1212 I Don’t Know
It’s one of the most useful phrases in the English language. But some people just don’t like to hear it.
A simple phrase. Three little words. Honest. An admission of ignorance. Impossible to misunderstand.
When someone asks you something you don’t know, what are you supposed to do, make up an answer?
(Actually, you can make it a four word expression if you like to give flowery, elaborate answers. Start the phrase one word earlier by inserting “ummm” or “uh.”)
“Where did you put my autographed picture of Eydie Gorme?”
“I don’t know.”
Admitting you don’t know is better than making up an answer like “I think it’s in the drawer with the good silver” or “Oh, was that your picture?”
“When is your doctor appointment?”
“I don’t know.”
You can weasel around that one by saying “I have it on the calendar. I’ll have to look.” But that’s almost the same thing.
People are forever asking you stuff you don’t know. And those same people are forever rejecting “I don’t know.” Somehow, some of us are supposed to be universal donors of data or information or both.
Most of us aren’t.
Sometimes you can answer a question by saying “look it up on the internet” or even “I’ll look it up on the internet for you.” This is especially handy when the question is along the lines of “how long does it take to get to Baltimore?” Or “What’s the population of Monaco?” Or even “When did people stop going to barbers for medical surgery?”
Unfortunately, though, most questions aren’t about stuff like that.
Some people are reluctant to use “I don’t know.” They feel it makes them look inadequate, unprepared. Maybe even stupid.
These people do not understand that education and research cure ignorance, but nothing cures stupid.
Albert Einstein, reputed to be the world’s biggest brain during his lifetime, was something of an absent minded professor. When he was called to task for using the phrase, he replied that he didn’t need to clutter his brain with trivia as long as he knew where and how to find an answer.
If “I don’t know” was good enough for Einstein, it should be good enough for us lesser beings.
--There seems a big push to run Hillary Clinton for president, and that’s not the worst thing that could happen. But more than likely, the first woman president will be a Republican, not a Democrat. Let’s just hope that it’s not someone like Palin or Bachmann or Laura Ingraham.
--Only in America can a rodeo clown dress up as the president -- Obama mask and all -- and draw cheers from the crowd when the announcer asks “who wants to see Obama trampled.” Looks like the folks at the Missouri State Fair forgot that rodeo clowns are supposed to protect fallen riders from the bull, not throw the bull.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013