Metatalktails "What would a T-Rex taste like?" edition September 12, 2021 6:55 PM   Subscribe

This Tumblr post inspires this Metatalktails starter: “What’s the weirdest question someone’s ever asked you?”

A: Probably Tough, Bitter and Poisonous.
posted by Mitheral to MetaFilter-Related at 6:55 PM (119 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

This is a great question and I'm sure whatever it was, my children asked it, but I have no idea what it was!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:56 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I used to make soap, and sell it at farmers markets. I guess the weirdest questions I got were "what kind of fudge?" And then I'd have to explain.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:38 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


When she was four or so, my daughter asked me, "Would you destroy the earth to save me?" I'm not sure if that's the weirdest question anyone ever asked me, but it was a pretty hard one to answer.
posted by Redstart at 9:00 PM on September 12 [11 favorites]


My job involves studying stuff in space and I often engage in public lectures and events. (Well, before COVID.) A little less than once a year, someone quietly pulls me aside and asks, "are aliens real?"

When I'm in a good mood, I spend a few minutes talking about how vast the universe is and how unlikely it is that we're the only life in it, followed by why I think it's pretty certain that if sapient aliens ever visit Earth we'll know about it very quickly. When I'm in a bad mood (or alone with the questioner on a rooftop), I usually say something like, "I honestly don't know. What you do you think?" Nearly everyone has a personal story about weird lights in the sky. As a pre-teen, I was a huge UFO buff, so I'm not unsympathetic.

Twenty years ago I was riding the subway and happened to be reading the book Call It Sleep. A woman got on and initially sat across the aisle. Then she very pointedly got up and moved to sit next to me and struck up a conversation about the book which made it clear she knew something about it and had interesting things to say. Her behavior was a little bit unusual. She'd sometimes stare off into the distance or not finish sentences. But, I was single and lonely and she was cute, so I was spending most of my mental energy trying to work up the courage to give up on my plans for the evening and ask her out instead.

Then, more or less out of nowhere, she asked something very close to, "how do you know what is real?" I think I made some really obnoxious philosophy 101 comment. . . and then over the next few minutes it became clear she was either hearing or seeing things that other people don't. I had no idea how to respond and probably only made her feel bad in the end by trying to reason with her. Then her stop came and she left. Looking back on it, I am ashamed that I didn't do more to make sure she at least get home safely. I hope she wound up okay.
posted by eotvos at 9:25 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Just a couple weeks ago I was gardening out front when one of the nuns down the street stopped to chat with me. After a few minutes of small talk, she turned to indicate my house and asked me "is this place some type of center?" and "I see the prayer flags.."

Um. People, I have this really raggedy bunting strung up across my porch. I made it from some strips of various (striped, floral, lace seam binding) vintage scrap fabrics. Not prayer flags. I also have a bunch of social justice signs and a free garden. Apparently the place looks like some sort of center? For people who like free vegetables and jazzy signage? I guess.

I waited tables forever and the question I got from diners that struck me as super weird/annoying was "What do I want to eat?"

HOW DO I FREAKING KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT? I get that people are asking for my suggestions as to which menu items I think they might enjoy but seriously it just left me with all the questions. How should I know what you want to eat? Is this your first time eating at a restaurant?? Do you think we have a psychic link and I am not just your waitress but also I am your taste buds??? I always responded with a big smile and a chipper "That's a great question!" followed by a blank helpful stare.

For anyone who is loving this topic: You can be the person asking weird questions! I have a habit of asking professionals about all the things. I asked my dentist if patients come in wearing lipstick/lip gloss* and he was super surprised that I asked. I also asked my chiropractor if people wear inappropriate clothing to appointments and he told me some interesting stories.

*Some people do wear sticky colorful stuff on their lips when they go to the dentist. People are weird.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 5:44 AM on September 13 [7 favorites]


My nephew, who is five, sometimes came down in the morning to visit me because I start work from home before anyone else in the house was up. He wasn't allowed to watch TV in the morning before school, so first he tried to convince me that *I* wanted to watch TV, extolling the educational and entertainment virtues of The Wild Kratts. Then he moved on to asking me questions he thought I would look up YouTube videos to explain so he could watch the YouTube videos. He asked me things like "How does the egg come out of the chicken?" and "Where does your lunch go after you eat it?" (and I'm certain he had already seen the Magic School Bus on that subject and was really hoping for a replay) and "How does electricity go through the wires?" But then he got to "How does the voice come out of your phone?" and haahaha, little does he know that when I started as a policy analyst in Telecom, they made me take a three day course on telecom engineering for non-engineers, so the poor boy had to sit there for 10 minutes while I explained the evolution of telecom technology from POTS through to 5G.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:52 AM on September 13 [42 favorites]


A fencing club I'm in had a booth at a local festival where we gave short lessons to people. Once when I was working at the booth, a woman came up and said, "Can girls do this?" I wanted to say yes, and how did you get here from the 1800s? I'm also very obviously female myself, but maybe she thought I was there to support the men and boys.

I took a tai chi class where one of the students asked the teacher, "When you do tai chi, do you mostly stay in your body?" It took a while for the teacher to really understand the question, but eventually she said that yes, she did.
posted by FencingGal at 6:15 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


From a total stranger: "Would you like to see the Ring Nebula?"
posted by JanetLand at 6:42 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


My young child: What would you do if you worked in a bank, and Bigfoot held you up?
Me: I guess I'd give him all the cryptid-currency.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:12 AM on September 13 [8 favorites]


"Erm, Auntie, does Saturn be in space and make tiny moons?"
posted by Balthamos at 7:34 AM on September 13 [7 favorites]


I'm a web developer. I was once in a sales meeting with some potential clients, explaining everything the content management system we would make for them could do. The young, entitled just-finished-my-MBA type asked "What CAN'T it do?" and smirked, like he'd just asked the best question ever.
I just stared at him for a while and then kept talking.
We didn't get the account.
posted by signal at 8:09 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Once, when I was working my high school job at the local movie theater, someone asked me if the fake butter for the popcorn was polyunsaturated fat.

