Archive for October, 2007

Cart Crazy or Supermarket Stupidity

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007


I heard the groans of frustration just as I turned down the spice aisle. I sensed the imminent onset of a skirmish, and since I was the only stupidity specialist in the vicinity, I decided to intervene.

As Shopper #1 fussed over the different brands of paprika, she parked her cart dead center, dashing any hope of passage by other market-goers. I noticed puffs of steam emanating out of the ears of Shopper #2 who was stuck behind #1.  A string of pitiful pleas of “excuse me”  were uttered  over and over again by #2.  Meanwhile, #1 remained fixated on paprika.

#2  then lifted one foot, slowly put it in reverse in preparation for kicking over #1’s cart, when I stopped her.

“It’s not worth it,” I gently admonished.

#2 then picked up a baguette and indicated she meant to swat #1 with it. I shook my head. I grabbed #1’s cart, lifting one end and thrusting it off to the side, knocking only a few soup cans over in the process. #2 hurried away, murmuring obscenities befitting a seasoned cargo ship sailor.

I continued shopping, pondering who was at fault: the stuper (short again for an immeasurably stupid person) for forgetting she was not alone in the store, or Shopper #2 for her lack of navigational skills and for attempting to overpower stupidity with violence. 

Deep in thought, I reached for a bottle of salad dressing. Suddenly I was trapped between the condiments and the dairy department.  A woman had parked her cart next to me, perpendicular to the aisle so that it completely blocked all save for a two-inch gap on one side. Had she mistaken me for a dragonfly? Another shopper impatiently waited behind me.

I turned to view the courtesy challenged perpetrator and was greeted by her ample backside as she bent over and plunged one fleshy arm through the dark recesses of the milk section in pursuit of the bottle with the freshest stamp. I debated ramming her cart straight into her rotund rear, but feared I’d hardly make a dent.

Instead, I backed out of the aisle, forcing several behind me to do the same. We reversed ourselves out, in single file. I kept repeating my mantra, “Be kind to the muddled mind, be kind to the muddled mind….” It took a few minutes, but my sense of well-being was soon restored.

Then, as I placed a bunch of bananas in a plastic bag, my cart was suddenly sideswiped by a one-armed nitwit on his cell phone. He ran his cart into mine with barely a glance and zigzagged rapidly away, messing up a neat row of pineapples and nearly knocking over a cheerful display of the Jolly Green Giant.

If this same behavior took place on the street, arrests would be made, driver’s licenses taken away and possibly, a long prison term for the offender. Regrettably, laws governing cart behavior in supermarkets are nonexistent, not unlike the days of the wild west. During such days, citizens often took the law into their own hands out of necessity…and survival. I don’t believe that is the answer here.

I have written a petition and plan to sit at tables in front of supermarkets collecting signatures to install a set of laws specifically dealing with stupers in markets. Sample laws:

  • No carts may park in the middle of the aisle, ever;
  • Cell phone use only permitted in designated areas;
  •  12 items or less means exactly and only that;
  • Perpendicular parking is a minimum $10,000 fine;  

Grocery stores should not be stupermarkets. They should be a bastion of civility and common courtesy. In the meantime, feel free to borrow my mantra. And use forceful measures only as a last resort.

Your thoughts create the person you want to be.



Scary Stupidity

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Since it’s Halloween time, I thought I’d better come up with a haunting tale of stupidity. But then I realized every encounter with stupidity is scary.

As I drove down a narrow highway, I heard, then saw in my rear-view mirror, the flashing red lights of a fire engine racing along a short distance behind me. I also glimpsed a car, obviously operated by a stuper (short for a nincompoop, i.e., a stupid person). I say, “obviously” because although four vehicles ahead of me and I pulled over to the shoulder to allow the fire truck passage, the stuper’s vehicle plodded along ignoring the siren and lights. The dolt passed me, and he passed the car in front of me, before finally pulling aside.

