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Answering All Those Unanswerable 'Ramona-Questions'

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping —
Answering All Those Unanswerable ‘Ramona-Questions’

Fascist State -- Ramona QuestionsI ask a lot of questions. Some are part of my job as a coach, organizer, and trainer. (Yes it’s true, folks actually pay me good money to needle them with tons of annoying queries — usually those that they’ve avoided addressing on their own!) Some help me be a better writer, speaker, and artist. But most are just random (and often rather surreal) observations about the world around me. I’m one of those hyper-observant people who’s always watching — not merely glancing or casually looking, but really SEARCHING for something unusual. (I spend a lot of time peering through a camera lens, and I think that’s ruined me for normal interaction with my environment!) Wherever I go and whatever I do, I have a tendency to focus in on some oddity, some incongruity, some strange fact of life that no one else in the group seems to be noticing.

It’s at this point that I’m morally obligated to bring the issue to everyone’s attention (whether they like it or not). I myself call these little asides “Ramona-Questions,” while my friend Rich has labeled my commentary “Notes From Captain Obvious” — but if these thoughts were so damned apparent, wouldn’t everyone have already had them by now? (On a side note, Rich is officially known as “Tangent Man” because of the abrupt out-of-nowhere shifts in conversation that are his specialty — when you put our superpowers together, we make a pretty entertaining team!) My profundities are usually met with either a blank stare, a raised eyebrow, or a disbelieving shake of the head — however, I like to think that my bizarre and esoteric running narration is amusing enough to keep my peeps coming back for more.

I’ve been killed-the-cat-curious ever since I was a child — shock of all shocks, I was one of those annoying tots who wanted to know why the sky is blue and the grass is green. No, strike that — I was actually more like my good buddy Calvin, tossing out age-inappropriate rhetoricals and philosophical non-sequiturs that just confused everyone. And while (in every other way) I’m a 180-degree different person now, at least in this respect I haven’t changed one iota since I was 6 — and I never intend to!

The problem is that I have too many interests. I find everything fascinating — and so, of course, I want to know more. How things are made and why they aren’t made better. Where some of our stranger cliches and cultural traditions come from. The nature of existence and our purpose on this planet. Why the English language (and the bible and the legal system and our government) are so filled with stupidities and inconsistencies. Whether milk poured on cereal is a beverage, a broth, or a sauce. If a pregnant woman or a hearse bearing a dead body should be eligible to drive in the HOV lane. Whether conjoined twins should be charged 1 admission or 2 when they visit a theme park. And most of all, I want to know what people like me would do to entertain themselves if there were no hypothetical questions!

Since religion in general seems to be all about ambiguity (I could never get a straight answer from anyone when I kicked into questioning mode during Sunday school) — it seemed only appropriate that I include my own collection of imponderables in The Church Of Ramona. I’ve emptied my head of my favorite contemplatives so that you can contemplate them too — enjoy!

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconAnimal Questions


  • Why is it legal to kill a deer and mount it on your wall, but not to capture one live to keep as a pet?
  • Does PETA have a philosophical problem with folks eating animal crackers?
  • Shouldn’t a male ladybug be a “manbug” and a female daddy longlegs be a “mommy longlegs?”
  • Why aren’t more house cats allergic to the people they live with?
  • How does a shepherd inventory his flock without falling asleep?
  • When a kid pulls the wings off a fly, does it become a walk?
  • Why do they call it “getting an animal fixed” when the goal is to stop those parts from working?
  • Why is it okay for an aquarium cafeteria to serve fish and not okay for a zoo cafeteria to serve lion?
  • When you say you’ve been “working like a dog,” does that mean you laid around and slept all day?
  • If you see an African elephant in an American zoo, is it now an African-American elephant?
  • If a turtle loses its shell is it naked, homeless, or just dead?
  • When a bunch of kittens lay on top of each other, is it still considered a dogpile?
  • When was cat-skinning so popular that there was more than one way to do it?

