“WH” Questions

Language arts classes have begun again, in schools everywhere, and I’m glad of it. Of course, I’m not a student. I’m not gripping the wrong end of a pencil and staring into space as my teacher explains the elements of a narrative. I’m not doodling a picture of Super Mario, or endlessly shuffling papers that don’t need to be shuffled, as the teacher delivers a lesson on writing WH questions (who, what, where, when and why). Therefore, in honor of the children I help to write each day, I’ve decided to join them. Here follows an alternate version of WH questions.

Who in the world would grin from ear to ear while flushing water up their nose? Yet recently, I saw several delighted people do just that on a television advertisement promoting nasal irrigation implements. As they tilted their heads back with a smile, and allowed a cup of salty brine to pass unhindered through their nasal cavities, they looked positively radiant. Is that even possible? Am I missing something? Is it really that enjoyable?

I’m not saying it’s not beneficial. I’m saying it can’t possibly warrant such expressions of joy.

What sort of movies do criminals watch? Husband Tom and I saw The Equalizer this week. It’s an action thriller about an ex-marine turned vigilante. As we watched each scene of mayhem unfold, I thought of the criminals that were either shot, stabbed, skewered, lacerated, crushed or choked to death. People like films where the good guy triumphs, but would bad guys want to see this?

Wouldn’t they commiserate with the crooks? Feel for the felons? Hope for the hoods? So, what do they watch?

Where are the editorials, news articles and magazine pieces that don’t cite people’s age? Is this information really relevant? Must we know that the perpetrator of a crime was 38? Is it important to understand the winner of a car was 53? I can think of only one instance where knowing someone’s age might be interesting, one day, many long years from now;

Helen Row Toews, 98 year old Canadian writer, was last seen boarding a Boeing 747 for Europe. Her exact whereabouts are unknown at this time.

 When is it okay to be completely honest with someone? I worked with a man who spent each day talking about his garden. He spoke lovingly of shrubs, perennials and fruit trees before waxing eloquent over topsoil and fertilizer. He discussed at length the merits of compost, raised beds and proper drainage. That’s why, when he downsized his plot and offered me his castoffs, I happily agreed. What wondrous variety of greenery would I receive? I rubbed my hands with glee. Backing up to his house, I hopped out to find him already loading plants into my truck; 73 of them actually. Each one precisely the same as the last—all garlic chives. When would anyone, ever want 73 garlic chive plants? But did I tell him this was madness? Order him to stop? Ask him to give his head a shake?

Nope. I thanked him kindly, drove home and swept all but five into a ditch.

Why are all the actors in romantic movies either ruggedly handsome or drop-dead gorgeous? Even an actress walking her dog three blocks away from the action, the taxi driver in scene two, and a guy rolling past the camera in a garbage truck during the credits, were all unbelievably attractive. Heck, I’ll bet the people coming on set to deliver food, fix hair or sweep the flippin’ floor aren’t allowed in unless they’re ravishingly good-looking! This is not reality! Why are all the chunky, plain folks like me excluded? Why has the average person not been involved? Why has no one with an uneven complexion been employed? Or folks with bad haircuts or big feet?

I call discrimination!

Thus concludes my tirade using WH questions. While not quite the essay that educators are looking for when teaching this lesson, it’ll have to do. Perhaps you have a few WH questions yourself?

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