actual stupid questions

A friend of mine once asked me: “Do you smell a skunk, or is it just me?”

At a library I once worked at someone called and wanted to know if the Shroud of Turin was the tablecloth from the Last Supper. “Uh, yeah. Christ had a few too many and fell head first onto the table.”

The library where I work has PCs the general public can use to get online. At least once a day I’m asked, “Do you have the internet here?” I want to tell them, “Yeah we keep the entire internet in a small room in the back. You can tell you’re getting close because of the buzzing/humming sound.”

This isn’t a question, but something a garage mechanic told a friend of mine that he made up stuff to tell people about replacing parts on their cars (a lot of garages pay mechanics commissions on their work). One story he would tell unsuspecting people was “Yeah, you have a 12-volt battery, and I had to overhaul ALL 12 of them.”

Feel free not to believe this story–I wouldn’t believe it If I hadn’t actually been in the class where it happened.

It was Art History 100, and a slide of the Nike of Samothrace (The thing with the wings at the entrance of the Louve) came up. this woman at the front raised her hand and asked “Now . . . would this statue originally had a head?”

The proffessor handled this with remarkable aplomb. I never admired anyone so much.

I remember this one time in my sixth grade English class. Class was going along as usual, when suddenly the power went out. After a chorus of “The power’s out!”, “Hey, the power went out”, and “Hooray!”, a voice from the back of the room suddenly shouted out “But how come the sun’s still on?” There was a second’s pause as it became clear that this individual- and I never did find out who it was- was not joking. Then the laughter began in earnest, and lasted well past the point when the lights came back on.

Today in English class we were reviewing for the PSAT, which we take tomorrow. Both sophomores and juniors are taking this test. Our teacher, after explaining how one can eliminate certain answers to make an educated guess, relayed a question that a junior had asked him earlier. The junior (who was not named) said, “OK, so if you can eliminate 4 of the 5 answers, should you guess, or leave it blank?”
Some of us are not going to do so well on this test, I fear.

SanibelMan – The Man From Sanibel
“I like Florida; everything is in the eighties. The temperatures, the ages, and the IQs.”
– George Carlin

If you’ve just got on an English train and you see one person sitting next to an empty seat, it is considered polite to ask ‘Is anyone sitting here?’.

Not strictly relevant, but the first sex education film I can remember came out (or should that just be came?) when I was at University. (Yes, us Brits are generally prudish and it was a long time ago!). Anyway we’re watching a sensible introduction in total silence. The commentary ‘masturbation is perfectly harmless and simply brings relief’ was suddenly interrupted by a loud moan…

I swear this is true:
“What time is the 10:00 tour?”

…at night, the ice weasels come…

On an eighth grade class trip to Valley Forge, we were watching a slide show while listening to a recording with quotes from the letters and writings of Washington and others who were there. One kid had to ask “Is that really George Washington’s voice?”

Once I handed in a paper to a university professor who was very strict that all tables you included had to “stand alone”, that is, they had to make sense without reading the entire paper. One of my tables was entitled, “Comparisons of Proposed Five-Year Plans”. Next to it, in red pen, he wrote, “OVER WHAT TIME PERIOD?”

A very earnest friend I had in high school was telling me once about all the great things Desmond Tutu was doing for South America. I thought, oh that’s nice, he must be spreading his message of racial tolerance all over the world now. So I asked, “What exactly was Tutu doing in South America?”

“Well, he lives there.”

“I’m pretty sure he lives in South Africa.”

“What’s the difference, anyway?”

It wasn’t a sarcastic reply … she really wanted to know the difference. I was laughing too hard to explain it.

Last New Year’s Eve, I was at my boyfriend’s house with his roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend. We were watching “Animal House” and the infamous “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” scene came on. We all laughed and then the girlfriend asked “WAS it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” She also once said that she had heard “Las Vegas, California” was a nice city to visit.

I was once in a high school algebra class where a student asked the teacher what the “x” was for.

This is cliched, but I guess that what cliches do: describe truth.

Man walks up to me in the library and wants a picture of the Cruxifiction. So I start in: any particular picture? Painting? Sculpture? Renaissance? yadayada

Noooo, he wanted a PICTURE; you, know a photograph…

A true Kodak moment, history buffs.