Another time, when I was still living on the Lower East Side, a couple stopped me when I was walking home and asked me for directions to Cannery Row. ....Cannery Row is in Monterey, California.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


From my kids:
"What are the packets people have on their bodies?" (Eventually figured out he meant six packs)
"My friend does cake boxing. What is that?" (Eventually figured out it's *kick* boxing)
"Why would a truck company brag "95% of its drivers make it home every night"?!?!" (From a bumper sticker on an 18-wheeler. Kid thought it meant 5% of their drivers were killed each day.)
"Is there a spider web in my nose? (There wasn't)
"Don't you love the name Gigolo? And Gigolette for a girl!" (No idea where this one came from)
posted by cocoagirl at 9:21 AM on September 13 [13 favorites]


When I kept chickens I was frequently asked whether my hens could lay eggs if I didn’t have a rooster. Also, did they lay brown or white eggs according to what they ate. Other silly chicken questions I don’t remember right now.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 9:41 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


When I was in 8th grade, I was applying to a private high school that was selective in its admissions and had to sit down with my parents for an interview. The guy conducting it was in his 80s. His first two questions were: (a) "were you abused as a child?" and (b) "are you a published author?" I was so sure that I bombed the interview, but I got in. (I think later we learned that I had already gotten in and they sent us to this guy because he was revered in the community but they knew he was a little goofy.)
posted by AgentRocket at 10:28 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


I was once asked in an interview, "What's the difference between a pigeon?" My answer was, of course, "Six". I kept a straight face after answering. I was able to ask the asker a year or so later wtf. He said that my answer was the best and the point of the question was to see how I (or any interviewee) reacted to a non-sensical question under pressure. Meh for that, but if you are ever asked, "What's the difference between a pigeon?", the answer is "Six."

I have been asked, "Are you busy?" while I was carrying a 50lb bag of cement mix. "No, here hold this for a sec."
posted by AugustWest at 10:38 AM on September 13 [18 favorites]


"Would you like to see the Ring Nebula?"

I'm instantly leery of any stranger offering to show me a "ring", unless they're prominently displaying a piece of metal on their finger.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:03 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I previously mentioned the school trip to a royal event to get certificates, where I almost compromised the gastric capabilities of one of HRH's corgi dogs. On reminiscing about this with a classmate I occasionally meet up with on returns to Worcester, she bluntly reminded me that (for a change) I wasn't the biggest embarrasment to our school that day.

One of the younger pupils in our party, Lisa, got their certificate from Princess Anne. She shyly said "Can I ask a question?" Princess Anne says yes. Lisa asks "Do you poo?"

But Lisa wasn't the biggest embarrasment, either. That was Maurice, a sort of rural farming version of Bart Simpson. Princess Anne politely asked him "And what do you do, outside of school?" To which he replied "None of your fucking business." For which he got a sharp "Apologise right now!" elbow in the back from Mr Cheshire, the quietly enraged, ex-army major, sports teacher. So Maurice followed it up with "None of your fucking business, Ma'am."

Ironically, for the rest of the school term, the answer to Princess Anne's question would simply be "Detention".

+ + + + +

Many years ago Kate Bush asked me (a very flustered, red faced and internally panicking teenager) what a specific cloud, floating overhead, reminded me of. Because contextual reasons, only her and one other person know what I replied. Y'know, huh, maybe it's time to (re)start blogging and work round to that.
posted by Wordshore at 11:08 AM on September 13 [24 favorites]


"Why can't I have X for free?"

Ummm... because we got bills to pay? Because if we don't get paid I won't have a job? Because we don't get good and services for free either?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:43 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Or, "Are there any... deals?"

Yeah, the deal is you pay the stated price and you get the thing you bought. Does this look like a medieval street fair to you?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:46 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


"Don't you love the name Gigolo? And Gigolette for a girl!" (No idea where this one came from)

As answer for this one - from an old lyric: it came from The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
posted by Rash at 11:54 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Oh, just remembered. I was on the controversial "Sabbath breaking" ferry across the Sound of Harris some 15 years ago. The harbour it set off from was only a mile from my house at the time, so me and a few other (non-fundamentalist) non-churchgoing residents were "Ah, why not?" and took the hour long trip across.

Here's the photoset I took on that trip; note the poster in the window of the terminal at Berneray.

The weather was awful.

At the other side, I didn't get off (no point, as there's no buses on Harris on a Sunday so I couldn't get to any of my favourite beaches and back). Many people stayed on the ferry anyway; there were more than a few local journalists and politicians so it was a bit of a unusual atmosphere.

We waved at a few curious residents of Harris who had come out to see this first (official) Sunday ferry; they waved back. But there was one "fundie" who stood on the side of the slipway and yelled "How will it feel to go to hell?" at us. I quipped back "Warmer than Harris in April". I think he swore, or cast some kind of curse or rune, at me, I'm not sure (difficult to hear in that weather). He wasn't happy, anyway.

And then we left and retraced our route to Berneray.

For a change, our household didn't get a Christmas card from the Church minister that year, or any subsequent year. Miserable fucker.
posted by Wordshore at 12:01 PM on September 13 [14 favorites]


Years ago, when I worked in oil and gas accounting, I was showing a new temp around the office. The exchange went something like this:

"...And here's the copier. It can be a little finicky; just make sure to line your original up with this corner, so none of the text gets cut off."

"OK. Does the top corner of the page have to be in the top corner?"

I wasn't sure what she meant.

She clarified: "Like, if I put it upside-down on the glass, will the copy come out upside-down, too?"
posted by armeowda at 12:13 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Whoa, Rash, good catch! He must have picked it up elsewhere as I don't think Tony's made much of an appearance at home.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:29 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Arriving at a hacker's event, I walked to a campfire where someone who I had never met before was staring into the flames. The first words out of his mouth were 'Are you a lesbian? I bet you are.' So I replied: 'Are you drunk? I bet you are.'

And yes, he was, very much so. He did apologise later, for greeting me in such a weird and inappropriate way.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:26 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Sitting on ski chairlifts in the US, several odd questions have come up when people have heard my NZ accent or asked me where I'm from. Select highlights...

