It began so innocently. I was at a party and someone suggested a drinking game. Everyone was laughing and egging each other on, and I said, “Why?” Questioning what everyone else accepted felt so good, I just wanted to keep doing it. In the beginning, I would ask “why?” as a way to relax, to relieve some of the stress in my life. I was a social questioner, only when I was with friends. But then I started questioning more and more, and pretty soon it began to take over my life.
Before long, I was questioning things at work. I knew that asking why was dangerous, and that questioning things on the job will lead to unemployment, but I couldn’t stop myself. I would read my emails and think, just to myself, very quietly, “why?” I would read politicians’ statements on the issues of the day and question the claims they made and the statistics they cited. Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, Green Party, I questioned them all. I was out of control.
It spilled over into my personal life. My boyfriend and I would be on a dinner date, having a wonderful time, and he would make some remark, and before I could help myself, I would ask, “Why?” At first he laughed. He thought I was cute when I was questioning. But as time went on and it became clear that I was questioning all the time, the laughter stopped, and so did the dinner dates.
I tried to hide my questions, but then my boyfriend would find me in front of the television at 3 in the morning, watching infomercials and screaming questions at the smiling people on the screen. When he finally left me, all I could do was ask God why.
At last, my boss called me in. “You’re a great worker, and you know I like you,” he said, “but if you keep up all this questioning, I’m going to have to let you go.” My mouth felt like it was on automatic pilot as it formed the syllable of my destruction. I looked at my boss, unable to stop it from happening, and said “Why?” I knew, as I was cleaning out my desk, that I had hit my lowest point.
But God works in mysterious ways. Just as I hit rock bottom, I could see my situation clearly for the first time. I would never find the answer through questioning. On that day, I joined my local chapter of Questioners Anonymous and finally stopped asking “Why?”
Since then, I’ve never missed a Q/A meeting. We read the newspaper and nod in agreement with every sentence. We’ve attended rallies and political primaries across the state. We’ve handed out pamphlets in front of debate halls and institutions of higher education, spreading the word to the unfortunate questioners still struggling with their addictions. We speak to young people about the dangers of asking why, hoping to prevent it before it starts. When someone asks us why we do this, we just smile and nod, and ignore the question.
If you find yourself questioning what you see on the news, read in the paper, or hear from Some Guy At The Bar, just remember: you don’t have to live like that. Help is available for those who don’t ask.