Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

So, what do you do?

I had no idea that the “what do you do?” question was so emotionally loaded until I ran across this post, and the slew of reader comments that follow, on the New York Times Freakonomics bleg. I confess, I don’t really get why people would get offended by ignorant questions about what they do for a living. Offended by malicious questions, sure. Condescending questions, of course. But we are all ignorant about other people’s specialties, and the person who makes an effort to dispel his own ignorance by asking someone more knowledgeable than himself, in my opinion, deserves some patience. After all, most people don’t feel comfortable revealing their ignorance in front of strangers. Asking questions can be scary! So, at my next meet-and-greet, I am going to do new acquaintances a favor and give them some unexpected tidbit of information that will make them appear well-informed the next time they meet someone in my field of expertise; I hope they will do the same for me. Hopefully it won’t go like this flowchart from http://www.monster-munch.com/

So What Do You Do?

So What Do You Do?

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