Woman on chairlift: Oh I love the accent, where you from?
Me: New Zealand!
Woman on chairlift: Oh, how is the weather in Germany this time of the year?
Me: Err...I don't know. I've never been, sorry.
Woman on chairlift:.........oh........
(I eventually let her in on where NZ is and we had a laugh - let her off the hook with "Maybe you were thinking of Zeeland in the Netherlands")

Older couple on chairlift: Oh New Zealand - we've always wanted to go. I've heard you've had a big problem last few years with pirates in New Zealand - is that right?
Me: (thinks for a second - altitude impacting all our brains): Not really pirates.......but the tiger overpopulation has been really bad recently - it can be quite dangerous out of the cities.
Older couple on chairlift: Hmm hmm yes..........we'd probably do a guided trip if we go.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:02 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


Once many years ago, I was at the dinner table with my family and my youngest sister, in a very serious voice and apropos of nothing, asked the table what our "least favorite bird was".

My sister is in her 30s, but every now and then during a conversation loll, one of us will turn to her and say, dramatically "More importantly... what's your least favorite bird?" She... really wishes we would let that one go :)
posted by silverstatue at 2:16 PM on September 13 [21 favorites]


Decades ago I was in alcohol detox. I was pretty shaky the first day. Guy in a white coat came into my room and asked me, "What do the voices tell you to do?"

I just sat there for a second, kinda shocked. And then I calmly explained that I don't hear voices. Later I understood why he asked.
posted by Splunge at 2:59 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


BTW, a T-Rex would taste like chicken. Or more to the point, due to evolution, a chicken tastes like T-Rex.
posted by Splunge at 3:05 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


I love that Tumblr post. Paleontologists are wonderful people.

I'm afraid that *I* may have asked the weirdest question of the day at the aquarium last week. Giddy to be there with practically no one else around (as opposed to the usual pre-pandemic crowd scene), I decided to avail myself of the starfish petting exhibit.

As I stroked a spiny starfish back, I considered how very often these starfish get touched, as opposed to their wild compatriots. So I asked the docent manning the exhibit, "What do they think is happening?"

He looked momentarily nonplussed, but then he brightened and said, "Oh! They don't have brains! So they don't really think anything is happening."

I also petted a bunch of manta rays. They clearly thought that I was going to feed them minnows and were a bit annoyed when I didn't have any.
posted by merriment at 3:40 PM on September 13 [15 favorites]


I was in Vanuatu last year and someone heard I'd lived in LA for a while. Their question was, "Have you ever met Rambo? I heard he lives in LA."

"You mean the actor Sylvester Stallone? Yes, I've met him."

"No. Rambo. From the Rambo movies."
posted by dobbs at 4:22 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


Also, I sell vinyl records for a living and a customer once asked me how much WD-40 I use to clean them.
posted by dobbs at 4:41 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


1.

"I will give 100 u.s. dollars for copy of 'Battleship Potemkim'"

2.

My sister asked me in 1993 if I was being recruited by the "State Department" because a Kirby salesman and the postal inspector stopped by her house in the space of 9 days.
posted by clavdivs at 4:53 PM on September 13


I am a librarian who often works the reference desk and STILL there is one stand-out answer. I was working at the reference desk at the University of Washington's Natural Sciences library and a guy came in and asked me if I could tell him what fisting was. This was in the mid-90s very much before the WWW was a thing. I can usually tell when people are messing with me and this guy seemed like he really didn't know the answer, hence the question. So, since I knew the answer, I tried to explain it in as dispassionate a way as possible and recommended a Suzie Bright book to check out of the library if he wanted to know more. The poor guy was clearly horrified, did not know it was a sex thing, and basically got out of there as quickly as possible.

I often tell this story for a few reasons, but mainly that in this situation a librarian can be in a sort of inadvertent power position w/r/t the person asking the question; how you respond to someone in that brief moment can color how they feel about and use library services moving forward. This makes it difficult when you get people who you do feel are asking you questions just to mess around with you. I've been pretty lucky in that I've had very very few of the latter kind of question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:58 PM on September 13 [31 favorites]


When I was in university I lived way out in the sticks. Some meteor shower came around and I invited everyone in my gaming group out to the acreage for a viewing party. Well it turns out one of our group was a big city boy through and through which we discovered when he pointed at the Milky Way and asked "What is that?"

People from small countries often don't get how big Canada is. Working at a resort in BC you get questions that make this plain fairly regularly. The best one I got was an inquiry of where they should have dinner that night in Niagara Falls. They were heart broken when I explained that driving flat out Niagara was 40+ hours away.
posted by Mitheral at 5:15 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


People from small countries often don't get how big Canada is.

Some friends in LA once called me in Toronto to say they were going skiing in Terrace, BC and I should "drop by". I told them they were further away from me in Terrace than they were in LA and they said, "You could have just said you weren't interested."
posted by dobbs at 5:22 PM on September 13 [19 favorites]


I had a lot when I worked at the record store. The weirdest (and most sincere) circa 2013:

“Hey,, I’m really getting into John Lennon. You think he’ll put out any new stuff soon?”
posted by thivaia at 5:38 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Typically, during the first session with a mental health practitioner, they ask you a battery of questions designed to reveal your state of mind. One of the most obvious and most frequently asked is, “Are you feeling suicidal?” But only once in the past 35 years have I been asked, “Are you feeling suicidal? No? How about homicidal?”

I was so delighted to be asked this that it really took a monumental exercise of will not to say yes, in accordance with the “Don’t joke about bombs in the airport” rule of self-preservation.
posted by scratch at 5:53 PM on September 13 [13 favorites]


“Hey,, I’m really getting into John Lennon. You think he’ll put out any new stuff soon?”

