Generalities vs. Straight Answers

HAVE YOU EVER KNOWN someone who just can’t give a straight answer? Who answers questions with questions, or answers without answering the actual question? Politicians do this all the time, of course, and there’s a fine art to saying a lot of words but not actually saying anything substantial. Sometimes though, saying very little, to avoid a straight answer can not only be frustrating, but funny, too.

Once, when an old friend lost his job we were all curious about what happened. He loved that job and the company, so we were surprised to hear he was no longer working there.

“So what happened, did you get laid off?”

“Ehhhh…you know, it was ‘one of those things'”

“One of what things?”

“Oh, you know, it is what it is…”

“Dude, we don’t know…what is it? Did you get fired? Were you laid off?”

“Eh, it’s neither here, no there.”

What? Where…wait…what happened?”

“Shit happens, you know how it is: six of one, half-dozen of the other.”

“What the hell? Now there’s math involved? Was there a layoff? Did you quit?”

“Oh, you know how it goes, que sera, sera…”

“Jesus! Now you’re speaking Spanish? Tell us what happened!”

And on it went. We never did get a straight answer but to this day, whenever someone asks a lot of questions, or won’t answer questions, I always think of all those non-specific generalities.

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