I'm just sayin'

I Don’t Know, Is Not An Answer

on June 16, 2012

“If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?”  I imagine some individuals would answer right away. Some people would have to ponder. I don’t think there’s anything to ponder. Who would NOT have something they would change, even if it was as simple as saying, “Screw it, I’m going to have that second cup of coffee. “ Or that second donut. That second bourbon. Or third. I’m just sayin’, what would stop you from throwing caution to the wind. When death can be the consequence for your actions, like skydiving, jumping the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle, scuba diving with sharks, the death thing is a deterrent – for most. (Obviously not for all people, because death row is full.) But if you knew you were going to die suddenly, no pain or illness just walking along main street window shopping one afternoon and boom, you’re dead. Flat out on the sidewalk. Your Starbuck coffee dripping out of the little sippy hole. You have on your old underwear. I think the question is, WHAT would you change about the way you are living now. I would have a hard time believing anybody who said they wouldn’t change a thing.

That question came from a little book I have cherished for years, it’s called, The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock PH.D. The edition I have includes 217 thought provoking questions which will fuel deep conversations, even amongst strangers. As a matter of fact, I bought this book for my cousin when I visited her in Hawaii. While in Honolulu I visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial. On the shuttle going to Pearl Harbor I met newlyweds from our hotel and we hit it off right away. The wife and I were cracking each other up all the way to the memorial grounds. We sat together in the Pearl Harbor Theater where we were shown the short film describing the infamous day, showing actual footage from the bombings and listing names of men who died, brothers and fathers and sons. Pretty moving and thought provoking which got us talking afterwards about ‘what if’s’ and that led me to tell her about The Book of Questions. Well, she and her husband looked at each other and back at me and they told me that while they were dating she asked him a question from that very same book every night. They couldn’t believe I had such a fondness for this little gem of a book. Coincidence? Hummm.

With this book who needs on-line dating? Just ask your date a couple of questions from Stock’s book, assuming they are telling the truth, it will tell you a lot about that person. There are no right or wrong answers. And ‘I don’t know’ is NOT an answer. Think about the question. Here’s another one for you; “You, your closest friend and your father are on vacation together, hiking in a remote jungle. Your two companions stumble into a nest of poisonous vipers and are bitten repeatedly. You know neither will live without an immediate shot of anti-venom, yet there is only a single dose of anti-venom and it is in your pocket. What would you do?”  There are things to consider, such as, who do you like better? What if you have a flashback of  your dad taking the car keys away when you were in high school? You have to consider your father has already lived longer than your friend. Your dad’s had more opportunities in life than your close friend who hasn’t married yet, hasn’t had kids or never had true love. Who do you save? In reality TV style maybe you could have each of them try to convince you that they are the one to save. Your friend would be saying, “Hey, remember that time I took the blame for the missing beers from your Uncle’s ‘fridge and he punched me?”  What’s your dad got, “Uh, remember that time I tried to stop you kids from having a dance at school?” Oh wait, that was Footloose with Kevin Bacon. You get the drift. What WOULD you do, panic and miss the window of opportunity to save either one? I have to admit, I’m just having trouble imagining that I’m hiking in a remote jungle in the vicinity of poisonous vipers, actually a nest of poisonous vipers. And mosquitoes, I’m sure. If you choose to save your dad he may put a little something extra in the inheritance for you. Hummm. However, if he’s dead you get that inheritance a little sooner. What if you save him and there is no inheritance; he spent it all on a vacation to a remote jungle with poisonous vipers? Ponder that.

Happy Father’s Day!



One response to “I Don’t Know, Is Not An Answer

  1. Noele Parente says:

    My Dad?? In a jungle??? Oh and LOVE that book!

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