Ostomy Memories of Questions


HERE’S A TRITE TRUISM:  There’s no such thing as a stupid question.  They wouldn’t be asking if they didn’t want to know, and wanting to know is a good thing.  That’s how we learn; that’s how we grow; that’s how we survive.  As magnificent an instrument as is the human brain, we only use part of it, after all, and learning is an active, adventurous, two-way street that requires work, whether inside or outside the box.  “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew),” wrote Rudyard Kipling in 1902.  “Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”  I guess whoever wrote the famous ‘Who’s on first?’ sketch for Abbott and Costello was digging deeper than we thought.  Sometimes the answer to a question is predictably obvious:  “Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth…?” or “Do you take this woman to be…?”  Sometimes there are only two possible answers:  “Do you want fries with that?” or “What is the jury’s verdict?”  But it can get complicated.  “How does it work?” or “Why would he say that?” or “What’s in it for me?”  The catch, of course, is that the questioner then has to listen closely and critically to the response, since there is no guarantee that the person to whom the question is addressed knows the answer.  So, here’s another question:  is the answer true, false, or, as Mae West once described herself, “pure as the driven slush”?


"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap".....Dolly Parton.

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Reply to veejay

You gotta love Dolly Parton...


Very interesting, Henry. Questions are always a positive thing. I think one of life's great miscommunications and missed opportunities is when one asks a simple question but gets a complicated answer (the questioner then emotionally shuts down) or asks a question where several layers of information are desired but gets too simple an answer, leaving the questioner frustrated. This happens when people don't truly listen, they're just hearing.

Reply to eefyjig

You're right.  It also happens when the question is being put to a pol who doesn't wish to give a complete answer, an unfortunately all too common occurrence.

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

The question I ask, usually to myself more so than to others, is... WTF?

Reply to AlexT

Too often the appropriate reaction these days... 


Hello HenryM.

Thank you once again for prompting consideration of a concept which is surely central to the learning process.

I spent years formulating and developing a ‘system’ to encourage and enable people to ask their own questions and find their own answers . This process was labelled ‘Constructive Conversations ‘and formed the central core of my work with people who had difficulty controlling their  emotions, to the extent that their emotions got in the way of logical thinking.

Having written several books on the subject, I will resist the temptation to  elaborate  about the process and the efficacy of the results. However, alongside the academic monologues written at the time, I also documented my work in rhyme. Hence,  I am able to share just one of these to support your contention that asking questions is indeed an important pastime.

Best wishes





I think it’s good to question life.
And cut the crap with a sharp knife.
Look at all the things you’ve done.
To see where you have lost or won.


This will help you get to know.
Which is your best way to go.
The questions are all there for you.
So start to question all you knew.


There’s much to make you raise concerns.
About life’s many twists and turns.
By asking questions you might find.
Many answers spring to mind.


If you want to cure an ill.
Questioning’s a useful skill.
To really know what it’s about.
You need to try the questions out.


You need to practice every day.
And learn how questions interplay.
No matter how much time is spent.
Make your questions relevant.


Once the questions have been asked.
Then the answers are unmasked.
For asking questions is the key.
To open doors and set you free.


The questions that you ask right now.
May be what or who or how.
But if you want to get somewhere.
Don’t forget the when and where.


Here’s some other questions -‘Whink’,
Which simply asks you ‘what you think’.
‘Whem’ is ‘what emotions’ flow.
‘Whelse’ – ‘what else’ keeps you on the go.


All these questions lay foundations.
For constructive conversations.


                                                                B. Withers 2012

(P257 In:  'A Thesis on Constructive Conversations Inversed' 2012)  

Reply to Bill

Love that Bill XX

Reply to Bill

I love this one, Bill!

Reply to AlexT

Good question. Not really a question though, it is a query.


Is it true, Henry, that lawyers are told never to ask a witness a question that they don't know the answer to?


Are there really no stupid questions? Can we make an exception for when Jessica Simpson asked, "I know this is fish, but is it chicken?" while eating her can of "Chicken of The Sea" tuna?


Reply to bowsprit

My understanding is that this is a self-imposed rule that good lawyers live by. If they ask a question they don't know the answer to, they might get an answer that bites them in the butt.


Reply to bowsprit

Our all-knowing Terry has correctly responded to your query.  The key to lawyering, especially in a trial setting, is preparation, and good prep should include sufficient info to be able to know what answer a witness will give before you ask it.  That's one reason for taking depositions, for instance.  You not only learn what the witness will say, if you later end up with what's called a turncoat witness, and he changes his testimony, you can confront him with his earlier answer in front of the jurors (impeachment).  Asking a witness a question in front of a jury when you have no idea what he's going to say is malpractice, in my opinion.  Personally, cross-examination was my favorite part of trying a case, the challenge to make a witness look bad and, given the quality of witnesses often used in criminal cases, sometimes it was like shooting fish in a bucket.  Here's a somewhat related joke/story:  an anesthesiologist is on the witness stand in a boring civil trial and the lawyer attempts a joke by suggesting that the two of them have similar jobs, i.e., putting people to sleep, and the anesthesiologist responds, "Yeh, but at least I wake them up."

Reply to bowsprit

I don't know... a question and a query are kind of the same thing.  Alex's WTF is more of a reaction to something.

Reply to TerryLT

My attorney brother would agree wholeheartedly! Bromet, a fellow attorney in court, and the other attorneys said he was quitting his criminal law practice. Why? He said that he knew it was time to change his area of law when he was afraid to get into an elevator with his own client!!!

Better Call Saul

Reply to AlexT

Doesn't WTF stand for World Theatre Festival? Why are you reminded of that so frequently?

Reply to bowsprit

Cause I see people being so dramatic and acting like everything is a tragedy in life. It took me a minute to incorporate acting lingo cause I have no clue on the subject, obviously.

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