Oh dear. I asked my brother a similar question about Scott Joplin in about 1974, right after The Sting came out.
posted by FencingGal at 6:11 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Speaking of John Lennon, one of my friends kids asked him what was the name of the band Paul McCartney was in before Wings.
posted by AugustWest at 6:19 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I do tech support, but with the pandemic, there is only 1 or maybe 2 other people in the building, as opposed to 100+. A helpdesk guy comes in, probably in case I have a heart attack or something. But I sometime overhear his calls when I'm not busy, since he sits 20 feet away or so. He had an employee call in to get a password reset. Normally, he asks them their security question, then resets their password to a generic password and asks them to reset it to their preferred new password after that. So it was the weekend and a nurse called to get her password reset. He reset it to Sunday7!, that being the day of the week, and date of the month, and an exclamation point at the end, to get a special character in it. She asked if the exclamation point was the key with a line on top and a dot below it.
posted by baegucb at 7:05 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


One day in French class when I was in high school, we were quietly working on a some assignment when one student piped up earnestly, "Is France anywhere near Paris?" Almost in unison, the other 20-odd students paused their writing, looked up, and turned to stare at the clueless student in blank wonderment.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:19 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I sat here, thinking it was at work, but those are all quite depressing, either of the situation or of the state of general health knowledge in the public, but no! It was 'How does a pineapple dance?' by my nibling, when she was maybe 7? This was followed by a request to demonstrate. I am not known for dancing nor particular knowledge of fruit.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:31 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


People from small countries often don't get how big Canada is.

On a much smaller scale, I remember the time I took a friend to Walt Disney World and they thought we’d do everything there was to do in one day and spend the other four on the beach.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:32 PM on September 13


I'm not sure if these count as weird, but they are memorable.

1) When I was 16 (let's just agree it was around 35 years ago), I went to Cape Town, South Africa to visit my grandmother. Ahead of the trip, someone at my high school asked, in all seriousness, whether I was going to be staying "...in a mud hut" (or somesuch). I scoffed (internally) and said , "no, Cape Town is a city, roughly 4 or 5 times as large as Tucson" (Arizona, where this conversation took place). Some two weeks into the trip, I was on a bus tour with a number of other people, including several teenagers from various parts of South Africa. When they found out I was from Arizona, one of them asked, in all seriousness, whether I "...wore a cowboy hat and rode a horse to school". There was a nice symmetry in that, I think.

2) (Much) More recently, I was riding the bus home late one night, like 9p. This particular route went from downtown Seattle to the East. There is only one stop in the first 10 miles or so, so if you're on the wrong bus, you aren't getting to your preferred destination anytime soon. As the bus pulled away from that one stop, this guy on the front of the bus seemingly snaps out of his reverie, and starts making a lot of "oh my god, what bus is this? oh my god, I'm on the wrong bus? oh my god etc, etc". He makes his way to the front and says similar things to the bus driver, who gives him instructions about getting off and then taking a bus back downtown. At the next stop, which happens to be mine, he gets off, and I follow him. Seeing me exiting the bus, he turns and very earnestly asks "Oh, did you get on the wrong bus, too?"
posted by Gorgik at 7:32 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


>"Is France anywhere near Paris?"

You just reminded me of the kid in my high school world history class who asked if the documentary about Christopher Columbus contained any “actual footage.”
posted by armeowda at 8:09 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


And then there was the guy who used to live across the street from my family. We found a wayward kitten one day, and, trying to determine whether it was lost or merely new to the neighborhood, we pointed it out to him thus:

“Hey, Ben, is this your kitten?”

“No,” smiled Ben. “Is it yours?”
posted by armeowda at 8:13 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


When I was a freshman in college I went to engineering school and we were each given a (pre-1990) PC setup so we could do our programming work.

In the first week of the fall semester a guy asked me if I "was the girl who'd thrown her monitor out the window."
posted by bendy at 8:25 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


I had a conversation with ColdChef one evening where I got to ask him everything I've ever wondered about hearses.
posted by bendy at 8:27 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


"Can I get the icon in cornflower blue?"
posted by bendy at 8:30 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


"Pigeon Blood for the tapestries"

sorry. the funniest was "what Country am I in?
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


"Pigeon Blood for the tapestries"

Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:58 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


I was going to leave my toe tag collection to coldchef but since penguins are my favorite
it's you or chavenet.
oh, working reference in college, a person entered 'comma suture' in InfoTrac and hit print...asked if the printer was out of paper.
posted by clavdivs at 9:13 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


A long time ago (99/00), I was teaching English (badly) in China, and the discussion got onto gun ownership in America, and my students were stunned when I said I'd never owned a gun, and no one in my family had, either.

One girl, clearly having had her image of America shaped by movies, asked "But, how do you get to the supermarket safely?" After a little gentle questioning, I found out that she was (along with several other students in the class) under the impression that a simple trip to the store usually involved getting shot at.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:11 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


I swim at night at Barton Springs. I have 5 1/2 foot long hair. If I leave it down it gets tangled in my feet and creates a lot of drag. I also keep my head out of the water. So I wad up and knot my hair and set it on the front of my swim board to keep it out of my way. Three times in one evening this past week, other swimmers have asked me, "Is that a kitten (or a puppy) on your board?"
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:30 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


After a little gentle questioning, I found out that she was (along with several other students in the class) under the impression that a simple trip to the store usually involved getting shot at.

To be fair to your former students, I had the same kinds of questions and responses from suburbanites when I used to live in the wild and dangerous area of Uptown Minneapolis. I had to walk a exceptionally nervous woman 10 yards to her car in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon in an active business district because she was sure she was taking her life in her hands simply being in the area. "How do you live here/there?" was a common question as, unbeknownst to me, I was living in an dystopian urban hellscape compared to the idyllic world of empty lawns and zero pedestrians in Burnsville and Eden Prairie.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:39 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Speaking of John Lennon, one of my friends kids asked him what was the name of the band Paul McCartney was in before Wings.

My English Literature teacher (who was also the Physical Education teacher) at school - and this was in England in the mid-1980s - was convinced and argumentative that Paul McCartney joined Led Zeppelin after The Beatles.
posted by Wordshore at 12:28 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I have one that stands out because of the effect it had on me.

My wife and I were at a dinner. An older lady was sitting quietly across from us, really not saying much. she was sitting next to her husband who had gone to the bathroom or something. Suddenly, with no other intro, she leans forward and asks very intently and whispered "Do you know about Foraminifera?"

I was taken aback and had no idea what she meant. She acted like she was letting us on in a secret.

"No.." I remember responding "I don't know."
"Well," she says "ask my husband about them when he gets back. We brought some Foraminifera with us, if you'd like to see."

At this point I was convinced she was selling us some drugs.