Maybe “pulling aside” are the wrong words. He ambled over to the shoulder, then despite the fact that additional engines were fast approaching, this stuper decided to return partially into the lane to better view the crises.

I was fascinated yet disgusted by this wantonly outrageous behavior. Stupers believe their curiosity overrides an emergency situation.

Driving came to a standstill to permit the emergency vehicles to get by. Since it was difficult to watch the action from behind the wheel, this denizen of stupidity got out of his car. He then stood partly in the lane that the fire engines sped through, again to better view the disaster. The engines had to swerve a bit to avoid hitting him. Ah! Just a few more tiny steps out, and he might have been squashed.

I happened to have a camera on me. I took a photo in order to capture the expression and demeanor of a counterfeit human in progress. I’m afraid that I wasn’t close enough to capture anything more than the mere essence of this human embodiment of stupidity. I apologize, but I was unwillingly to leave my car and wander into the opposing lane just to take the stuper’s photo, even for my dear readers. However, I clearly saw the look of a stuper at work as he turned toward me to see if he was missing any action behind him.

Please indulge my attempt at describing this personification of stupidity:

  • Subject’s eyes were wide open, but glazed over and limited in scope (meaning he stared at the same place for some time before turning away);
  • Brows slightly raised indicated a possibly permanently imbued stunned look;
  • Mouth cracked open. I’ve noticed the mouths of many such people gape this way often providing a natural habitat for gnats and small flies. I speculate that this occurs because brain waves do not fully circulate or circulate at all. Consequently, the mouth is not given instructions regarding closure;
  • Physical movements were slow and haphazard since little, if any, thought transpired;
  • Blinking of the eyes happened at less frequent intervals than people of medium intelligence and higher.

Barring any medical conditions, drugs or alcohol forming the crux of such physical traits, the above describes the general physical attributes of a typical stuper.

I found myself haunted by the inane expression worn by this feeble minded fellow. So when it came time to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, this is what I ended up with:

A near perfect rendering of the hollow headed highway stuper.

Men can live without air a few minutes, without water for about two weeks, without food for about two months – and without a new thought for years on end. ~Kent Ruth

Just think!


Friday Fantasy and Stupidity Bonus

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Once again, I’m going to indulge in a little reality mixed with fantasy regarding one of my latest encounters with stupidity:


I’m driving straight on a narrow highway, both hands lightly gripping the steering wheel, eyes riveted on the road, good citizen that I am. There are two cars in front of me, and behind me….wide open space.

The speed limit is fifty-five mph; I drive somewhere around sixty. I watchfully maintain a safe distance from the car in front of me. The sky is blue. Birds are twittering. The fields are sprouting new green growth. How lovely! I sigh a deep sigh of tranquility.

Just ahead and to my right, I spot a pick-up truck, sliding to a stop from a side road. When I am almost close enough to make out the color of the driver’s eyes, he sharply turns, directly in front of me, forcing me to slam on my brakes.

Take note again, dear readers, that behind me, the lane was clear all the way to the next county. Maybe even to the next state. All the stuper (short for a phenomenally stupid person) had to do was wait three whole seconds for me to pass. Instead, he cut me off and took nearly four minutes to bring his car to to a whopping thirty-five mph.

The moronic motorist was neither an elderly person nor a teenager. I suppose that when one views the world through a straw, as stupers do, cutting another person off comes quite naturally.


Besides being a wife, mom, chauffeur, cook, laundress, gardener, punching bag for testy teens and sewing challenged seamstress, I’d like to add sharpshooter to my domestic repertoire. Then I would have taken careful aim at the pick-up truck. Not because I am eager for a little blood and guts; I just want to shoot out a couple of back tires. You know, as a token reminder to mentally deprived drivers to practice a little awareness and courtesy next time. Either that, or I’d like to be an active member of the Highway Patrol; just for one day.

