Archive for September, 2007

Stupidity in Progress

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Yesterday, in a fit of writer’s rebellion, I refused to write. Instead, I thought I’d peruse a foot-high pile of long neglected magazines. My intensely focused research and examination of stupidity hardly leaves me time for frolic and detour, but sometimes, it’s a must. I started by reading the cover headlines: 

“99 Ways to Look Super,” “Be Prettier,” “Get Gorgeous,” (What makes them think I don’t already look pretty damn good?) “Lose Weight Without Dieting,” “A Food Lover’s Guide to Weight Loss,” “Sweat Free Ways to Lose Weight,” “How to Turn Him On,”  “Sexy Sex,” “Sexy Exercise,” “Get Fit,” “Flat, Sexy, Tight,” “Get in a Better Mood,” “Get Happy,” “Get Ecstatic,” and “Diseases You’re Likely to Get.”

These came from the covers of four magazines geared toward women. Do you notice any patterns? That’s right. I need to subscribe to a wider variety of periodicals. And if I write an article about looking good, losing weight, better sex, altering attitudes, up and coming diseases,  or any reasonable combination of the foregoing, it’ll likely get published.

Then I picked up a few magazines geared toward writers. The main topic of each was “Writer’s Block.”

WARNING: I am going to make a statement that may lead many of my dear readers to declare, “Just as I suspected. Keli is a stuper.” (Short, for a decidedly stupid person).  If any of you suffer from a heart ailment, dizziness, back pain or believe you may be pregnant,  please step away from your computer screen now or close your eyes and find the little X with your mouse.  My statement: 

I don’t believe in Writer’s Block.

I think it’s part of a vast conspiracy of published authors to keep novice or jittery writers from pursuing a literary career. Just before I graduated law school, I was told by one and all: “There are too many lawyers already.” “You’ll never get a job in the entertainment biz.” “You must work for a law firm first.” “Blah, blah, blah.”  I refused to work for a law firm as I discovered in law school that I really didn’t care for lawyers or their firms. I was exceedingly fortunate. Thanks to an exceptional, saintly attorney (not an oxymoron in this case) who took me under her wing, I went straight to a studio job. Why am I telling you this? So that you don’t believe everything you hear or read; otherwise, you may find yourself becoming a stuper. Just because a magazine or other seemingly reliable source tells you that you may be unhappy, overweight or that something cannot be done, or may be done only in a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily so.

Back to Writer’s Block. Does it exist? I think it occurs only because sometimes, we don’t feel like writing. After all, if we were motivated, we wouldn’t be blocked.

Each magazine provided the same basic formula for overcoming blockage:

  • Use a journal to jot down ideas;
  • Break down the task into tiny pieces;
  • Try writing exercises;
  • Set deadlines and keep them; or
  • Start in the middle.

Perhaps these tips do help some writers get motivated, and if so, that’s simply grand. However, I’ve found the strategies listed below to be personally more useful. I’d like to humbly share my means of kick-starting my writing when I’m not in the mood:

  • Take a shower (I believe I could write the Great American Novel if only I could do all of my dictation and writing from within my shower walls. This is a great source of mental stimulation.)
  • Switch gears (Instead of trying to write, make friends with your vacuum by using it, do the dishes, exercise or work in the garden; sometimes these mindless tasks elicit a flurry of creativity.)
  • Read (Someone else’s book or a magazine may generate a new idea. I wrote Stupidity Grows Obese  after reading a chapter of The Scarlet Letter. Sounds improbable, but true.)
  • Do something you’ve never done before. (I tried weed whacking my back field; I managed to eradicate all errant weeds in a square foot strip, ripping only one pant leg in the process and requiring just a few stitches above one knee, before becoming sufficiently motivated to return to my literary pursuits.)
  • Keep the vision in your mind of how marvelous you’ll feel when it’s done.
  • Go out among the masses (for heaven’s sake, if this doesn’t give you stuff to write about, nothing will).

Stupers are adept at focusing on what’s missing in their lives and on what can’t be done. Neither of which promotes motivation or inspiration. Be patient with yourself and realize everything starts with a little thought and desire, both of which are easily within our reach.

Don’t stop thinking!