Fascist State -- Brain IconCommon Sense Questions


  • Why are marbles not made of marble?
  • If #2 pencils are the most popular, shouldn’t they have become #1 by now?
  • Why is there a light in the refrigerator and not in the freezer?
  • Shouldn’t boxing rings be round?
  • Why do men and women with the same size feet have different shoe sizes?
  • Why do we ask for a check in a restaurant when we know they’re going to bring a bill instead?
  • Should “bald” be considered a hair color on your drivers license?
  • How can Hawaii have an interstate highway?
  • Why is it called a “black light” when it’s actually purple?
  • If soap is supposed to make you clean, why does it leave a scum?
  • If the guy next to the groom is really the best man, why isn’t the bride marrying him instead?
  • How many folks thought of Post-It notes before 3M, but had nothing to jot the idea down on?
  • Why do we call it “common sense” when so few people seem to possess it?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconDeath Questions


  • If something scares you half to death twice, do you die?
  • If christians believe in life after death, why is marriage “until death do you part?”
  • If one member of a synchronized swimming team drowns mid-performance, do they all follow suit?
  • Why do commercial airliners provide you with a flotation device and not a parachute?
  • Shouldn’t you change the name of your living room if someone dies there?
  • If you’re in hell and you get mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?
  • If we say that someone has died prematurely, why do we call them “late” instead of “early?”
  • If they can make the black box indestructible, why can’t the make the plane of the same material?
  • Can a hearse driver who’s carrying a body legally travel in the HOV lane?
  • If someone with multiple personalities commits suicide, isn’t that technically mass murder?
  • Why do they call it “life insurance” when it’s really death insurance?
  • How can anything be “cold as hell?”
  • Why do they bother sterilizing the needle before a lethal injection?
  • How important does a person have to be before they’re “assassinated” instead of just “murdered?”
  • Why are you at “death’s doorstep” when you’re almost dead, but not in “death’s house” after you die?
  • How old do you have to be before it can be said that you died of old age?

Fascist State -- Brain IconEnglish Language Questions


  • Why don’t people abbreviate the word “abbreviation?”
  • Can you think of another word for synonym?
  • Whose cruel idea was it for the word “lisp” to have an “s” in it?
  • Why isn’t the word “phonetic” spelled like it sounds?
  • Why does the word “monosyllabic” have so many syllables?
  • Why do you get “on” a train or bus or plane, but “in” a car?
  • If the rule is “I-before-E-except-after-C,” isn’t “science” spelled wrong?
  • What is the opposite of opposite?
  • Why is the phobia for the fear of long words called hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?
  • Why is the abbreviation “Mrs.” when there’s no “r” in the word “missus?”
  • Why isn’t the word for a palindrome spelled the same way backward as forward?
  • Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced “onety-one?”
  • It’s possible to be underwhelmed and to be overwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
  • Why doesn’t “onomatopoeia” sound like what it is?
  • Shouldn’t “quite a lot” mean “more” and “quite a few” mean “less?”
  • Why is it so hard to remember how to spell “mnemonic?”

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconFaulty Definition Questions


  • Why do they call it your “bottom” when it’s in the exact middle of your body?
  • Why do people say “heads up” when they want you to duck?
  • Why are highways built at ground level?
  • Why is it called a “building” if they’re already done putting it up?
  • When you say, “That’s the pinnacle of bad taste,” wouldn’t it actually be the nadir?
  • Why would you give your money to a “broker” and then expect him to help you get rich?
  • Why do they always call them “crop circles,” even when they’re other shapes?
  • Why isn’t describing something as “cool” the opposite of describing something as “hot?”
  • Why do we say both “slim chance” and “fat chance” when we really mean “no chance?”
  • Why do we call it a “near miss” and not a “near hit?”
  • What exactly is a “training bra” teaching you?
  • Why do we say it is “after dark” at night when it’s really “after light?”
  • Why is it the “World Series” when the only countries competing are the U.S. and Canada?
  • Shouldn’t the “permanent press” setting on your iron mean that you never have to iron again?
  • Why do we use the term “nonstop flight” when every flight has to stop eventually?
  • Why do the Allstate insurance ads have a disclaimer that says “not available in all states?”

Fascist State -- Brain IconFood Questions


  • How can you tell when sour cream goes bad?
  • Why don’t they make teeth-cleaning treats for humans?
  • If croutons are nothing but stale bread to begin with, why seal them in airtight packages?
  • Why is my lemon juice made with artificial flavor and my dish soap made with real lemons?
  • Why do you pay extra to have an item added to your burger, but not get a rebate for removing one?
  • Why do they call it 2% milk? It’s 2% fat — it should be 98% milk.
  • If tomatoes are a fruit, why don’t smoothie stores offer “ketchup” as a flavor?
  • Who first looked at a mushroom and say, “Let’s eat that thing growing out of that cow patty?”
  • What does a Triscuit have 3 of that a biscuit only has 2 of?
  • When your Hot Pocket cools off, is it just a pocket?
  • If “revenge is a dish best served cold” and “revenge is sweet,” is Cherry Garcia a form of revenge?
  • Do pasta and antipasta cancel each other out?
  • If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
  • When frozen yogurt melts, why doesn’t it revert back to regular yogurt?
  • Who first thought that chicken embryos sounded like something tasty to eat?
  • Where do seedless watermelons come from?
  • When you pour milk on your cereal, is it a beverage, a broth, or a sauce?
  • If prunes are dehydrated plums, where does prune juice come from?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconFunky Word-Usage Questions