Well, long story short, we did see the Foraminifera, and they were gorgeous. It was her husband's life passion to go on coastlines, collect them, and mount them into beautiful little boxes. They gave us a hand lens and we saw the most wonderful things.

But, to this day, my wife and I still remember that strange moment of uneasiness and surreality, like you are about to cross that threshold into something strange and new.
posted by vacapinta at 1:42 AM on September 14 [28 favorites]


This man once asked a horror-stricken student during a harpsichord masterclass whether she ever had thrown a cat out the window (the argument winding up in explaining how to achieve a relaxed playing technique).

Other music-related questions I myself was asked that I found weird:

1) At an Early Music ensemble competition (some of the colleagues present and competing that day actually ended up having outstanding careers in Early Music, so this wasn't some sideshow). Mingle and some bubbly afterwards. One of the sponsors of the event (a banker I recall) comes to the table of my group (we had gotten second price) and asks, "sooo, and what do you do for a living?" Het got red in his face (of irritation) when I tried to explain to him that we're making music for a living; such as thing was unthinkable, apparently.

2) School concerts in rural West Sweden (meaning getting up at 5, slithering through the slush until 8, building up scenery, tuning, getting into costume until 9, and playing three 20-minute shows before lunch). The kids afterwards invade the stage and look at the instruments (violins, a viola, a cello, some historical keyboard thingy, a wooden flute). An intense 8-y-o asks, "and where are the power cords for these"? No way to convince him that acoustic instruments actually sound just by themselves.
posted by Namlit at 5:56 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


"What's the difference between a pigeon?"

If you’re ever asked what’s the difference between a duck, the canonical answer is “One leg is both the same”.
posted by Phanx at 6:21 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


My boss is a moron. We've all been there.

Today he asks me "Is x file in y directory?". Over email. As if I have some superpower that means I can look at that directory, IDK, harder/better/faster/stronger, than he can.
posted by pompomtom at 6:39 AM on September 14


Wasn’t it “it’s got two legs, especially the left one”?
posted by Namlit at 6:46 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


These are so funny, and they really illustrate how many kazillion ways there are to see the world. (Not counting the flat-out ignorant questions.) Presumably, none of the question askers intended their questions to sound weird; they just had a question and sought an answer. It reminds me of the trait or condition whereby a person is unable to understand a commonly used expression, for instance "Do this first, then take it from there. Some people will look blank and say, "Take what from where?" which to them is a perfectly reasonable response.
posted by scratch at 6:50 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


My English Literature teacher (who was also the Physical Education teacher) at school - and this was in England in the mid-1980s - was convinced and argumentative that Paul McCartney joined Led Zeppelin after The Beatles.

That would have made The Song Remains the Same a much better movie!

My boss is a moron. We've all been there.

Our very small office (me and the boss) got a new photocopier, big-ass fancy 1990s thing. It had a document feeder that could hold 50 pages at once, and it also had a sorting mechanism on the side that consisted of 20 slots. I spent all afternoon hearing Mr. Ph.D. Semi-Famous Educator say, "If it holds 50 pages, why can't I make 50 copies?" "YOU CAN, BUT THEY WILL NOT BE SORTED. IF YOU WANT THE COPIES SORTED YOU CAN ONLY MAKE 20 AT A TIME." "But it holds 50 pages!" He seemed utterly unable to grasp the difference between the number of pages in the thing you wanted to copy and the number of copies you actually make of that thing.
posted by JanetLand at 7:33 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


*Some people do wear sticky colorful stuff on their lips when they go to the dentist. People are weird.

Aren't they normally...coming from (and returning to, probably) work? I can't think of a single time I was ever able to block off a whole day just for a dentist appointment...
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:35 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Sure, also I just think it's pretty weird to not consider maybe wiping off the lipstick/gloss before arriving at the place where people have to put their hands in your mouth.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 7:49 AM on September 14


I assume if it was an issue, dental appointments would start with the dental assistant handing you a wet wipe to remove your lipstick? I mean, they wear gloves than then throw them away afterward, so it's not like they're going to spend the rest of day sporting a thumb covered in Vivacious Vixen.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:51 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I guess I just am not sure where in my dental appointment routine that part would happen (seems weird to be walking down the street or sitting on the train wiping makeup off my face??) but of course I haven't bothered wearing lipstick in 2 years now, since we have to wear masks everywhere all the time.

Anyway once someone stopped me in a Barnes and Noble (I didn't work there) and asked me if I knew where Romeo and Juliet was. I pointed them to the shelf with Shakespeare, and they replied "oh, I already checked there, but they only had the play. Do you have the book?"
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:58 AM on September 14 [11 favorites]


When my kid was very small, they asked "Why doesn't Lightning McQueen get fixed instead of flashing his lights and making all that noise?" It took me a minute to understand they thought Lightning McQueen personally caused thunder and lightning.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:10 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


It's not a question, but the first thing this post made me think of is a time years ago when I was wandering around my deserted college campus during a summer when I still lived in that same town. Up ahead, I heard a car horn and saw a woman waving out driver's side window at me. "America!" she yelled at me.

It was July. It may even have been exactly July 4th. But whatever, Independence Day. "America!" I waved and yelled back.

"No, AMERICA! AMERICA!"

By this point we were closer, and again I met her enthusiasm. "America!" I said as I kept walking toward her.

When I had finally approached close enough to her car, she spoke again in a normal tone. "No. Erica. I'm Erica."

I was not under the influence of any substances, but it was like a scene straight out of PCU.
posted by emelenjr at 8:11 AM on September 14 [9 favorites]


I was with a friend standing in line to buy movie tickets, and the group behind us was looking at the showtimes and deciding what movie to see. A guy from their group asked us "What do you know about Deuce Bigalow?" in what sounded to me like a Russian accent. I think of that every time I see an interrogation scene in a movie or tv show.
posted by amarynth at 8:44 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


When I had finally approached close enough to her car, she spoke again in a normal tone. "No. Erica. I'm Erica."

