This afternoon on the boat I got into a side riff about the stupid questions tourists ask when they’re on vacation. (Examples: “What do you do with the islands in the winter?” “How long does it take a deer to grow into a moose?”) I encourage questions from our visitors, of course, for how else can you tell what they’d like to know? And even the stupid ones are valuable, since they provide a great deal of entertainment value.
Later, as we neared the dock at the end of the tour, I realized I had never talked personally with some people who’d been standing on the bow, so I went down to say hello. One man, a county commissioner from southern Minnesota, said he’d enjoyed my talk about the questions. He told me his favorite question from work had been asked by a strange woman — “I think she was from Chicago” — who called his office to inquire, “If I ever need 911, what number do I call?”