Had you read the column ...
I'm careful not to ask a question at a class or lecture that I've slept through.
Chances are too good that the question has already been answered, such that asking
it only calls attention to the fact that I was asleep (and not listening). In
a similar manner, considering that more than only occasionally I write about the
reasons that I write, the fact that a presumed reader asks why I write, suggests
that the person asking the question doesn't actually read the columns. True, the simplest
way to understand such a question would be as an attempt to make some pleasant
conversation, but it's not that inaccurate a guess to assume that the person asking
hasn't read the columns. And maybe they're only really trying to be helpful. After all,
having carefully established my image as someone with only eight readers, perhaps
the person asking the question actually only wants to help me out by making we
think that yet another person who might read these columns doesn't. Help, it seems,
can present itself in numerous, and unexpected, forms.
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