As a bonus, I’d like to share a stupidity alert, thoughtfully sent to me by New Diva on the Blog :

This appeared on Rantings of a Creole Princess:

A company supervisor called Walmart and ordered a cake for a going away party. Here’s what he told the Walmart employee to put on the cake, “Write ‘Best Wishes Suzanne.’ Underneath that, ‘We will miss you.'”

Unbeknownst to the supervisor, he had placed his order with a stuper. Here’s what he got:

Isn’t it freaky the way some brains work (or don’t work)? If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it possible.

Keep thinking!

Stupidity Gawks

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Where there’s smoke, there’s a stuper (short for a conspicuously stupid person).

As you may know, fires have turned the blue skies of Southern California into a murky brown. Haze creeps along the hillsides and the air reeks of stale smoke. Thankfully, the fire near my home is under control. But there are many who are not as fortunate. Reports of the fires are all over the news, but what you may not hear about are the stupers.

Anytime there’s news of a disastrous situation, stupers feel a compelling urge to converge at the site of the calamity. They are irresistibly drawn to where they are least desired. The privacy of others becomes nonexistent.

I have a family member who lives near one of these fires. He had this to report,

“I can see flames as close as a mile away. We’re just waiting for word to evacuate. It’s getting dark and people are standing around. People I’ve never seen before. Looking for a place to park. Then getting out and just watching the flames. Our streets are usually quiet. Now they’re jammed. All I see is light from the fire and lights from cell phones. It looks like the Martians have landed.”

Stupers congregate to satisfy their insatiable curiosity and fascination with another’s misfortune. Plus, it gives them something to discuss for weeks, possibly in perpetuity.

There is only one cure for gawking stupers and that is, to put these meager minds to work. Give them axes, shovels and trays with water bottles and food to pass out to the hard-working fire fighters. Provide a portable blood donation vehicle and round up these stupers for donors (their brains may be deficient, but I feel confidant their blood is useable).

Potential spur-of-the-moment volunteerism would either deter stupers from rushing to disaster scenes or if they insist upon coming, it would make them useful. Even stupers like to be asked to help. It promotes a sense of self-importance, which they desperately need. It would also create productivity out of stupidity.



Award Time

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Thank you to Dawn at Twisted Sister for giving me the “Blogging That Hits the Mark!” Award. I’m afraid I took my sweet time in picking up this accolade, and I apologize. I hit a lot of traffic on the way to Canada. But I am very honored as Dawn hosts one of my favorite blogs.


There are many blogs that hit the mark for me so it’s challenging to pick just one to pass this award on to. I think I will bestow it on two: Starlily, who hits the mark for me with her great information on health and well being on The Active Life, and New Diva on the Blog at Say Anything who offers many meaningful, random musings.

As if this wasn’t enough, Dawn then added me to her “Community Blogger Award” list. More thanks to her! My virtual awards shelf is something I’m very proud of! Thank you for thinking of me!

There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.
Frank Zappa

Just think!


Public Service Stupidity

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

When possible, it’s best to avoid structures occupied by civil servants. Mainly because the chances of running into a stuper (short, yet again, for an uncommonly stupid person) are high. And secondly, to avoid getting that variety of annoyance that causes tendrils of steam to escape from one’s nostrils and ears.

If you should notice a smartly dressed, indecisive looking woman poised outside the double glass doors of a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, frozen in mid-step, that’s me. I’m likely in the midst of a heated debate with myself about the merits of stepping inside. It’s not because I don’t want to see Arnold’s jaunty, framed photo, grinning and greeting me upon entry. I like the Terminator/Conan starring as the Governor of California. And it’s not because the picture on my driver’s license resembles a squirrel just before it’s trounced by a car tire. It’s just that I’m bracing myself for a potential encounter with a stuper.

At some point I realize that I must make the best of it and finally enter. I remind myself that at least I won’t have to wait in a line. I always call ahead for an appointment because if one doesn’t take this small action in my state, a day at the DMV could last fourteen hours.

