Sunday, March 5, 2017

Answering questions

A young man approaches me at the front desk of the library. He wonders if I can help him. How am I supposed to know if I can help him! These people! Do you know what the question I am getting the most these days at the library is? 

It's "Can I ask you a question?"

"I don't know. You probably can. Clearly if recent history is any indication then it's in your wheelhouse, unless you exhausted your abilities on that first one."

The young man who wonders if I can help him is very well dressed. He is a young Somali immigrant. His mother's brother is the President of Somalia, he says, and he wants to start a group here to unify young Somalis. But he doesn't know what to call it. Do I have any suggestions?

Is he kidding me? I have tons of great suggestions. Unfortunately they will all cause his organization to go nowhere fast. So I say "One thing to do is think of someone from history, Somali or not, who you find inspirational, or who stands for what you believe in or aspire to. Then maybe you use that person's name in your title."

This is too much for him, or useless, or history is a desert, or something, because he just stands there for awhile staring at me and finally says "I want something that is about young Somalis, and unifies us, as an association, but is new."

So I respond in a less drawing him out manner. "How about The New Association for the Unity of Young Somalis?"

He then looks at me in the way I often expect people to look at me after reading my blog posts, like I have just delivered something astonishingly beautiful, indeed frightfully near to the very voice of God. "The New Association for the Unity of Young Somalis." He repeats. "That is fantastic. That is perfect! Thank you so very much!" He exclaims.

And with that he left.

So yeah, I was able to help him, I think.

At first it seemed uncertain, in the middle, dubious, and yet in the end, inevitable.

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