Humorous replies to dumb questions

Sometimes a person will ask a monumentally stupid or even offensive question, but for various reasons you don’t want to get into an argument or a debate on the merits, or you don’t want to disclose your real answer, and want to steer the conversation away. I have found that making a relatively benign joke can send the message, and the humor helps to cushion any possible bad feelings.

For instance, in this threadpeople have mentioned not wanting to have a debate about your religion. While I’m pretty out, sometimes I don’t want to get into it. I found this response helpful:

Them: “What religion are you?”
Me: “I’m a frisbeetarian.”
Them: ??
Me: “We believe that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and you can’t get it down.”

Now people will often ask you if your baby is a good baby. I find that question really offensive and saddening, given the cultural assumptions underlying it. But I realize they’re just trying to make conversation. So instead of getting on a soapbox about the inherent dignity of all human beings, regardless of age, I go like this:

Them: “Is she a good baby?”
Me: “Yes, she’s very good at being a baby.”
Them: look of surprise, realization that the question was stupid, laughter

(And yes, I confess I stole both responses.)

What have you got?

MAD had a series of great reference books for this: Al Jaffee Spews out Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions

Some manager: “Why did they send us all these numbers? I asked for [specific data], and they sent all these spreadsheets with numbers.”
Me: “That is the data you requested.”
Some manager: “This is useless! I don’t know what to do with this crap.”
Me: “That’s why I’m the engineer.”

I know a lot of people don’t care for Bill Engvall, but check out his “Here’s Your Sign” jokes which are almost exactly what the OP is asking for.

This title should read. " humorous replies to normal questions." Because I don’t see these questions as being dumb, they seem like completley normal questions that people ask.

Really? I’d never think to ask somebody what their religion is, or if their baby is “good,” whatever that even means.

If the title were to be changed, it should be to Humorous replies to nosy questions that are nobody’s damn business!

“What religion are you?” often has a clear subtext of, “If you answer wrong, I’ll be pestering you to accept Jesus until one of us is dead,” especially around here.

The baby question is indeed common. It’s also deeply dumb. Is a colicky or sensitive baby “bad?” Should we be assigning moral agency or behavioral worthiness to infants? I don’t deny that many people ask it, and they mean no harm, only hoping for your sake that your baby is easy to take care of. But it’s still stupidly worded.

Many of the completely common questions that people ask are, in fact, dumb as hell.

Q: Why aren’t you married yet?

A: I wanted to do something meaningful with my life.

Me: [Some statement; e.g. ‘It’s sunny out,’ or ‘I found a carnicería where I can get chicharrónes.’]
Someone else: Really?
Me: No. I said that to fool you.


Any question where the answer is obviously yes:

Me: And would you ask a puppy if it wanted a jelly doughnut?

The baby question carries no connotations of morality or worthiness.

The usage of “really” is not a questioning of fact. It means “that’s surprising,” or “tell me more about that,” or both.

I assume that you people are trying to be humorously pedantic and are not actually dense. But, you know, prove me wrong.

I used to have friend who would answer that back with “No, I’m lying.” It really wasn’t funny the first time, and got more annoying each time after that.

One of my favorites was from Seinfeld. Jerry and George broke into Elaine’s apartment to look for Jerry’s keys.

George: OK, what do they look like?

Jerry: Keys, George. They look like keys. What do they look like!

For the question to have any meaning at all, some babies must be not good. So some set of parents are expected to answer “No, I don’t have a good baby.” How is that NOT putting them in an awkward position? Parents of “not good” babies love their children and certainly don’t want to criticize them to outsiders.

Where are you at?

Okay that’s not a really dumb question but it’s bad grammar so it is dumb.

Just because something is a common figure of speech doesn’t make it not dumb as bricks.

Just because people phrase things stupidly ALL THE TIME doesn’t excuse them from using stupid phrasing.

In addition, such things become massively irritating to people who work in places which require constant “small talk” with a succession of random strangers, all of whom think that their sad and unoriginal conversational gambits are epic masterpieces of wit.

Patron - “How do you like your job?” (asked while my boss, conveniently wearing a BIG nametag labeled “Boss” is standing behind me.)
Me “Eh, it sucks, but don’t tell my boss!”

WTF, people?

When college students who have been absent fail to consult the syllabus or talk to a classmate, I often get that irritating question “What did we do in class?”

This is open to all kinds of smart-alecky answers…

“Oh, we sat here, slept at our desks, and accomplished nothing, but at least we had a good rest.”

“We dissected a human body on my table.” [It’s an English class.]

“We solved the world’s problems, balanced California’s budget, and took a stroll around the campus looking for pot dealers–oh, I mean medical marijuana dispensers.”

And so on.

I have to assume (wrongly maybe) that people that don’t ‘get’ this question don’t have kids. I have (Well she’s older now, so ‘had’) a good baby. She went to bed a good hour, slept through the night, other then feedings, at 10 days old, never really put foreign objects in her mouth, wasn’t overly clingy to mommy/daddy so she was easy for baby sitters, wasn’t a picky eater, wasn’t colicky etc…

OTOH, I know people who, when asked that question will tell you the war stories of trying to put their kid to bed at night, having to listen to them cry for an hour, trying to find food that they’ll eat, spending the better part of the day just making sure they weren’t putting things in their mouth, coming home to find the baby sitters ready to pull their hair out (and not wanting to babysit again for them), doc/ER visits 10-12 times per year because they were always coming down with something or hurting themselves etc…

Also, I don’t think it’s poorly worded, I think if you’re offended by it, you need to relax because you’re taking it to seriously. I think most parents understand what is meant by good/bad baby…also, don’t forget, we’re talking about a baby, someone under the age of 1 or 2. If someone asked if your 3,4,5…year old was a good or bad child that would have an entirely different meaning.

Joey P is correct. Saying that a baby is not “good” in this context is not a criticism of either baby or parent. Some parents certainly do answer, or volunteer, that their baby is not good. Usually these are people who either have had more than one themselves, or had experience with other babies before their first, so they’re aware of how babies vary. Given good parenting, at least, there is no correlation between how “good” a baby is and how well the older child will behave.

I have kids and always despised that question about “good babies”. I know what they mean, but it always bugged me.