  • When a French person swears, does he say, “Pardon my English?”
  • If it’s your “armpit,” why don’t we call it your “kneepit” and “elbowpit,” too?
  • How did “blow” and “suck” both come to mean something being crap?
  • Why is it a “pair of panties” when there is only one? And why not a “pair of brassieres?”
  • Why do people say they feel “blue,” but never “red” or “purple” or “orange?”
  • Why do we regularly say “bye-bye,” but not “hi-hi?”
  • Why don’t we ever say that something is “in whack?”
  • What do you call an earthquake on another planet?
  • Are you insulting or complimenting a vacuum when you say it sucks?
  • Shouldn’t it be “teethbrush” instead of “toothbrush,” unless you really only have a single tooth?
  • Why do we call a piano-player a “pianist,” but we don’t call a relay-runner a “racist?”
  • If we call the hair over your eye and “eyebrow,” shouldn’t a moustache be called a “mouthbrow?”
  • Why does “cleave” mean both to split apart and to cling together?
  • What exactly would constitute a “gruntled” employee?
  • Why do we still call it “shipping” when a package is being sent by plane or truck?

Fascist State -- Brain IconJuxtaposition Questions


  • If “dumbass” is an insult, shouldn’t “smartass” be a compliment? (Actually, I already think it is!)
  • Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? (The old classics are the best!)
  • How can a product be both “new” and “improved” at the same time?
  • Why do we call them “innocent bystanders?” Are there ever any “guilty bystanders?”
  • How is that we can “type up” but also “write down” the same words?
  • Why do we put suits in a garment bag, but all our other garments in a suitcase?
  • If cursing is so immature, why is it considered adult language?
  • Shouldn’t “caregiver” be the person giving care and “caretaker” be the person receiving?
  • Why do we say that an alarm is “going off” when it’s actually turning on?
  • Is it fair to call a bad round of golf “subpar?”
  • Why are you a “wise man” if you say something smart, and a “wise guy” if you say something stupid?
  • In all those old WWII pictures, why did kamikaze pilots bother wearing parachutes?
  • Why are they called “apartments” when they’re stuck together?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called “rush hour?”
  • If you feel that you’ve been screwed by the Better Business Bureau, who do you complain to?
  • If masochists like being tortured, wouldn’t the biggest torture of all be not being tortured?
  • If were on the second floor in a 3-story house, wouldn’t you be both upstairs and downstairs?
  • How can you die laughing if laughter is the best medicine?
  • When does it stop being partly cloudy and start being partly sunny?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconKid Questions


  • If you teach your children not to talk to strangers, how are they ever supposed to make friends?
  • If pregnant women can’t drive alone in the HOV lanes, doesn’t that mean a fetus isn’t a person?
  • Why is it considered good to be a “daddy’s girl,” but bad to be a “momma’s boy?”
  • If Jesus was the only son of god and we’re all god’s children, shouldn’t all babies be female?
  • Corn oil is made from corn, olive oil is made from olives — what is baby oil made from?
  • Does the parent of a deaf child ever tell that kid not to talk with his hands full?
  • Shouldn’t we say we “slept like a baby” when woke up every 2 hours?
  • When a car you’re rear-ending has a “baby on board” sign, should you swerve to hit someone else?
  • Why is there no “E” grade given out in school?
  • Why do all those street signs that say “slow children” show a picture of a running child?
  • Why do we call the elderly “old people,” but we don’t call children “new people?”
  • If a deaf child curses in sign language, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
  • Why do we tell kids not to take candy from strangers, then send them door-to-door on Halloween?
  • If a naughty child asks santa for coal for Christmas, does he get it?
  • If we’re all are born sinners, why aren’t more christians in favor of birth control?
  • Why are children allowed to act in rated R movies when they’re not allowed to watch them?
  • If chocolate chip cookies are made with chocolate chips, what are girl scout cookies made with?