Misunderstood Stupidity

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I was recently rejected after an interview. Not a job interview or a                               magazine interview profiling bizarre writers claiming to be stupidity experts,  but a different sort of interview. Being of a resilient nature, I did what any semi-intelligent reject would do: changed my identity. But not without permission, of course.

It started when I’d filled out a four-page online adoption questionnaire. Canine adoption, that is, from a dog rescue group. I had one dog already; I decided it was time for another as our Aussie Shepherd, Rio, seemed lonely.

The adoption questions started out as standard fare, such as: “Do you have other pets?” and “Will you take your new dog for walks?”

But then they started getting a tad tricky with questions like, “Where will your new dog sleep?”

I answered that Rio sleeps wherever he likes. Sometimes inside and sometimes outdoors. The same will hold true for our new addition. This resulted in my immediate failure.

Unbeknownst to me, dogs from this rescue organization were not permitted to sleep outside, meaning anywhere not contained within the four walls of what was deemed human living quarters. I sent an e-mail, explaining that we leave it up to Rio to decide where to sleep. Sometimes he prefers to nestle down in my son’s bedroom and other times, he prefers to sleep outside. I received a response, asking me to define “outside.”

I explained, “Under the stars, or on the cool, green grass ‘neath the sweet-scented Magnolia tree, or in his fashionable, igloo style dog house.”

I received no further communication. I tried again, “If my new canine friend prefers to sleep inside, she is more than welcome.” “My bed is large and cozy.” “We live on fully fenced acreage, perfect for frolicking animals.” “I’m a good dog owner, I am!”

I had to face facts. I had been blackballed by the Dog Rescue Organization.

The fifty canines or so awaiting adoption at this organization were kept indoors, all together, in a room the size of a three car garage. I had heard that dogfights erupted now and then as the animals tousled for control. I could not believe that any dog would be happier there than in my home.  I called my mother.

“Do you want to adopt a dog?” I asked her.

“Not really.”

“Do you mind if I borrow your name and address and pretend to be you adopting a dog?”

“Go right ahead, dear.” 

Using my mother’s email address, I again filled out a questionnaire. This time I was successful because nowhere did I use the frowned upon “O” word. I was granted a personal interview.

Please do not think for a moment that I have a penchant for impersonating my mother. I merely felt I had been grossly misunderstood, and Mom was the only one who would allow me to borrow her identity, no strings attached. Once at the Rescue Headquarters, I was going to fess up.

When Rio and I arrived, (his presence was required so he could have a say in picking his new buddy), a very nice, exhausted looking young man named Kevin helped us. He never asked my name, merely wanting to know if I’d filled out the online questionnaire. Then he picked out a candidate to take for a walk with Rio and me. I said,

“I’m not sure if I’d make a good dog parent. There are things I need to explain.”

Kindly Kevin responded, “I can tell by the way you treat Rio that you’ll be very good.” 

Four dogs later, we hadn’t found the right fit. I had to reject the first one since the enthusiastic creature excelled in knocking me flat on my back; the next one kept giving Rio the evil eye; Rio displayed an exceptional loathing for the third one; and the last pooch kept mistaking Kevin for a fire hydrant. 

When Kevin went inside to change his pants, another representative came over to me. She narrowed her eyes and said, “I’ve been watching you.”

“Then…you know?”


“Should I leave?”

“You wait right there!” She went back into the shelter.

They’d figured it out. They were probably in a group huddle, deciding what to do with me. Rio looked at me as if to say, “Let’s make a run for it.” But I couldn’t. I had to state my case and face the consequences. 

The woman returned. At the end of her leash was a very sweet, young German Shepherd.  Rio made no objections. I said,

“About the application…”

 “I’m glad you reminded me. Will you take two dogs?”

At this point, I realized that no one here cared who the hell I was or where my dog slept at night. My confessing became irrelevant. This was a case of positive stupidity as we both came out better off after our contact. I learned never to borrow my mom’s identity again. The guilt of “fixing” the application was not worth repeating. And they found a good home for a needy pet.

Make thinking a habit!

Stupidity – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Today, I will address the questions most often asked by my 3.5 readers regarding stupidity:

Have you documented the number of stupers (short, once more, for indubitably stupid persons) walking the earth today?

