight from any source of nourishment. As the flames grow, each question builds upon the prior – “how did medieval people with poor eyesight see?” evolves into “what precipitated the invention of eyeglasses?” – until magic happens. I understand the impact of literacy in a whole new context. Spontaneously, I gasp with inspiration, a gust big enough to blow out the mental wildfire, thereby creating fertile ground for a dull question on another day.
I'm able to have these mini-epiphanies because of the allegedly stupid questions I ask. I acknowledge that my questions aren’t scholarly, but I’ve already found that it’s impossible to change the way my brain works. Sometimes, a one-line statement from Wikipedia is enough to satisfy my curiosity. More often than not, I need more. My ideas may be silly and erratic, but they're the unpredictable products of my thought process. Since I do quite a bit of thinking every day, I've accepted that for me, thinking begins with a stupid question.
Even though I've been asking random questions since I could formulate complete sentences, the spool of intriguing topics never seems to run out. When my mom enrolled me in kindergarten, she hoped that going to school would abate my curiosity, but it's only expanded it. As I learn more, the questions quadruple – which means a lot of Googling. Despite the annoyed looks I receive and the awkward silences that follow my unanswered inquiries, my mind is free to zip-line from one thought to another, all branching off from an “irrelevant” question. Then, I suppose, my teachers are right. There are no stupid questions because they develop into something greater, maybe even something scholarly. It’s evolution at its finest.





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Caravana said...
Feb. 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm
great job! This essay really flows well and has great imagery :)
 
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