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A Fable about Response

A gathering of about two dozens of the hoi polloi interested in self improvement fills this fourth floor walk-up seminar room. The topic under discussion is "Response to Difficult Situations."

Consummate professional at this, the Clever Speaker can employ a number of tricks and stratagems to enhance his audience's interest. This afternoon, his narrow, long-fingered hands expressive of every word, he begins, "Let's start with one of those tricky situations that favors the nimble wit."

He chooses five representative characters from the audience to demonstrate his example - this dicey circumstance being that if a winsome gambler, a handsome pimp, a wholesome dry-goods merchant, an awesome pangenetic person, and a loathsome former lover, each suggests, "Come go with me!" How would you react?

Then baring a smile only a blind dog would trust, the Smooth Speaker, with a sweeping gesture of his elegant hand, caresses some air towards the quintet and asks, "So how does one, how would any of you, respond?"

Strolling seconds saunter by as an almost visible quiet grows. Audience ambience evolves from alert Amusement to somewhere close to awkward Anxiety. And still no answer is put forth by anyone on the stage.

Then there is a group-sigh of Relief as a red-haired mature in the second row raises her hand and says conversationally, "Why?"

The Confident Speaker, cocked his head and cupped hand at his right ear. "What was that?" he asked in robust voice.

The redhead cleared her throat and was louder, "Yeah! Yu'know what I mean? Why should she, at all?"

To which the Speaker had no comeback.

Moral: The good question might spur profundity.

(c) Kelvin Christopher James