  • Yes. Renowned stupidity expert, Walter B. Pitkin, author of A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity (Simon & Schuster, 1932), estimated that 4 out of 5 people are stupers (that’s over four billion today). I am a little more optimistic; my studies revise that figure to 3.9 out of 5.

Do you have a degree in stupidity?

  • No. I have a bachelor’s degree in P.S. (Political Science) in which I discovered, I had no great interest or talent. I like to think that P.S. stands for Prodigious Stupidity, a major that really should be offered in larger universities or at least, in correspondence schools.

Have you ever been stupid?

  • Many times. But my recent slips thankfully affect no one but myself. For instance, I just visited the local college student store to buy books for my older son. I noticed students milling about, wearing lost and frustrated expressions, miserably unable to find what they searched for. I, genius that I am, immediately located what I needed and made my way to the cashier. As I climbed up two flights of stairs to buy the books, I thought of how brilliant I was.

“It’s wonderful to be smart!” I announced to no one in particular.I reached one arm over the opposite shoulder and proceeded to pat myself resoundingly on the back. As I patted away, I looked down at my very cute Jimmy Choo sandals; I picked up speed, taking two steps at a time; I suddenly felt exceptionally nimble and athletic. (Insert theme from Chariots of Fire here). Then…I fell flat on my face, onto the hard concrete stairs. What is the likelihood of falling up the stairs? 100% when acting like a stuper.Is stupidity hereditary?

  • No specific gene has been linked to stupidity. However, scientists are working ‘round the clock and believe a breakthrough is near. My research indicates that offspring are not born stupid. It depends on the amount of influence one or both stupid parents exert over the child vs. the child’s natural ability to self-cultivate awareness.

Is that really a picture of your hair in “Stupidity Wears Stripes?”

  • No. My braid was much longer.

Does stupidity hurt?

  • Yes and no. Yes as far as the victims are concerned, but no as far as the stuper goes. If only stupidity did hurt the perpetrator, fewer people would engage in it.

Is there medication for stupidity?

  • Not yet. I am experimenting daily with various drugs, using myself and a few carefully chosen subjects, as voluntary guinea pigs. We hope to have something on the open market soon. A small clinic in Boligrafo, Chile may be operational next spring.

Do you give private consultations?

  • I give private or public consultations, at no charge. My reward lies in obliterating stupidity, one stuper at a time.

Can someone who suffers from stupidity run for public office?

  • Yes. It’s quite common and perfectly acceptable.

Is the affliction of stupidity reversible?

  • Yes. All it takes is a little awareness and a bit of careful thought. It can happen. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not so for a person who has never practiced either one. That’s why I have recently applied for a patent for my newly developed method of stupidity busting called, “Jolt the Dolt.” Meanwhile, thinking, capable, authentic humans must diligently exercise positive, vigilant thought; stupers might take to mimicking per the herd of sheep mentality. What one does, the rest must do also. There is always hope.

Keep thinking!


Awards Galore!

Monday, September 24th, 2007

My humble thanks to the great Brit Wit (sorry, I couldn’t resist),  Agnes of HexMyEx, for awarding me the prestigious Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award. I hope she will forgive me for taking my time in picking it up, but after all, the UK is not exactly right next door. Agnes’ blog is such a splendid read that I am hooked and feel let down if I don’t visit daily. I am honored that she deemed my blog worthy. I’d like to pass this on to another blog I visit regularly and who happens to be one of my original visitors:  Another Gray Hair.  Julianne manages to transform the ordinary into the fully engaging. A must read.


 I’ve also been awarded the Blogging Star from both Daria Black and Katie. Two more humble thanks from me to them. I’m grateful to have those two in my readership. And it is a pleasure visiting their blogs.

I accept these awards while sincerely hoping my viewers are actually entertained and that they leave with useful suggestions for dealing with the vacant minded.

I pass this Star Award on to two of my more recent visitors,  Happily Anonymous  (never a dull moment) and Motherwise (chock full of excellent advice), both of whom are always fun and enjoyable reads. My thanks to one and all!

Don’t stop thinking!


Showdown with Stupidity

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

One must be prepared when facing massive idiocy to find a means of maintaining a sense of unbending tranquillity within oneself. Brush aside any urge to commit a hostile act. Subtle hostility may be allowed. For instance, carving the word “dunce” on the side of the person’s desk when they look away.  Or slingshotting a large pebble through an open window while hidden behind a nearby bush and hitting your target squarely on the side of  the neck. 

