Simple questions sometimes complicated

“How do you feel?” is a common question. It’s almost as common as apple pie. On the surface, it’s so plain and simple that it needs no explanation – so much so that one could say its simplicity resembles that of the golden crust of the pie.

Sometimes we indulge in its simplicity so much and so quickly that we forget to enjoy it. However, there comes an inevitable moment when the filling gushes out – by way of a fork or clumsy default.

It’s then that you ask yourself, “OK, do I let the dog clean this up or be angry at myself for dropping a perfect slice of apple pie on the floor?”

You’re faced with a choice that will ultimately dictate how you react immediately as well as how you’ll feel later. If it were me, I’d be furious at myself – but at the same time, I’d eventually come to grips with the fact I had to let my dog eat it because I couldn’t pick it up.

A moment of sadness instantly runs through me every time that happens because my conscience tells me I lost something that was intended for me – and me only. I know I’ve probably dropped enough food in my lifetime for my dogs to have a feast.

I know I shouldn’t be upset because it’s happened before, but I automatically feel sad because that’s the first emotion to come to the surface. I always feel I let myself down somehow. My only saving grace is knowing there’s sometimes another hot dog, slice of pie or whatever it is I accidentally “threw to the wolves.”

I guess it’s just what they call “a knee-jerk reaction,” but I think it’s instances like this that we take the joy of simplicity for granted the most. We become so quick to react that we often don’t allow ourselves to feel any other emotion.

We often don’t take enough time to truly examine why we feel the way we feel in certain situations – or give the answer that we honestly want to give.

The same can be said of the question, “How was your day?” or the expression, “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

We respond to things like this so generically that there’s almost no thought or emotion involved. Granted, there are times when words escape us and we need time to find them again – and much like apple pie, they can be sweet or they can be sour.

I think it’s sometimes human nature to say or do what’s easy. It’s a way of protecting ourselves – to choose the lesser of two evils. While that might provide a quick fix, we may pass up the opportunities to truly taste and feel something else.

The world we live in isn’t an easy one. It’s a maze, but the key is to remain simple and humble when you finally get your hands on a slice of humble pie.

Erin Kelly, 28, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and The Mobility Resource. Email her at