Questions That Have No Answers

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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A couple of weeks ago, we answered the great philosophical questions asked by Socrates, and by golly we did it Payson-style.

The questions are: What is virtue? What is moderation? What is justice? What is good? What is courage? What is piety?

If you missed it, the consensus opinion of those Roundup staffers who participated in our philosophical forum decided Socrates and his questions were irrelevant, and that all you needed to know about life could be found in "The Wizard of Oz" -- that if you had brains, courage and heart, you had it all (and could write a sentence as long as this one).

Now along comes a survey on Qtopics, an online polling network, asking 521 people nationwide which questions they hope will be answered this century. Not surprisingly, it found that more older folks (aged 35 through 55) had questions about God, while the younger generation (aged 18 through 34) was more focused on its collective navels.

The two age groups did have one question in common, the ever-present "Will there be world peace?" The answer, boys and girls, is "No."

But the younger generation also hoped to learn the best job to make them rich, if they could expect a pill to make them thin, and if they would be more successful than their parents. The older folks, on the other hand, wanted to know if there is a god, will a cure be found for AIDS, and whether global warming will get worse.

Fortunately, both generations also demonstrated a sense of humor. The younger hoped to find out whether O.J. Simpson really killed Nicole, while the older hoped to discover just how old Dick Clark really is.

It got me thinking about various questions I have been asked about the state and local scene -- questions I'd like to see the answers to in 2004. Like the O.J. question, the answers to some of these are self-evident. And like the Dick Clark question, the answers to some are lost forever in the mists of antiquity. Others can be answered using deductive reasoning, just as Socrates (or was it Aristotle or Plato or Valinda Jo Elliott) did. Still others simply defy logic.

Without further ado, here they are (along with some thoughts on the answers):

Q: How can all of Arizona's major league sports teams go into the dumper in the very same season?

A: Excuse me, but the Cardinals were already there. Reasoning deductively, we conclude that the others followed their model for ineptitude -- don't spend any money on talent and, by all means, fire your coach.

Q: Before we focus in on the Rim country, what's the deal with our state Legislature? They nearly bankrupt the state with an alternative fuels vehicle program, then come in 48th in education funding?

A: Once again, deductive reasoning provides some insights. When underfunded school children grow up, they become lamebrained state legislators. This leads to insane ideas like the alternative fuels program and the notion that a budget deficit can best be reduced by closing state parks. You'd think we'd learn.

Q: How many groups of Republican women are there in Payson, anyway?

A: There's the In-Your-Face Republican Women, the Secret Society of Republican Women, and the Republican Women Descended from the Bunheads (recognizable by their bun hair-dos). That, of course, doesn't include the Late Republican Women and the Republican Women That Were, both of which wear "I Like Ike" buttons and hold their meetings out at Pioneer Cemetery.

Q: How can airplane pilots and others who choose to live within the shadows of the airport complain about the noise from The Door Stop and the Payson Humane Society?

A: This one defies logic. But if we were a dog looking at such human behavior, we'd say, "Huh?"

Q: How do tin badges confer magic powers on their wearers?

A: We will only suggest that the answer can be found somewhere other than in the badge itself. And if that sounds like a "lost in the mists of antiquity" answer, by golly so it is.

Q: In the latest edition of "Payson Insight," the town's official newsletter, we were told to use dirty fish water on our plants, but that we just might be drinking the same water that dinosaurs drank. Does this mean dinosaurs were potty-trained?

A: We plead "mists of antiquity" on this one too. And they tell us our water is so clean there's no need to buy bottled water?

Q: We're told the Webber Fire was human-caused. Has a Bic lighter been recovered in the vicinity?

A: Be nice, now. Where's that Rim country hospitality?

Q: Is there any redeeming social value in Pete's Place?

A: Don't be a boob.

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