As you may recall, my son attends a private school without an athletic program. Hence, I researched and discovered that, with a bit of fancy paperwork, he could play golf for the local public high school. I was to meet with the Stuperintendent  (short for an unbearably stupid superintendent of a school district) even though I already knew his answer.

I’m not clairvoyant, but like private eyes, I have my reliable informants. No, not mobsters, ex-cons or assorted degenerates. My spies consist of the head librarian, a retired engineer and a local multi-millionaire. The latter, X,  had past dealings with the Stuperintendent. X, a sixty-year-old, retired university professor/entrepreneur, founded a digital microscope company which he later sold for nine figures. X generously offered to teach physics at the high school. Stuperintendent turned X away. Undoubtedly, all those initials (Ph.D. from MIT) confounded the Stuper.

All three of my sources informed me that there would be no high school golf team for my son. Yet, the Stuperintendent agreed to see me. Could my informants be mistaken?

I was granted an audience at eight am during the climax of chaos. Students dashed to and fro like ants whose single file line had been tampered with.  Overhead speakers mounted throughout the campus – in the offices, classrooms, bathrooms – blasted the local radio station at decibels so loud, the receptionist and I had to engage in a shouting match in order for me to explain who I was.

The receptionist whisked me away, down dimly lit corridors to the exalted office, while a voice on the speaker announced,
“No student parking at the YMCA lot across the street.  All inmates must remain on school grounds at all times.”

“Did I hear correctly?” I asked my guide.

“Well, we lock all gates and entry ways during school hours. But some students do try to escape by jumping our high wire fences, and then by taking off in cars parked across the street.”

Keep in mind, this campus is not in the Bronx or East Los Angeles; it’s in a quiet town in the countryside.

How should a Superintendent dress? My high school principal always wore a snappy suit, kept his hair perfectly combed and maintained a slight tan, indicating a healthy love of the outdoors. Picture Cary Grant in his sixties.

How does a Stuperintendent dress? Jeans and the school jacket clumsily draped over a tee-shirt indicating he’d just rolled out of bed. Picture Drew Carey (no disrespect to Mr. Carey), but not as attractive.

We met in his office and I stated my purpose. I explained the means to allow my son to play golf. Stuperintendent wanted to know why my son wasn’t enrolled in his school. My sources had told me that enrollment had been steadily dwindling. They’d 1400 students a short time ago; 1100 currently. I’d heard numerous complaints about the caliber of curriculum. Plus, my son was happy where he was.

I do not hit people beneath the belt. I find that unbecoming. Besides, in this case, I was certain there was nothing there to hit. So I asked the Stuper to stick to the issue at hand. Suddenly, he froze. He stared at me, unblinking, then blurted,

“Is this about golf?”

When I answered affirmatively, he proceeded to give me a stack of enrollment papers, one inch thick; then he boasted about how challenging the high school courses were.

“Our students are accepted at the University of Spain,”  he told me.

Immediately, I turned my attention elsewhere to maintain my sense of well being. I did not attempt to hide my disinterest; I just stared at the wall behind him where several framed accolades hung. But this is what caught my eye:

Nothing that is absurd seems impossible. The name beneath this quote was his own.

Can someone kindly explain this quote to me? I almost fell backward in my chair and hit the floor trying to make sense of that one. Maybe I was just too intent on maintaining tranquillity. I think it’s a twisted version of Cervantes’ In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.  Appropriate in my case, don’t you think?

I interrupted his endless ravings and asked, “Do you think me absurd for attempting what you deem impossible?”

“Of course not.”

“Why can’t my son play on the team?”

“I only serve students fully enrolled here.”

“So you have the capability of allowing students who aren’t enrolled to participate, but yet you choose not to?”


Then he proceeded to tell me how he regularly, for the past twelve years, turned down kids from all over, including lesser neighborhoods; he ignored pleas from parents who lived fifteen minutes away, albeit in a different district, who begged him to enroll their children. He had a half-crazed expression in his shifty eyes while he spoke. But he still didn’t explain why.

“It’s about the $, isn’t it? You get no stipend without full-time enrollment within your district.”

“That’s not it.”

