Questioning Blimix

"Have you ever done anything for which I would have to kill you?"

*chuckle* You've stumbled upon a category of questions which I try to remember not to answer. Now, don't think that I'm trying to worm my way out of an affirmative answer; it is exactly that kind of assumption that I am trying to counter by not answering any such questions. 'Such questions' being the kind that I would have to refuse to answer if one of the answers were true. Let me clarify. I'm simply trying not to repeat the mistake of the unfortunate lady quoted in this excerpt from a courtroom transcript:

Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
A. I refuse to answer that question.
Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
A. I refuse to answer that question.
Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
A. No.

By answering the potentially incriminating question, but refusing to answer the actually incriminating questions, she makes an obvious distinction between the two, thus blowing the lid on her secret. I, personally, can't even think of anything you might ask that I couldn't answer openly. But if there eventually exists such a question, I will then be glad that I haven't simply been answering 'no' this whole time, to give away the answer the one and only time when I have to refuse to answer. Do you see?

All right, an example. I'll let you know, as a freebie, that the answer to your question is 'no'. That way, you know I'm not just trying to duck out of answering this question by coming up with this scheme on the fly. Now, let's say that next year, you ask me whether I was the person who ran over your cat and ate your bird. Again, I truthfully say no. The next year, you ask whether I am the head of the Jewish Mafia. And again, I can honestly answer no. The next year, you ask whether I was the person who coated your toilet seat with nitrogen tri-iodide, thus blasting your mother halfway across the bathroom when she tried to sit down. And let's say that I refuse to answer that question. Oops. I just gave myself away, didn't I? That wouldn't have happened if I had had the foresight to refuse to answer the first three questions. It is terribly unnatural for a person as open as I am to refuse to answer anything, so this will be difficult for me to remember to do, and I may slip sometimes. But in general, I will try not to answer potentially incriminating questions, no matter how innocent the actual answer is.

And by the way, this isn't exactly a big part of my paradigm. I regard it as an exercise. So far, I haven't even had occasion to make such a refusal. But if I do, please don't make any assumptions; just think back to this conversation.

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