Sometimes in class, I do a question drill. It's a little exercise where I fire off ten questions and challenge the students to answer as quickly and accurately as possible. It goes something like this:
What's your name?
Where do you live?
How long have you lived there?
Who do you live with?
And what time is it right now?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Where do you work?
What's your telephone number?
When did you wake up this morning?
How much money do you make?
And then there is always an uncomfortable moment, and I burst out laughing. Because, of course, that last question crosses the boundary of, well, questions. Is it ever appropriate (outside of one's spouse) to discuss salary? Personally, I've never had a problem revealing mine to anyone. I am neither boastful nor ashamed. It is what it is. So it amuses me helplessly when people refuse to answer this. (Not that I pester people about it, but it has come up.) I have one friend in particular who finally, after knowing him for over a decade, revealed his salary. (But only, I suspect, because it is a new job with a very boastable wage.) There are other taboo questions in our society of course. Sometimes instead of that last question, I'll use, "How much do you weigh?" But only with really advanced students, most of the time they are confused by the sense and think "way".....not so funny. When they get it though, that's funny.
Just a little glimpse there of my sadistic side.