As he bragged again about his program, I stood up. He thrust the stack of registration papers in my hands, insisting I take them, in case I came to my senses. He followed me out saying,

“Don’t worry, I’ll let you have the last word.”

Since I don’t smoke, I bummed a cigarette lighter off a random student. The Stuperintendent didn’t notice as he busily rambled on. I gingerly lit the papers he’d given me, then dropped them in a nearby metal trash can. I didn’t look back as I walked to my car, but I knew he’d stopped trailing me.

What’s the best way to dissolve such sheer stupidity? Share your tale with some one that you love.  My son and I enjoyed much laughter at the Stuperintendent’s expense. 

Keep thinking!


P.S. Every bit of information here is verbatim and factual save one: the cigarette lighter scene is my fabrication. Do not think for a moment that I contribute to the delinquency of young people. Delinquent stupers are my specialty. I set the papers on fire at home. 

A Thank You Note to Stupidity

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

I’ve found that wrestling with stupidity has strengthened my nerves and sharpened my mental faculties. Stupers (short for indefatigably stupid persons) have helped shape me into the person I am today, and I thank them. In turn, I try my best to help others be enhanced rather than enraged by their run-ins with the hollow headed.

My friend Margie, a sweet person of a calm and passive disposition, called me in tears. Her daughter’s one-week-old marriage had fallen apart. But that didn’t activate the waterworks. Her sister-in-law, Sally, had sent her a letter about a month after the nuptials.

Before we get to the letter, let me tell you about Sally. You may even know someone like her. She tends to take religious verses out of context or too literally and without any real purpose. Sally has had the same page of the Bible plastered on her forehead for about thirty years. It’s quite tiresome to be relentlessly reminded that Jesus died for our sins.

But first, I must reiterate; I believe religion can provide wondrous contentment. The capacity for kindness and generosity in one who practices spiritual teachings is limitless.  Such enlightenment can and should promote harmony. That said, Sally was more of a pew warmer than a pious person. She actually believed that the ear she kept pressed to a drinking glass against the wall gave her a direct line to God.  

Once out in the world (say the Church parking lot, for instance), Sally had zero tolerance for others. This basically amounted to a form of a superiority complex. Yes, there are stupers who believe they are superior.

Back to Margie’s letter. Sally was offended that she didn’t receive a thank you note for the wedding gift that she provided for the ill-fated marriage. So what if the couple broke up? Sally needed to be thanked or the wedding gift should be returned to her. Pronto.

Sally’s letter scolded Margie for not teaching her daughter better manners and for both Margie’s and the bride’s thoughtless inaction. The scathing note fell into my hands when I visited Margie a short time later.

Margie’s initial reaction was to do nothing; she’d just write a thank you letter to Sally on behalf of her daughter. But that would have led Sally to believe she was justified in her accusations. And a wishy-washy note would have been fruitless. Watered down missives won’t even light a fire in such cases as stupers do not comprehend indirect communication. The response had to be direct, brief and concise.

The surly tone of Sally’s note swayed me into suggesting Margie write a very firm, blunt response so that there would be no question as to how she felt about the matter. We wrote the letter together and included these key points:

– Judge not, lest ye be judged;

– Enclosed please find your stinking gift;

– How can you add to some one’s pain when understanding, love, and patience are required?

– Haven’t you learned anything from your three-decade-long, weekly Bible readings?

– Go suck an egg.

The directness of the letter caused a positive reversal. Sally, the prodigious zealot, revised her uncivilized stance by writing back to Margie, apologizing profusely and asking for forgiveness. Perhaps something in the letter had awakened a drowsy awareness in Sally of the inappropriateness of her insipid action.

Good thought is worth much and costs little.

Think good thoughts!


Systematic Stupidity

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I’m off for the next few days meeting stupidity head-on in the guise of the much maligned, often misunderstood local superintendent of education. He has decreed it impermissible for my son to play on the public high school golf team. My son attends a private school that lacks a team. Hence, I must investigate to determine if Mr. Superintendent has a valid reason or if he’s indeed a stuper (you must know by now, this is short for an unforgettably stupid person). Ah, the things I do for my children and my research (both of which I adore equally).

Meanwhile, I leave you here today with a tale from my formative years. Even as a youth, I believe I displayed the makings of a stupidity expert. Hopefully, you’ll agree.