However, although I am regarded enviously by the thirty or so who lacked my foresight in making an appointment, I still wait in a line, consisting of one person: me.

Ten minutes pass while two employees engage in animated conversation. Neither notices me or makes eye contact with anyone on the other side of the borderline. Do they converse about official business? Not unless Martha Stewart’s 2500 square foot chicken coop qualifies as such.

I decide to make my presence known. I clear my throat loudly and receive no attention or even an interruption in their chatter. I then cough distinctly enough to be heard at the beauty parlor next door. Still no reaction. I consider hoisting myself up, onto the service desk, pulling out the bullhorn and announcing my arrival.

Instead, I march past the limit line and up to the desk. Both employees freeze and regard me with determined unfriendliness. They are astonished by my audacity.

“Do you have an appointment?” One of the workers decides to challenge me.

“Yes,” I reply assertively.

“Get in line then.”

And their conversation continues.

Is it because they know we’re at their mercy that they care nothing and think less of actually assisting the person on the other side of the divider? Or is it because they have seen so many stupid persons come through their queues that they’ve grown disillusioned, cold, cynical and unfeeling about being helpful or courteous? We may never know.

The only way to handle such governmental employees is by utilizing your storehouse of enormous patience and tolerance, for your own sake. Plan ahead. Psyche yourself up prior to your interaction or dealings with the civil servant and do not let their stupidity or cynicism get in the way of enjoying your day. Realize the contact is only temporary and fulfills a need or purpose.

If possible, contribute to their conversation. Smile. Laugh at their jokes. Feign interest. Prove that you are a living, thinking, fellow human being. Catch their attention so that they are unable to ignore you and finally have no choice but to break down and provide the assistance that you require. Just because you are purposefully disregarded does not mean you should react accordingly or in a negative fashion .

Take control of the situation in a positive, friendly manner. That way, the employee may actually desire to help. This stance can awaken the inert mind into action, reminding ineffective workers that they are there to provide a service, which when done well, makes everyone content.

Think first, last and always.


Friday Fantasy of Stupidity

Friday, October 19th, 2007

I’m going to indulge in a bit of Friday fantasy. In my world, existing rules are as easily bendable as the tentacles on a squid. The Powers That Be are sympathetic toward those authentic humans who must take stupidity in their own hands. The imagination may be utilized to eradicate (or at least have a little fun with) the meager minded. It’s agreed that stupers (once again, short for substantially stupid persons) must be dealt with swiftly and effectively and with as little trauma as possible to the victim.

My Reality: In an office building, I entered a ladies room with two stalls. One is occupied. Before I could even possibly consider opening the door to the other I heard,

“Anything you say to me is completely confidential.”

I wondered what made this stranger think I needed to talk to her and what she expected me to say. I then heard noises that were only tolerable when escaping from the bottom of a baby. Your own baby, that is. She continued, “Look, be at the Courthouse tomorrow at nine for the deposition.”

Aha! Multitasking stuper on cell phone in public restroom stall in the middle of conducting business while attending to necessary bodily functions. Poor thing had mistaken the toilet for a porcelain Lazyboy recliner.

At this point, the speaker flushed the toilet; she raised her voice several octaves and decibels in case people on neighboring floors couldn’t hear her and explained, “If you do it right, you’re gonna be able to take him for everything he owns. You’re gonna be a rich woman!”

My Fantasy: I yelled, “Shut up!” I heard applause from other unfortunate members of her captive audience in the hallway and offices next door. Holding a hankie to my nose with one hand, I closed my eyes and yanked open her door with my other hand. I reached out and blindly ripped the cell phone from her ear, tossed it over the top of her stall and heard the resounding and highly satisfying splash into the neighboring toilette. More applause ensued. I left knowing that the hollow headed person would probably not use a cell phone in this manner again.