This reminds me of a story Tea Leoni told once about when she was an extra in A League Of Their Own. She was one of the extras in a scene, playing for the team opposite the main team - they were a team from Indiana, and at one point when one of her "teammates" was up at bat she kept hearing Penny Marshall keep saying what she THOUGHT was "Indiana!" So she thought that Penny was asking the extras to cheer "Indiana!" when her "teammate" hit the ball. And she would do that - her "teammate" hit the ball, and she would jump up and shout "Indiana!" and Penny Marshall would shout "cut!" and set the scene up again, again saying "Indiana!" in her bullhorn - and then they did the scene, the other person hit the ball, she would jump up and shout "Indiana!" Penny Marshall would shout "cut" and they'd set up again....

And after a few more rounds of this, Penny finally came over, stood directly next to Tea, and shouted the direction she'd been giving the batter into her ear: that she'd been telling the batter to hit the ball "IN THE AIR!!!!!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


In the first week of the fall semester a guy asked me if I "was the girl who'd thrown her monitor out the window."

I had a conversation with ColdChef one evening where I got to ask him everything I've ever wondered about hearses.


That's two counts of "C'mon, You Can't Just Leave Us Hanging Like That", Your Honor...
:)
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:33 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I can immediately turn any question into an anecdote suitable for this thread by prefacing it with "I have an adult question." Usually it's something about insurance or credit cards or credit scores, you know, those obscure things that somehow deeply impact American life, but the deer-in-headlights look before they realize I'm not asking about a sex thing is pretty choice.
posted by snerson at 11:18 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Many years ago I worked at a children's book/toy store. Just to set the mood, this was on the day of a HUGE author event - we had lines around the block for hours and were all incredibly busy and frazzled. Toward the end of the day, amid much chaos, a woman came to me with one of those cylinders that have farm scenes on the sides and moos like a cow when you turn them upside down and asked, "Do you have one that make a better, richer moo sound?"
posted by tangosnail at 12:30 PM on September 14 [12 favorites]


"Do you have one that make a better, richer moo sound?"

Your customer needed an aftermarket plugin for that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:53 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I assume if it was an issue, dental appointments would start with the dental assistant handing you a wet wipe to remove your lipstick?

Happens all the time, but mostly they'll just hand a tissue.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:12 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Speaking of John Lennon, one of my friends kids asked him what was the name of the band Paul McCartney was in before Wings.

A couple of my kids knew Mark Hamill as a highly-respected voice actor before they knew him from Star Wars.
posted by Orlop at 1:31 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


I saw somebody familiar in an impossible crowd.

Managed to get through and to her. She asked, in a language the person I thought I was following never knew, why would I ever want to see her again?

I was confused. My son caught up and he saw the resemblance and said his mom is dead. She said what is this? You can't be here or real. She took off and we couldn't find her again.

It eats at me. She looked just like.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:31 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


"Do you have one that make a better, richer moo sound?"

I think she wanted this one.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:33 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Related to jessamyn's story, a co-worker asked, at lunch, what 'rimming' is. Explained factually and dispassionately, and, I thought, sotto voce. The lunch table got so quiet, so fast. Didn't realize the visitor at the table taught Sex Ed. He casually noted that my explanation was accurate. This was when I taught Adult Ed. Everyone was quite chill. Lovely group; I miss them.
posted by theora55 at 1:49 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


I worked in bookstores and helpdesks and I've forgotten the weird questions; I'll remember over the next few weeks, probably. Working in retail, the absolute most common question is Where is the bathroom? In retail bookselling, it's When will it be in paperback? (That gorgeous art book? possibly never.) I recall a customer who didn't get the distinction between bookstore and library. Library's a 5 minute walk, so go check it out. In computing helpdesks, many of the questions are fun puzzles, like trying to get a Powerpoint deck to behave consistently. There are lots of dumb and/or questions; people (still) get flummoxed by technology, those questions didn't stick.

Dr. Joy Browne had an advice show on the radio, tv, too. She would push advice-seekers to define the question. We went to see her, people had questions, one guy could have been a plant - as she helped him come to know what his question was, the way to the answer became apparent. I don't remember the details, but I remember the look of understanding dawning on his face.
posted by theora55 at 2:07 PM on September 14


Just now, on twitter @chicken_2020 how do people poop at the met gala
posted by theora55 at 3:38 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Many years ago, my mother once asked a clerk at a video rental store if they had a copy of "Lady and the Tramp." The clerk responded that he "hadn't heard of that one." Mom, incredulous at his towering ignorance, said "you know, the Disney movie, how can you possibly work here and never have heard of it?" Turns out that in her search for the tape, she had wandered into the adult section of the store and the clerk thought she was after a different kind of film with a similar title.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:49 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


A couple of my kids knew Mark Hamill as a highly-respected voice actor before they knew him from Star Wars.

I used to be very anti-television. Didn't see anything from 1987 until 2004. I worked in an arthouse video store in 1995 and two girls came in and rented The Rapture and Venice/Venice.

"These are interesting choices," I say, puzzled that two 15 year olds are renting them. "What made you pick them?"

"Because David Duchovny is in them!"

"How do you know who David Duchovny is?! Have you seen New Years Day?" They looked at me like I was an alien. I had no clue he was in The X Files.
posted by dobbs at 5:00 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Late one night and a knock at the door led me to a teenage-ish gutter-punk and his next town over college punk girl(friend?). "Can we crash here tonight?" Why not, sounds interesting. Next morning the girl is like "We're going to Minneapolis to visit my high school friends, Wanna come?" Why not, sounds like fun. We pile into my little 2 seater Fiat and drive to the College in the next town, climb into her car and hit the road. We make Minneapolis (from Topeka/Lawrence KS) and end up at the Art School where her friends live.

<redacted>

Then we drove back, dumped the punk boy off in Topeka and I crashed on her floor for another three or four days as a "Look what the cat drug in" sort of curiosity. (no sex or anything involved on my part, though I did get invited into a three way with (unsure how to describe) art school bisexual skinheads) I crashed on her floor for like 3 days and hung out with all the other girls on the floor.

A couple years later I had move away from Topeka (out to NM, and AZ) and was taking a road trip back home to Virginia. I stopped by Topeka to say hi (to other friends) and a bunch of high school-ish mostly girls (and a couple of boys) asked "Your over 21, Wanna be our second driver?" Why not, sounds like fun. So I was the second van driver of a bunch of kids from Topeka to New Orleans to attend The Young Democrats of America National Conference. I spent the weekend wandering around with a Hand Grenade and visiting spooky shops. Then I took them back and went on my merry way.

