Okay, maybe there are stupid questions

Today I got one of those fun ref desk phonecalls asking me to settle a bet. The caller asked, "What year did the Trade Center go down?"

I said, "You mean the year it was destroyed?"

She said yes, and I said, "September 11, 2001," because it was a no-brainer for me and I would guess most Americans.

She replied, "I knew it! Will you tell my friend? He doesn't believe me." Being the impeccable public servant that I am, I said that would be fine.

So the guy gets on the phone. I said, "Hi, you were asking about the World Trade Center? It was destroyed in 2001."

"Are you sure?" he asks. "I think it was 2002. I saw it on TV."

"I'm positive. They probably showed footage on the anniversary"

"How do you know?"

"Uh, I was there. Do you want me to get you a cite?" He did, and so I looked up World Trade Center in Encyclopedia Americana. Sure enough, it was destroyed in a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. This seemed to finally satisfy the guy.

Geez. Have we come to this already? How can someone forget WHICH YEAR THE WTC ATTACK HAPPENED IN???? Especially with the Republicans reminding us every day! Especially when it was only 3 years ago!

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

PS--I wasn't actually in NYC on Sept. 11--I said that I was there in the sense that I assumed all Americans were there. No one I know will ever forget that day. But apparently one guy in Montana did!


I really hope it was a mean-spirited game of "let's rattle the librarian" instead of the profound ignorance you suspect.We recently got an e-mail question that simply said:"All the states except Alaska and Hawaii."????Being tolerant folks, we sent a clarification to the patron asking what they wanted know about "All the states except Alaska and Hawaii." So far, no response. A response of "everything" will be sent to www.50states.com or an encyclopedia.

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