There you have it. My 3.5 readers are welcome to submit their own Friday Fantasy tales starring their very own personal stuper(s) who get justly rewarded in a fitting way.

Keep thinking!


Stupidity Steps Forward

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I declared a state of emergency in my home yesterday for about eleven minutes. I am mostly to blame for this, but nonetheless, it originated with a stuper (short again, for a predominantly stupid person).

I received an e-mail. Generally, while reading such mail, my right hand gingerly grips my mouse, as index finger hovers, poised and hungry for action. I prepare to highlight and delete. The instant my eyes fall upon the name of a certain sender, I left click my mouse so fiercely, I half expect its innards to fly out and shatter the glass on my screen. Oh, would that it had!

The subject of the e-mail in question was “Amber Alert.” As you may know, this refers to a child abduction crisis. The sender was Judy*. Instinctively, whenever Judy’s name appears on my screen, I hit delete, take cover in case I missed, then once I am assured of success, I get up and take a walk. If your name is Judy, and you’ve e-mailed me, chances are it was deleted, unread.

As I strolled, I began to feel a mild pinch of guilt. What if Judy was like The Boy Who Cried Wolf? What if this one time, she actually conveyed a meaningful message regarding a missing child? Are you shaking your heads? If not, you should be because I went back to my computer screen, dove into my deleted box of discarded missives and retrieved Judy’s wretched e-mail.

It was, as I expected, a notice about a missing boy, complete with pictorial and heart wrenching plea from the anguished mom asking for help to find her child. A tear sprang to my eye; my heart swelled for the mother’s pain. He looked like such a gamely youth. I memorized his innocent features lest I run into the frightened teen cowering between a couple of Mack Truck-size thugs when I went shopping that very afternoon. A picture of me cleverly and bravely rescuing the child sprinted across my mind. I’d wear my tennis shoes and carry a baseball bat to the grocery store, just in case.

Amid such thoughts, I scrolled down Judy’s e-mail past the 250 or so names it’d been forwarded to and noticed that it had been sent to Judy by a woman with whom I was familiar. This lady seemed an intelligent, detail-oriented sort. I smelled a faint air of legitimacy. At the bottom, she urged readers to forward it to one and all.

Dutifully, I forwarded it to my mother whom I knew would indefatigably distribute the e-mail. Then I decided that if I were going to play a part in reuniting the boy with his dear mother, I’d better conduct a Google search. I entered his name. These key words caught my eye in the first five entries:

“Urban Legend,” “Boy Isn’t Missing,” “Netlore,” “Hoax” and “If you forward this, you will be forever branded an idiot.”

Drat! I’d been duped. The victim of a facile prank cloaked in an appeal to my maternal emotions. I contacted my mother and told her to immediately press delete.

I’d survived all previous Internet scams sent via Judy. Yet this time, I was practically combing the streets for a missing youth that was in reality at home, playing with his iPod. Had my healthy skepticism eloped with my unfaithful sense of reason?

I knew I was not alone. This e-mail had an expansive circulation in the two months since it had been sent adrift. Are we all stupers? Not all, but some, certainly. I forwarded this because I actually believed for a few moments that I could help another person (insert doleful violins playing something by Debussy).

I suggest that should you receive an e-mail of this type, be watchful of certain telltale signs of trickery, such as:

  • “Please forward to everyone you know”
  • Lack of legitimate governmental agency involvement
  • Promises of large monetary payouts
  • If sent by one whose first name is Judy

Think before you forward.


* Yes, this is the same Judy who’s been featured here twice before, as you old time readers know.

MMS or Stupidity?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

You’ve probably heard of experts who sometimes cross over to the other side. Police officers, whose job it is to apprehend criminals, become corrupt. Scientists, studying a disease, become infected. Stupidity specialists become stupid. I’d been wondering if the latter had happened to me. It had been hinted at quite often by a few of my close confidantes. Here’s what they’ve stated:

“You just don’t get it.” “That’s not what I said.” “Don’t you understand?”

