Some questions are obviously rhetorical, like, “You know what?” Also, for the record, it really bothers me when people write, “Guess what?” with a question mark. I know this can be understood as “what do you guess?” thereby validating the question mark, but really it’s an imperative command and shouldn’t have one. An exclamation point might be more appropriate: Guess what! Why? Because I said so!
Anyway, some questions are not exactly rhetorical, because people expect you to answer them, but they might as well be. My favorite one of these is, “Do you like ice cream?” First of all, pretty much everybody likes ice cream. There are a lot of flavors and stuff, so even if you are one of those anti-chocolate types (remind me to explain the level of hell that is reserved specifically for these individuals some time) or really have no desire to have a cold bright blue play-doh substitute with frozen pieces of bubble gum in it that will break your jaw, there’s probably something you like. But on top of that, if, for whatever reason, you don’t like ice cream or can’t have it, that doesn’t matter. The person that is asking you is asking because they do like ice cream, and they want some, and nobody is really going to deny them that. Plus, let’s face it — the non-ice cream-eaters have a contingency plan. This is like when people ask me if I want to go get coffee. I don’t actually drink coffee. Have I figured out a couple of coping strategies to get me by in a coffee shop by now? Yes, of course. Similarly, it seems fair to assume that anybody who doesn’t like ice cream has figured out an alternative way to go out for ice cream. One would kind of have to. Or else face excessive ridicule.
Stop asking me if I like ice cream. Everybody likes or (‘likes’) ice cream. Also, I effing hate coffee, but yep, let’s go.