Not weird questions, but I tend to Why not, sounds fun a lot. Makes life interesting y'know.

Oh, I think the weirdest might have been one of my freshman high school teachers. She asked me "Where're you from?" and it took like 5 minutes to explain that "I'm from here, lived here all my life, why are you asking?". Dear reader, I watched too much public television, read too many books, etc. and never really picked up the local accent. "You sound like a damn Yankee."
posted by zengargoyle at 5:11 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Context-free, a coworker asked the room, "What's 500 miles considered to be?"
I didn't give any direct response. But like, that's a measurable distance. Consideration doesn't enter into it.
Either this person thinks distances are a matter of debate, or they misused language in an inobvious way, trying to sound smart when they meant to ask, "How far is 500 miles?" I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Like I said, I didn't respond immediately. I looked up Philadelphia and Chicago on Google Maps, and said, "Philadelphia is about 300 miles away, and Chicago is about 450."
"Oh," this person replied, "So 500 miles is probably all the way to California."
"No," I said, "Chicago is only maybe halfway. Less, really. And the West is really big."
I realize we all have different relationships with facts and knowledge and stuff, and I surely have my own blind spots, but like, there's a whole bunch of web stuff devoted to maps. A quick search would easily answer how far 500 miles is.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:29 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


That's two counts of "C'mon, You Can't Just Leave Us Hanging Like That", Your Honor..

First and foremost, do they have AC in the part where the coffin goes?
posted by bendy at 8:37 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Context-free, a coworker asked the room, "What's 500 miles considered to be?"

Generally speaking, that is one half standard unit of what is required to fall down at your door.

edit: show up to fall down because joke
posted by snerson at 8:59 PM on September 14 [13 favorites]


Every time I see this thread I get “Cottleston Pie” stuck in my head.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:12 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


In the early 2000s, with my long-hair and wearing my decade-too-late-never-say-die grunge regalia, a man ran up to me and angrily demanded, "Hey you hippy, why don't you go back to the '80s where you belong?!?"
posted by riverlife at 11:31 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Natural History Docent: “A woman once asked me what the difference between a Million and a Billion was. Kinda pieced together that she’d just left her church for her safety, and was learning about Earth’s Natural History for the first time. Nobody else was there because it had been snowing, so I walked her through the Hall Of Time and answered as many questions as I could. She was bewildered, but really trying. It always struck me as a really brave thing, to try to understand all of that while fresh out of a dangerous situation. I hope it helped.”

I loved this from the Tumblr so much! Thanks for the link and the topic. The most unexpected question I ever got in a professional setting was at my first performance review in my first job after college. My manager sat down, opened her mouth, and asked this: "What do your folks do for a living?" Like, WTF?

When a younger sibling was four, she asked if I could turn off the sun because it was too hot. A few weeks ago my grandson asked if I was alive when dinosaurs were around. In retrospect, it makes sense that he would ask but honestly, gentle reader, I did not see that one coming. He has also asked if I was alive when the Titanic sank and what the difference is between one million and one billion. I expect to learn a lot as he keeps asking his questions.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:30 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


A few weeks ago my grandson asked if I was alive when dinosaurs were around.

I asked an Aunt that once, and it became a running joke. It took me quite a while to understand that she entertained it because my Mother is her older Sister.
posted by pompomtom at 6:41 AM on September 15


I made an offhand joke about the Omegaverse to my very online sibling at a family party, and my parents' friends, who are all in their late '60s or early '70s, all asked, "What's the Omegaverse?"

I was like, "Your lives are going to be better if I don't answer this question, please don't make me."
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:21 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I mentioned to a group of co workers the news that Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones just died. One of the twenty-something persons in the group asked "Was he the main guy, the singer guy?" and I realized even as a GenXer, I am old.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:31 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Oh, one more... a 30-something man who worked as an advertising copywriter once asked me "The word 'pun' stands for 'Play On Words,' right?"

I was nonplussed.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:35 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


I (late 50s) looked up Omegaverse. My life is no better or worse.
posted by JanetLand at 7:48 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


dobbs: "I used to be very anti-television. Didn't see anything from 1987 until 2004. …
"How do you know who David Duchovny is?! Have you seen New Years Day?" They looked at me like I was an alien. I had no clue he was in The X Files.
"

I haven't really watched a lot of TV since 1996. I briefly dated someone in 1999 who told me she 'was on a TV show', to which I was like, "OK".

I later found out that she was actually the star of high rating show. She's still famous, and people don't really believe me when I say we went out.
posted by signal at 7:57 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


And the point of my story is actually she liked me more because I honestly didn't know who she was.
posted by signal at 7:58 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


....Is anyone else INSANELY curious who signal is talking about now or is it just me?

my parents' friends, who are all in their late '60s or early '70s, all asked, "What's the Omegaverse?" I was like, "Your lives are going to be better if I don't answer this question, please don't make me."

I know I've told this story before - my parents and I were watching A Mighty Wind together, and several seconds after Parker Posey makes a joke about ben wa balls, my mother asked, "What are ben wa balls?"

There was a very long pause, and I finally said "....Okay, I do know, but if I were to explain it would just embarrass us both."

"Ohhhhh. Okay, never mind."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


When my youngest son was in his early teens he once asked me, "Did you ever hear the song 'Stairway to Heaven'?"

I told him that I had.
posted by maurice at 10:07 AM on September 15 [9 favorites]


What breed is your dog?
posted by aniola at 10:21 AM on September 15


EmpressCallipygos: "....Is anyone else INSANELY curious who signal is talking about now or is it just me?"