These pronouncements were usually accompanied by shaking of the heads and looks of pity and annoyance. Sometimes, these remarks were even made to me while I’d been sitting silently for an hour, reading. Is it possible to be inactive and still act stupidly? Yes, according to my children.

Who are these confidantes? My very own teenagers.

I know the trials of having teens are temporary, like one long bout of indigestion, but who needs it? For instance, I commented to my younger son, Michael, about how nice it was that he was invited by a friend to be a guest at a private golf club. My son’s response,

“I’m not his guest!”

Obviously, a case of wrong word usage by me.

I asked my older son, James, if he’d like to take a mini ice chest to the beach with him to keep his drinks cool.

“What kind of question is that?”

Once again, I’d failed the I.Q. test.

I don’t really believe I was stupid all that often. But I do think I suffered from MMS – Mistreated Mom Syndrome – a condition thrust upon unsuspecting mothers with children who had entered the double-digit age bracket. Symptoms ranged from momentary displeasure to snarling fury. Moms often felt as if they were living the life of a serf in Teendom. I am convinced that a bleary, dreamy-eyed mother of teenagers wrote the escapist fairy tale, Cinderella.

I must add that despite being an MMS sufferer, I really do consider myself lucky. Teen torment didn’t start until my older son turned sixteen. And Michael only aggravated me intermittently. Those were the times that I was most stupid. Amazingly however, I received constant compliments on my kids’ behavior…outside of the home.

My stupidity appeared to be triggered by frustration, theirs and mine. I once advised my children that in order to work out a frustration, they should write a candid letter to the source, pouring out all that needed to be said. Afterwards, the undelivered note should be destroyed. Michael informed me that he was going to write just such a missive…to me. Only instead of tearing it up, he would graciously allow me to read it.

The letter went like this:

Dear Mom:

You think you have all the answers. (I try)

You need to be more laid back. (I probably would be a bit more relaxed if my kids were not teens who constantly kneaded me into a pliable dough).

You need to be nicer to me. (This demand was so ridiculous, it was scandalous).

You talk on the phone to Grandma way too much. (Hello? She is my official MMS complaint hotline).

You only think you have too much to do when in reality, you have plenty of time.  (This coming from a kid who once advised me to get a night job. That way I could make money and not cut into the time when he required my services).

Love, Michael

My son generously invited me to write him a letter in kind. So I sat down to write. My immediate reaction was to list his unappealing traits. But I didn’t. Instead, I re-read his note more closely. In a moment of sudden clarity, I realized what he was really saying:

Dear Mom,

You really do know a lot. That’s why it’s important to me to follow all the things you’ve taught me. I carry you around with me everywhere I go. I don’t always behave my best at home because sometimes, I need to test your love. I like it when all of your attention is on me.

Love, Michael

Okay, maybe I read a little too much between the lines, but basically I do not doubt that my children love me. The way they conduct themselves in public makes me proud. After all, if they cannot act like utter, immature fools at home, where can they?

In my letter to Michael, I decided to implement another piece of advice that I’d given them: nurture the good, so the good will grow. My letter went like this:

Dear Michael,

You are an outstanding young man whom I love dearly, and of whom I am very proud. Forgive my impatience with you sometimes, as I am still learning how to be the best mom.

Love, Mom

Let me tell you, I had him eating out of the palms of my hands for weeks afterwards. But truly, I realized that if I focused on their positive traits, all else would fall by the wayside.

Eventually, anyway.

Meanwhile, an impromptu shopping spree does wonders for MMS.

Think first.



Stupidity Next Door

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Most neighborhoods contain the presence of at least one stuper (short for a nonsensically stupid person). Thinking back to my own varying ‘hoods, I find that this type of neighbor usually lived right next door to me.