At age nine, I was an ambitious scholar. Unfortunately, I was also a victim of professional stupidity committed by Mr. Sussman, my fourth grade teacher.

At the very start of the school year, the Suss carefully assessed the abilities of his twenty-nine students in a unique way. Not by using a battery of tests. Review of past work was irrelevant. No questions were asked; no students were interviewed. Mr. S believed the best method for evaluating student competency was a simple one: judge by appearances.

The Suss classified students in this manner:

  • Those that hailed from Japanese descent were obviously bright. They would be placed in the “A” group;
  • Those exhibiting Caucasian features and who appeared “normal” would also be classified in the sought after “A” group. To fall into the “normal” category, children could not be overweight, had to sport combed hair,  be capable of sitting still for a minimum of six seconds, and they could not be the product of a father named Bubba or Bobby Ray.
  • Everyone else fell into category “D” with nothing in between.

This classification system resembled that of third world countries. There was no middle class; just a small, but powerful and solid elite, epitomizing the leaders. Everyone else landed with a heavy thud at the bottom.

I am a brunette with a light olive complexion. I am not Japanese and, in Suss’ razor sharp assessment, there was a chance I wasn’t Caucasian. In all fairness to the Suss, this took place in the seventies when many Southern California schools had their share of children of Latin descent who had trouble learning the language and consequently, a challenging start in learning. Suss figured I had emerged from south of the border, though this was not the case. I was a prime candidate for category “D” which was where he placed me.

I may have only been nine, but I was outraged as my Japanese friends initially looked on in disbelief at my displacement, then snickered and pointed. I could have squeezed all the juice out of a lemon in my bare hand that day.

I considered explaining to Suss that I was smarter than I looked. I needed to kick him on the shin to get his full attention. But alas, I wore soft tennis shoes on that day. Instead, I patiently waited my turn to prove myself.

The day after his arbitrary, capricious and inane classification, we were divided into reading groups. The crème de la crème read Treasure Island aloud for the Suss while we, in the dubious and intellectually impoverished group, read something like See Spot Run. I waited my turn practically gagging myself to keep from shouting out.

I must mention why this was so maddening. At home I read Black Beauty and The Secret Garden. To be reduced to stories I’d conquered ages ago was terribly frustrating to my nine-year-old mind.

When my turn came, I was gratified to read the entire book in five seconds flat. Needless to say, Suss suggested I join the other group. I shot him looks that could have burned holes through his spectacles had I tried a wee bit harder.

As I passed by him, I noticed his baffled expression. Probably trying to figure out how he possibly could have made that tiny error. (Insert glass-shattering shreik here, but don’t forget to plug your ears first, dear readers).

Every profession has its share of mistakes. People who somehow attain a position despite lack of skill, proper knowledge or training. Perhaps another stuper opened the way. This is likely, as you know, since the stuper population is at an all time high.

I heard Mr. S is no longer teaching; he’s now a school superintendent.

Think for yourself.


Stray Stupidity

Monday, September 17th, 2007

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a greedy person in possession of a perceived wrong, however slight, must be in want of a lawsuit. That being said, I humbly stand before you (actually, I’m sitting quite comfortably in a cushy chair gazing upon a picturesque scene of sycamore trees and cows in the corn),  guilty of filing a suit. But I am not greedy.

Please do not “X” me out or judge me too harshly; as my tale unfolds, you’ll see that my hand was forced. I brought the action against stupers (yet again, short for decidedly stupid persons).

A new oversize grocery store chain opened its latest market near my home. Let’s call it, “Shopaway.” Shopaway had a novel means of corralling their shopping carts: they didn’t. Carts sat atop a slight slope that dipped directly toward the main driveway of the parking lot. Carts often slid downwards, resulting in people and automobiles constantly ducking and dodging these rebellious, motorless, four-wheelers.

I drove into said driveway and stopped at the bottom to allow an elderly pedestrian to cross. A car pulled up behind me. As I waited, I turned my head toward the store and gasped. An errant shopping cart plummeted toward me at a speed in excess of three mph.  My choice was to either stay put and absorb the blow or knock into the senior citizen sending her spiraling through the air and into the nearby Blockbuster.

The cart crashed into the left front of my idling vehicle, leaving a formidable dent. I was glad the old lady was spared.