(The second stupidest was the woman who wanted proof she was the rightful Queen of England. See, there were twins, and Liz was born second, but this lady was the real queen and had the silver plate in her head to prove it…you don’t want to know the rest.)


A lab student came up to me complaining that there was a mistake in the script he’d been given. I asked what the problem was and he said
"It says weigh out 10 grams of chemical X [i forget the identity]’
‘Yes, and ?’
‘Well, i can’t can I?’
‘Why not?’ I queried’

Apparently, liquids have no mass on his planet.

Now, now … I’m sure we’ve all asked a stupid question ourselves from time to time :slight_smile:

Speaking of which, a priest at my church used to make the same complaint every year about people calling him to ask, “What time is Midnight Mass?” Well last year, in response to popular demand, Midnight Mass was at 10:00. So was it really such a stupid question?


I went music shopping with two of my friends a few years back. One of my friends:
“Ooh, do you think they have that song?”
Pause as we stare back blankly.
“You know, you know…that song…by that guy…that song that they play on the radio…”
Long pause as the other friend and I burst into near hysterical laughter.

Also, when I was in high school, someone wrote “93 Rules!” in my friend’s yearbook. She asked: “What are the 93 rules?”

And finally, I was advising a friend who wanted to buy her first aquarium about the kind of fish that are best to start with. I told her guppies are great, but that she’ll have hundreds of babies in a short amount of time. Her question? “Well, can’t we get them fixed?”

Hey Michelle, ever neuter a guppy?

I look younger than I am, and people in school never believed them when I told them what grade I was in. One year, when I was in grade 11, a little grade niner asked me what grade I was in. I told her.

Doubtfully, she said “Well, how old are you?”

“I turned 17 last November.”

“When do you turn 18?”

This is a true story:

When I was in Grade 12, our Social Studies teacher launched into a diatribe about the evil United States. She went on about how they had dropped the atomic bomb on innocent people in Japan with no provocation, and this showed how despicable they were. I sarcastically said, “Well, unless you count being at war…”. She stopped and looked at me and said, “Have you forgotten that the U.S. was at war with GERMANY? I was talking about Japan, where the bombs were dropped.”

I said that the U.S. was also at war with Japan, and she looked startled and kind of backpedaled and said, “You can’t really call it a war.” When I pointed out that over 150,000 people died in the battle of Okinawa alone, she asked me to leave the room.

This was during the height of the peace movement around 1980, and she was a typical wide-eyed new college grad, no doubt with a head full of propaganda about the evil U.S. But she was TEACHING history in our high school. It still pisses me off to think about it.

Back when I was still studying, I was hanging in a bar with my best friend (m) and a mutual friend (f, and blond). It must be stated, that at the time the following occurred, many a beer had already been downed. Anyway: my friend (Louis) starts telling about this Coca Cola contest, where you could win a trip to your favourite destination if you came up with a stunning slogan or something. So he then stated something like “I’d love to go down to Antarctica and look at the penguins”, which was basically bullshit anyway, since there are places far more interesting, obviously.
I respond by saying, “You could also go to the South Pole instead of Antarctica, I hear that’s very nice too !”. So, Louis and I are already laughing our asses off (remember: there was a lot of alcohol involved :wink: ).
After a two second pause, Kim (the female friend) asks what the hell we’re laughing about. We explain that in fact, Antarctica and the South Pole are the exact same thing. Slightly puzzeled look on her face, another two second pause. “But I don’t get why, if the world is round and all, there is actually a SOUTH and a NORTH pole. I mean, they will meet won’t they, the earth being spherical and stuff ?”

This time the two second pause was on our side. Then we fell off our stools laughing. This has been used against Kim ever since, and will be for the rest of our lives. You’d be amazed how many penguin and polar bear jokes one can come up with :wink:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

I once made the mistake of asking a Burger King cashier, in all seriousness: “Where can I find the condiments?” This was probably at 11:30 p.m. or so, and the place was full of slap-happy teens. Everybody, including the cashier, thought the question was hilarious. What followed could have been a scene right out of Beavis and Butt-head. “You said …”