There was the quintessential snoop who excelled in peering between the blinds of his second story window so often, there was a permanent crease in one corner that he took for granted as being a clever bonus provided by the manufacturer. I caught him frequently spying on me while I gardened in my yard. Once, I became frightfully worried when the blinds were still and his repeatedly darting figure missing. I trudged over to his front door only to have his Mrs. inform me that he was at the dentist’s. He resumed his reconnaissance activity upon his return, forty minutes later.

Then there was that odd older couple who positioned enormous clay pots housing large palms in a horizontal line at the foot of their driveway. Somehow, between sunset and sunrise, these pots managed to change locations, creeping closer to the street or spreading out in a sort of waltz-like sequence all over the driveway. I never actually saw anyone playing musical pots, but I did hear the wife’s high-pitched cries periodically in the dead of night.

Most recently, there was Gertie, a woman of about 60 or so with an indeterminate accent; in the mornings, she sounded British; by mid-day, decidedly Austrian, and by nightfall, she spoke a strange mixture of English spattered with guttural noises and Mandarin Chinese.

Gertie lived alone next door, with a rotating menagerie of animals. Derby, her pug, excelled in trotting over to our front lawn every afternoon and leaving a malodorous offering, prompting my husband to reciprocate. No, he didn’t actually use her lawn as a personal repository; he just removed the pug’s contribution and returned it to the lawn of its rightful owner. Whenever Gertie saw my husband make the deposit, she just smiled vapidly and nodded.

Gertie managed to kill off her rabbits, chickens and sheep, the demise of which she blamed on the forces of nature. She set her bunnies free to roam. Stray dogs found them delightful, but delicate, playmates. After emancipation, her chickens made a fine feast for raccoons, and Gertie attributed the loss of her sheep to coyotes. Never mind that no one had seen coyotes in the area for years and that these particular coyotes’ bellies were so full, they didn’t so much as take a nibble. I won’t discuss the fact that Gertie habitually forgot to give her sheep water.

I decided to befriend Gertie. Why? Firstly, in the interest of science. She could provide ample research material for my stupidity studies, and secondly, in the interest of science (did I just say that?). I thought I could convince her to allow me to run a few experiments on her. I could douse her with a bucket of ice water to see if dormant brain cells could be stimulated. And I’d just read in The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion by Zhen Jiu Da Cheng, that “mental stupidity and dull-wittedness” may be alleviated if 76 needles are placed in precise areas around the skull. Now, I know many of you dear readers believe I make these things up. I don’t. I find that the truth is far more fantastical than anything I can possibly conjure about stupidity.

I went over to Gertie’s house and proceeded to engage in small talk. I can’t tell you what we discussed, as I really wasn’t listening. I bided my time so that I could request her cooperation in my science project. As she rattled on, it suddenly occurred to me that there might exist those stupers for which there is no hope. Perhaps no amount of dousing with ice water would help. Maybe poking the skull with needles would be futile. How would I recognize a case of hopeless stupidity?

Gertie was saying, “Yes, my corral has been empty since my sheep died. I think (Readers: please note that there is a red alert anytime a stuper uses the word think), I just may get a horse. I’ve never had one before.”

I snapped out of my reverie. “Yes, you did, a few years ago.”

Gertie regarded me, completely baffled and repeated, “I never had a horse.”

Okay, this is where I flip out, take the stuper by the shoulders and shake her for at least fifteen minutes, while keeping a close watch on her bobbing head, to see if I can get any brain activity at all. Or I just quietly slip away. I did the latter. I went home and opened my photo album. This is what I found:

The Horse

This is a picture I took of my lovely children playing with one of our goat kids, but what’s most important is what appears in the background. Isn’t that a horse on Gertie’s property posing for my snapshot? In fact, it was her horse.

I then realized that Gertie was a hopeless stuper. No amount of dousing or acupuncture could possibly revive her. Sometimes, there’s only so much a stupidity specialist can do.