I parked and stepped inside the store seeking the manager. Manager bore a strong resemblance to the scarecrow in the original “Wizard of Oz” sans endearing smile and twinkling eyes. Please recall that he was the character in search of… a brain.

I explained about the mishap. Manager wordlessly grabbed a notepad and followed me to my car. I expected utterances of sympathy or apology; even a conversation about the fine weather would have been welcome. Instead, I received grunts and grimaces.  After he finished scribbling notes, he turned to leave.

“I’ll send you my repair bill!” I shouted after him. I might as well have addressed a shopping cart.

Repairs cost six hundred dollars. All of my calls to Shopaway were ignored.

I returned to the store and gave the manager a copy of my bill. He took it in silence. I asked a nearby bagboy if the manager was mute.

“Oh, he can talk plenty well,” I was informed.

For the next two months, my repeated attempts at contact were ignored. Meanwhile, I continued to notice stray shopping carts quietly taking over the lot.

On a hunch, I called the City offices and spoke to the City Manager.

“We have countless complaints about the Shopaway liberated cart situation. If there’s anything you can do, please do it!”

Months later, I took Shopaway to Small Claims Court. I had taken pictures of my damaged vehicle and a video of carts running unrestrained throughout the parking lot; I brought copies of my unanswered pleas for reimbursement. Shopaway representatives did not show up, but the nice judge said he enjoyed my pictures anyway. I won by default.

I called Shopaway headquarters, specifically the legal department. A paralegal shouldered the burden of talking to me as no attorneys deemed it a weighty matter. I was told to go the store and talk to the new manager.

I walked into the market. It had been several months since my last visit. The entire place had changed. New faces greeted me; locations of items and areas had been switched around. This manager smiled, spoke in complete sentences, walked up to a register, opened it and gave me six hundred dollars in cash. I wasn’t sure whether I’d entered the Twilight Zone or a market owned by the Good Fellas. The manager didn’t even need to see my repair bill; he just asked how much I wanted.

I edged out of the store backwards; once outside, I turned and raced to my car.

A few months later, I returned. The parking lot appeared different. I looked around. It looked empty, somehow. The shopping carts were now rounded up into a new metal corral. Not a stray one in sight.

Sheer stupidity was in charge of the release of the shopping carts. There is no other possible explanation. This was a case of looking stupidity in the eye and exercising what little power I had to institute a change…and get my money.

Don’t stop thinking!


Dissecting Stupidity

Friday, September 14th, 2007

I’m astounded by the number of people who assume that everyone out there is stupid, but themselves. They don’t use their brains, so no one else does either.

Today, we are going to dabble in the biology of stupidity. Specifically, dissection. More precisely, the dissection of the hibernating brain of a stuper (that’s right; short for an irretrievably stupid person). The materials we’ll need are mostly everyday household items:

– chloroform (available at many local hospitals)
– gauze or hanky
– black lab coat (white is so passé; no one needs to view blood stains)
– scalpel (perhaps your local surgeon would lend you his/her’s; explain that it’s for a biology experiment)
– needle and skin tone colored thread
– specimen

Optional: water, towel, clean sheet, beer or other lure

Experiment works best if done in a densely wooded, under populated area.

Background on specimen:

Mr Z is a golf dad and head of the local junior golf league. His specialty is picking on and criticizing kids on said league. He figures, mistakenly, that youngsters won’t talk back to him or tell their parents. The fear factor prevents him from picking on adults who may beat him to a pulp. Mr Z recently caught my attention when he had the misfortune of picking on my junior golfer. Had I a hammer handy and a stepping stool (Mr Z is tall), I would gladly have created a sizeable bump atop Mr. Z’s head to jolt the dolt into thinking.

I cannot deny that despite being a certifiable expert on stupidity, I periodically feel pangs of anger when stupidity rears its hollow head. More so when my children are victimized by stupers.

Mr Z lives on the local private course, which, coincidentally, is located in a wooded area where only deer and bunnies roam. I carefully picked out a remote section and popped open a can of beer. Within fifteen seconds, Mr Z appeared. His puzzled look immediately disappeared once he took his first swig. I spread out a towel and sat, while he commenced his criticisms.