Fascist State -- Brain IconOffensively Non-PC Questions


  • When conjoined twins have sex with someone, is it technically a threesome?
  • If you rape a prostitute, is it considered shoplifting?
  • Is it racist to assume that all black people are offended by the word “nigger?”
  • Where does the toe tag go on a dead quadriplegic?
  • When a deaf person with Parkinsons signs, is he stuttering?
  • Do conjoined twins have to pay for 1 admission or 2 at a theme park?
  • Is the parking lot at the Special Olympics nothing but handicapped spaces?
  • Can an overweight person ever really go skinny-dipping?
  • If Hooters only hires waitresses with big breasts, shouldn’t IHOP only hire one-legged waitresses?
  • Does alphabet soup have any meaning to a dyslexic person?
  • Why do they put braille on drive-through window signs?
  • When a man marries a conjoined twin, is he guilty of bigamy?
  • Can a teacher give a homeless child homework?
  • When a deaf-mute presents his court case, is it still a “hearing?” Wouldn’t it be a “seeing?”
  • Is a comedian in a wheelchair still doing stand-up comedy?
  • Would you call a case of the clap that spreads a case of the applause?
  • How do they list an amputee’s height on his drivers license?
  • If a woman with one arm went in for a manicure, would she pay half price?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconPhilosophical Questions


  • If you put a slinky on an escalator, would it just keep going forever?
  • If all the world is a stage, who’s left to be in the audience?
  • If you spend your day doing nothing, how do you know when you’re done?
  • Why is it only a penny for your own thoughts, but you give others your 2-cents’ worth? Inflation?
  • If there’s an exception to every rule, what’s the exception to that rule?
  • They say, “actions speak louder than words” — so how can the pen be mightier than the sword?
  • If a genie grants you 3 wishes, but you can’t ask for more wishes — can you ask for more genies?
  • How can you tell when your pen has run out of invisible ink?
  • If the sign-makers union went on strike, would they just carry around blank boards?
  • “No shirt, no shoes, no service” — so you can come in without pants on and be served?
  • Is an orange named after the color, or is the color named after the fruit?
  • What if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about?
  • Do National Park Service rangers spend a weekend in the city to “get away from it all?”
  • If the sky is the limit, is outer space “over-the-limit?”
  • If quitters never win and winners never quit, who came up with the idea to quit while you’re ahead?

Fascist State -- Brain IconPolitical And Legal Questions


  • Why is there only one Monopolies Commision? Don’t they have a monopoly?
  • If the police arrest a mute criminal, do they still tell him he has the right to remain silent?
  • Once an anarchist organization forms, does it immediately disband out of principle?
  • Why is it legal to sell personal services in this country, unless your service is sex?
  • Why is it called the “People’s Republic Of China” when it’s not actually a republic?
  • If an atheist swears on a bible in court, does it count?
  • Why do car companies make vehicles that go to 130 mph when it’s illegal to drive that fast?
  • Why do bars have parking lots if it’s illegal to drink and drive?
  • Shouldn’t you be allowed to hunt and kill IRS agents during tax season?
  • If their motto is “Live Free Or Die,” why do they have prisons in New Hampshire?
  • If we agree to teach religion in schools, shouldn’t we be allowed to teach science in church?
  • If crime fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? (Thank you George Carlin!)
  • Shouldn’t the Department Of The Interior actually be the Department Of The Exterior?
  • If “god told me to” isn’t a valid legal defense, could you say that god consitutes a reasonable doubt?
  • Can a stripper write breast implants and a g-string off on her taxes as a business expense?
  • Why should a bald restaurant worker legally have to wear a hairnet?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconPop-Culture Questions


  • Where in the nursery rhyme does it say anything about Humpty Dumpty being an egg?
  • If Popeye can open a can of spinach with his bare hands, why does he need spinach for strength?
  • Why does the sun on the Raisin Bran logo wear sunglasses? To protect his eyes from the sun?
  • Can Superman still see when he closes his eyes?
  • The minute someone self-identifies as a hipster, doesn’t that make them not one?
  • Why do cartoon characters that don’t wear pants wrap towels around their waists after a shower?
  • Why do they only cast the fakest people for reality shows?
  • Why isn’t Tarzan ever depicted with a beard?
  • Why is it called “Donkey Kong” when he’s a gorilla?
  • If Wyle E. Coyote has money to be catalog shopping at Acme, why doesn’t he just order take-out?
  • How could the Flintstones have possibly celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving?
  • Why do you say an actor was “in” a movie but “on” a television show?
  • Why color is a hypoxic Smurf?
  • Why didn’t Luke Skywalker tell Darth Vader to turn to the light side of the Force?
  • If a hipster trend becomes mainstream, is anyone who mocks that trend automatically a hipster?
  • How does Edward Scissorhands use the restroom?

