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A not-so-simple question

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 00:00

Dr. Suess suggested that, “Sometimes the questions are complicated at the answers are simple.” I think he may have been on to something. At least, that’s how it seemed last Thursday.

You see, Thursday is the day Eric, my “first-call” sales representative and, after all these many years, my friend, stops by to take our stock order and visit for a while — not necessarily in that order.

Truth be told, there are times the visiting gets in the way of the ordering, and other times when the ordering makes the visiting almost impossible. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to build a strong and fairly resilient relationship over a good chuck of the past 25 years. That’s why I may have been caught off guard when, as he was leaving, he stopped, turned and almost in passing asked, “Everything is OK, isn’t it? I mean, if it wasn’t, you would tell me, right?”

On the surface, that seems like a fairly simple and straightforward question — a basic “How are we doing?” kind of question that would, or should, require an equally simple straightforward answer, such as, “fine,” “great,” maybe even “terrific.”

But how many “simple” questions have you had to confront lately, especially in this economy?

I thought about it for a moment and realized questions like these just don’t fall from the sky. There had to be a reason, something driving a question like that, something forcing it to the surface, something calling out for answer. So, I took a deep breath and entered the circle that inquiry created and parried with a not-so-simple question of my own. “Why do you ask?”

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