“You know that kid, Tommy? With the amount of golf lessons he takes, you think he’d play like Tiger by now instead of swingin’ like a slippery seal.” “Can you believe they put Mike on the Varsity team? I don’t want to say anything, but that kid couldn’t hit a ball if it was beach-sized….”

Thirteen beers later, he was all mine. As he fell over, I noticed he wasn’t exactly a perfect physical specimen. His mid section would fit comfortably in any Lamaze class. But I digress.

This is what I observed upon examining Mr. Z’s brain:

His brain, you’ll note, has shrunken from disuse and misuse, to the size of a walnut. The rest of the space is empty. However, the shade of pink is quite attractive. The average brain weighs 1300 grams. I’d peg Mr Z’s at .24 grams (not unlike the average bullfrog). The typical amount of neurons in the brain of an authentic human is 100 billion. In Mr Z’s brain, as in most minds of counterfeit humans, I counted 350 neurons(equal to that in each segmental ganglia in the common leech).

When Mr Z came to, he asked no questions, as he suffered from a massive headache. He didn’t even notice the stitches.

This dismantling of the stupid mind took all of forty seconds. As you can see, there’s not much to work with.

Every time we permit a stuper to cause disquiet in our thoughts or deeds, we are helping them along in their singular ability of disrupting the lives of thinking people. Let’s use stupers for all their worth: their entertainment value. Make sure you focus your energy on making yourself better, not on the defects of deficient minds.

Think first, last and always!


Stupidity’s Favorite Color: Stripes

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

There’s something most of us wear every single day of our lives. It’s one of the first things others notice when they look at us. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that stupers (short once again for unequivocally stupid persons) not get their uncouth hands on this: our hair.

Before I had kids, I frequented hip hair salons near my office where I was pampered and primped. My hair was cut by stylists who obviously took no interest in their own unkempt hair; they unselfishly focused only on their clients.

Post kids, I frequented salons of closest proximity and hoped for the best. After several recommendations, I went to see Justine of Justine’s Hair Studio.  

Justine herself was an attractive blonde; her hair was carefully styled. The salon too appeared pleasing to the eye. No hint of disgruntled customers. No one running into the parking lot wearing dark shades and a bucket over her head. No sign of hysterics.

All I wanted was to cover a few gray hairs. I explained to Justine that I liked a natural look. My hair is dark brown and shoulder length. No one needed to know that I colored it but she and I. She nodded conspiratorially. I relaxed.

When she finished, my hair was not the color of a freshly picked chestnut as I desired, but of crude oil. Jet, inky black.

“It’s too dark,” I told her.

Justine’s date had arrived and hovered around the waiting area. “Go home and check it out. If you want it lighter, come back tomorrow.”

I returned the next day. Justine assured me, “Don’t worry.” (Remember what I said last time about stupers who toss that line around?)

What does “I like my natural color” mean to you? Does it mean I want my hair to resemble the hide of a zebra grazing at a Kenyan water hole? Because suddenly I had stripes that any zebra would longingly admire. Excuse me for a few minutes while I stroll out  into my back pasture, open my mouth wide and holler for a good sixteen seconds or until I empty all the air out of my body.


Okay, I’m back. So yes, I had cream colored, distinctive stripes on my hair. I blinked several times, hoping that each time I opened my eyes, I’d awaken from my hairgedy (short for hair tragedy). I was speechless. So what did Justine say?

“Do you want me to put it in a French braid for you?”

I realized that if I permitted Justine to do anything else to my hair, I might have to be led out in handcuffs. Yet there were no empty buckets or pillowcases around for me to cover my head with when I went out in broad daylight. While I sat there mutely, Justine braided my hair. This is what the back of my head looked like when she was done:

my hair

 I kept it in this braid for a few days while I decided what to do. Did I bother to mention that I was to be the Maid of Honor at my sister’s wedding in a week?

When I went out in public for the first time in my stripes, my son’s kindergarten teacher ran into me and stopped in the middle of her hello as her eyes fell upon my hair.

“My hairdresser was on drugs,” I explained helpfully.

She nodded in total understanding.

To cut to the chase, I ended up seeing my sister’s hairdresser (yet another person who cared nothing about his own locks) who gently coaxed my hair back to its original shade.

Moral of this tale: If the person doing your tresses looks like he/she spends far too much time on his/her own hair, chances are they are stupid stylists.

Just think!