Fascist State -- Brain IconRedundancy Questions


  • Why does the phrase “it goes without saying” even exist?
  • Why do “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing?
  • When they say “for indoor or outdoor use only” on Christmas lights, what other options are there?
  • Why does the bank charge an “insufficient funds” fee, knowing you don’t have the money to pay it?
  • When you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, is the rock not also hard?
  • Why do we call it a “grapefruit” when there’s already a fruit called a grape?
  • Why do we call punch-card-clocks “time clocks?” Aren’t all clocks technically time clocks?
  • Why do people say, “ATM machine” — when that means “automated teller machine machine?”
  • How can someone tell you that they are speechless?
  • Why do sleeping pills come with a warning label that says, “May cause drowsiness?”
  • Why do people say, “PIN number” — when that means “personal identification number number?”
  • How can you describe anything as “indescribable?”
  • Why have a warning on peanut butter that says, “May contain nuts or pieces of nuts?”
  • Why do we call them “hot water heaters” when they’re actually heating not-hot-water?
  • Aren’t all gifts free?
  • Why do we sing “Take me out to the ball game” when we’re already there?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconReligious Questions


  • If we all descend from Adam and Eve, isn’t the entire human race technically inbred?
  • If we’re all god’s children, what’s so special about Jesus?
  • If god created everything, who created God?
  • Would someone who is afraid of heights be terrified the whole time in heaven?
  • If it’s all part of god’s plan, aren’t atheists part of god’s plan?
  • What does it say about the state of morality when the bible is the most shoplifted book in the world?
  • If satan punishes evildoers, doesn’t that put him on god’s side?
  • Did Noah have 2 mosquitoes, 2 pubic lice, and 2 AIDS viruses on his ark?
  • If you’re born again, shouldn’t you get a second belly button?
  • Do older people read the bible more because they feel as though they’re cramming for a final exam?
  • If heat rises, shouldn’t heaven be hotter than hell?
  • Did god create Adam and Eve with or without navels?
  • If god made us in his image, why aren’t we all invisible?
  • If you could prove the existence of god, wouldn’t that still be science?
  • Is the first commandment an admission of the existence of other gods?

Fascist State -- Brain IconScientific Questions


  • What would you use if you wanted to dilute water?
  • Would a radioactive cat have 18 half-lives?
  • If the folks at the psychic hotlines were really psychic, wouldn’t they call you?
  • Why don’t we have a word like “blind” or “deaf” for someone who can’t smell or taste?
  • When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, do we all cease to exist?
  • Which way does water spin down the drain at the equator?
  • What do people who have been blind since birth see when they dream?
  • If you ran up the aisle on a plane going the speed of sound, would you make a sonic boom?
  • Geographically, where is “Old Zealand?”
  • How do you write “zero” in Roman numerals?
  • When a stealth bomber crashes, can you hear it?
  • Why do your fingers and toes get pruney in water, and not your knees or elbows or nose?
  • How do deaf people know the difference between someone yawning and someone screaming?
  • Is “clear” technically a color?
  • Why don’t you ever see the headline, “Psychic Wins Lottery?”
  • What color is a chameleon placed in a room full of repeating mirrors?

Fascist State -- Question Mark IconThinking-Way-Too-Hard Questions


  • If you expect the unexpected, is it?
  • If you try to fail and succeed, have you failed or succeeded?
  • What happens when someone who’s in love stands on his head?
  • If you’re from Hamburg and you eat at McDonald’s, do you order one of yourself with cheese?
  • If I decide that I’m indecisive, am I?
  • Can it ever really be “opposite day?”
  • If you drive past a road sign that says, “Do not pass,” have you broken the law?
  • If I make a conscious decision to procrastinate later, am I still procrastinating?
  • Isn’t a “self-help group” actually just a “help group?”
  • If a magician is performing his show on a foggy night, is he making things disappear into thick air?
  • Is the second hand on a watch actually the second hand — or is it the third hand?
  • When I get ahead of myself, am I automatically also running behind?
  • Is the down escalator still actually an escalator?
  • If a chronic liar tells you he’s a chronic liar, should you believe him?
  • If you’re touching a mirror that says “objects are closer than they appear,” how can that be possible?
  • If a queen gives birth to conjoined twins, which one is heir to the throne?
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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