Fending Off Fools

Stupidity sometimes has a cheeky way of bubbling to the surface…belatedly.

I went to a family gathering last weekend. Minutes after my arrival, an unfamiliar woman approached me. I figured she was a distant relative. (Remember, my kinfolk are multitudinous, like stray clover or dandelions). She greeted me:

“Hi Keli! You don’t remember me, do you? I’m Annika.”

Annika shares a name with someone I love, so I had instant total recall. She was a distant relation on my grandmother’s side whom I hadn’t seen in decades. Not since my college graduation party. I remembered that although she appeared pleasant, she’d had an irksome tendency to make offhand, foolish utterances. For instance:

Her: “Did you just get a haircut?”                                                         

Me: “Yes.”

Her: “Oh.” or

Her: “Is that a new dress?”

Me: “Yes.”

Her: “Hmpf.”

I really didn’t appreciate such question and answer sessions. Where were they headed? What the heck was the point?

This recent interchange, however, went like this: 

“You haven’t changed a bit!” Annika told me. “You look beautiful!”

I’ve been known to be vain and superficial during moments of weakness. Since I hadn’t seen many of my relatives in quite some time, I felt slightly guilty and insecure. When someone pays me a compliment during such a vulnerable time, I may be prone to immediately bestowing the title of “dear friend” upon the flatterer. So we continued chatting. About our lives, our husbands, our kids, and then we trailed away as others greeted us. I did enjoy seeing her and catching up. Ah, if only it had ended right there.

About thirty minutes later, Annika reappeared. She stared down at my chest and asked, “What’s that?”

Let me explain about “that.” “That” was a thin bandage, less than an inch long, on my upper chest. It covered a small, but irksome, cyst resembling a nasty pimple. I’ve been to the dermatologist three times. Three times, he’s removed it, and three times, it’s returned. The little bugger enjoys the limelight. However, I do not enjoy its presence. So, until I go to my next appointment, I cover the pesky blemish with a small bandage. I really don’t like to acknowledge its presence; it’s an eyesore (I did say that I can be vain, didn’t I?).

Did I want to discuss this with someone I hadn’t seen in almost twenty-five years? No. Especially when I anticipated further comments or queries. So to pacify her I told her it was a pimple in the throes of eruption. I painted a picture so she wouldn’t need to ask, “Can I see it?” or some other idiotic question. Annika stared at the innocuous bandage (no, it didn’t have colorful dinosaur figures or rainbows on it, and no, the blemish itself was not visible) for about thirty-eight seconds. Ever patient, I waited while she absorbed my explanation. I didn’t even engage in foot tapping.

Then it came. She inquired:

“It’s so bad that you need a bandage?”

I shot back, “How’s your sister doing?”

I’d already posed this question earlier; yet at that moment, I felt it bore repeating. Anything to move on to a new topic. I escaped shortly thereafter.

I find an effective line of defense against uncompromising stupidity is to play the role of interrogator yourself. You pose the questions thereby controlling the flow of conversation. This keeps the stupers (short, once again, for those singularly stupid persons) talking about themselves with little chance of blurting out ridiculous remarks that pop into their feeble minds.

Just think!



3 Responses to “Fending Off Fools”

  1. dawn says:

    ahh… so I’m not the only one with crazy relatives! Nice to have company 😉

  2. Sarah says:

    I really can’t stand nosy people. They are definitely stupers! They are so good at asking the wrong questions.

  3. Elsa says:

    Some people have nothing else to say.
    May be she was just bored.

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