FWIW, my whole story occurs in Chile, I doubt you'd know her.
posted by signal at 11:03 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


....Check your memail....I admit it's a long shot, but. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:43 AM on September 15


One incident I still think of to this day is a lecture I attended at the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences where the guest speaker worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He showed the animation for the Opportunity Mission to Mars with really beautiful detail about the devices used to counterweight the lander as it descended to the surface. It was such a beautiful demonstration, the audience sat in silence for a moment. He offered to take questions, and someone eagerly raised their had and asked, "How did you get a camera out there?". We all just turned and stared at them in stony silence.
posted by effluvia at 2:50 PM on September 15


A woman wearing a top hat approached me in a pub once and asked "Excuse me, are you Gérard Depardieu?", and looked unconvinced when I said that no, I wasn't. The West Country accent should really have given it away. Plus my being 22 years younger.
posted by pipeski at 4:18 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Top hat woman was hitting on you. In an odd way, she must've been hitting on you. Perhaps trying to strike up a conversation? I cannot think of any other reason a woman wearing a top hat in a bar would ask someone something like that out of the blue. Unless you really, really look like Gerard Depardieu.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:47 PM on September 15


It’s a numbers game. You ask enough people, eventually you’ll find someone willing to pretend to be Gérard Depardieu.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:08 PM on September 15 [6 favorites]


The best response would have been, “I don’t know; are you Marlene Dietrich?”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:09 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


A security guard I worked with years ago once asked me if I believed in alligators. Because he didn't, and didn't understand how anyone could. I never got clarity there, and the best I can figure is that he was a creationist and was trying to talk about dinosaurs.

emelenjr's story reminds me of one of my first big group bike ride events--an all-women century ride, I think--when a woman pulled up alarmingly close to me and asked, in a thick French accent, "Have you enjoyed yourself?"

"Yes, I'm having a great time!" I said, while thinking WTF lady get out of my space I'm trying not to crash or pass out here.

"No," she said. "Have you ENJOYED yourself?" "Err, yes, I just said, I am having a great time. Um... have YOU enjoyed YOURself?"

Then she frustratedly pointed at my left calf, which I had not noticed was dripping blood, and said very slowly, "Have. You. INJURED. Yourself?"

OH.

I had in fact injured myself, somehow sliced open my calf on my chainring. And I couldn't feel it at all, and definitely would not have noticed until the next rest stop ~15 miles away. So thanks, French lady, sorry I got annoyed with you.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:27 PM on September 15 [6 favorites]


Every time I see this thread I get “Cottleston Pie” stuck in my head.

Thanks, The Underpants Monster, now it's stuck in my head.
posted by bendy at 9:31 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


More in the spirit of the original post, my baby sister asked at the dinner table one night, "What animal is broccoli?" (My family, we love the broccoli, even as kids.)

What?

"Bacon is pigs. Steak is cows. Chicken is chicken. What is broccoli?"

As we were trying and failing to contain our gasping laughter, she continued:

"Because I want to keep one in the backyard so I can kill it whenever I want broccoli."

She has never been inclined toward vegetarianism.

I told this story at her wedding.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:46 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]


Two years ago I had a birthday party on the giant porch of my apartment building. There are only seven units here and I like to know my neighbors so I'd posted a sign in the foyer inviting everyone else in the building.

A young couple had recently moved into the apartment directly above me and I could never figure out why but there was a lot of very loud "their floor/my ceiling" noise - like the sound of someone stomping ten steps really loudly and then stopping, or dropping something really heavy or a body hitting the floor and then silence.

A few weeks earlier I'd had to take a 45-minute ride with a Lyft driver because I'd gotten off at the wrong bus stop for a Mefi meetup. The driver talked the whole time about jiu-jitsu.

The only thing I knew about jiu-jitsu was that a guy I'd met in a dive bar in San Francisco started talking about it and I asked him if he could teach me a move to protect myself in a dangerous face-to-face situation. He showed me a move where you pretend like you're going to shake the other person's hand but then you just bend their wrist completely backward. I've never been in so much pain that I couldn't control. It was terrifying for the few seconds it went on.

So when the Lyft driver wanted to talk about jiu-jitsu I went down the rabbit hole with him and learned a ton about jiu-jitsu.

Anyway, as the party was winding down, the young couple walked up the steps to the porch and introduced themselves. (His name is Roric to which I could only respond, "alas..."). They sat down with us for a while and because I was a bit tipsy and babbly I said something like, "hey, nice to meet you how long have you lived in the building do you do jiu-jitsu?!"

I was talking to the woman a couple months ago and she said they still have a running joke about doing jiu-jitsu.
posted by bendy at 9:52 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]

His name is Roric to which I could only respond, "alas..."
Today, I learned something new. (And far more interesting than the crappy joke I was fact checking.) Thanks.
posted by eotvos at 12:43 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


(Holy shit there was just a jumping thing - 1:06 AM - that rattled my windows.)

I really need to get better at jiu-jitsu.
posted by bendy at 1:07 AM on September 16


I was once asked by a sober, perfectly serious, college-educated male co-worker in his late 20s whether I believed in Harry Potter, as if it were a religion.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:13 AM on September 16


I have gauged ears, and I visit schools to talk about the library a lot, so they always ask me about my weird ears and get scolded by their teacher. I don't mind talking about it, I can segue into some career-type stuff about being a librarian. Also, why not ask? It's OK.

Once a kindergartener asked me "Why does the library have so many books?" which is a pretty profound question if you think about it. The answer is, we all share the books, everyone in the city. There are a lot of people in the city, so we have to have a whole lot of books so that everyone has at least one that they will like. But it did put me on the spot.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:16 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


Kindergarteners are a hoot because they will just say stuff. One asked if I had a favorite animal, which honestly more people should ask.

In the same class a kid also just raised his hand and said "MY family lives in a CARWASH!" which is simply wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:21 PM on September 16


I work in the meat department of a supermarket. I once had a woman who was flabbergasted that veal is young cow. She'd come to me asking for veal liver, and I told her we had calf liver and beef liver. She informed me that oh no, never calf liver - that's a baby cow! I let her know that veal was, too. She was horrified. She'd been eating veal all her life and did not know what it was (and she was in her mid-30s). I was able to get her to laugh by asking "Have you ever seen a herd of veal running across the plains?"

Another woman approached me, carrying a ham. "Excuse me, but what is this?"
I replied, "Oh, that's a spiral sliced ham."
She: "But what IS it? It doesn't say what it is!"
It finally clicked for me: "It's pork. Ham is pork."
posted by annieb at 1:38 PM on September 16


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