Archive for October, 2007

No Customer Service = Stupidity

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Definition of customer service: the ability of an organization or entity to meet the customer’s needs and wants; ideally, to exceed the customer’s expectations.

Stupers (abbreviated for emphatically stupid persons) do not view the term customer service like the rest of us do. We see two words. They see three. Another word magically appears before them, invisible to all, but the half-baked eye. The stuper sees this: no customer service. This may explain the blatant display of rudeness and the often foul attitude presented by employees/representatives of some organizations.

Karen* had an MRI (a non-x-ray diagnostic technique using a magnetic image) of her head area taken after she suffered an injury. She took time off work and drove thirty-four miles to the office of a specialist. Needless to say, Karen was in pain.

She arrived for her appointment. A receptionist sat back in her swivel chair, one eye fixed on her file…nail file, that is, and the other on Karen.

“Did you bring your MRI paperwork with you?” she asked.

“I thought the lab sent it,” Karen replied.

The receptionist suddenly leaned forward, slammed her palms down on the desk and frowned, wrinkling her nose and turning her lips inward. A puff of unsuppressed aggravation escaped her nostrils.

“Maybe if you called the lab….” Karen started.

“Your doctor has ten minutes to get it over here!”

“Uh, can you please call him?”

Karen recalled, “The receptionist rolled her eyes. I might as well have asked her if I could stick my gum to the bottom of her shoe. It was a showdown. I waited. There I was in pain and dealing with a receptionist who had no concept of people skills. This was a doctor’s office! She finally placed the call.”

“You’re lucky,” she told Karen. “They’re faxing the MRI for your head over.”

“It’s supposed to be head and neck.”

“What? You told me head!”

“Isn’t the head connected to the neck?”

Karen continued, “After that, she ignored me. Then a lab technician came in to give her something, and the receptionist leaned toward her and started whispering about me.”

I asked Karen how she knew they were talking about her.

“Because every eight words or so, she’d say ‘and Karen,’ and throw a dirty look my way.”

In some peculiar, unconscious way (it must be unconscious since there’s no thought), stupers attempt to draw attention away from their faulty mental faculties by behaving in preposterous ways. It’s an instinctive reaction, almost a protective shield of sorts. It’s a feeble attempt to divert attention from the obvious, i.e., that they are indeed stupid.

The way to counteract such utter nonsense and stupidity of this ilk is similar to the Jedi mind trick used in Star Wars by Obi-Wan. One can influence the actions of the meager minded by being firm, focused and maintaining resolve in reaching one’s goal. Stupers must be dealt with quickly, and then rapidly forgotten.

There’s no talking sense to a fool.

Keep thinking!


*Veteran readers may recognize Karen from Cookie Cutter Stupidity

Busybody Stupidity

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Many thanks to my marvelous, nimble-minded readers; this is my fiftieth post! I could no way have done it without you. You’ve helped make my blog a success. Only a select two or three people actually acquainted with the real me know about the existence of this blog. I keep it secret for two reasons: namely, I don’t want to cause undue concern that they may wind up a featured stuper (short again, for a staggeringly stupid person). Secondly, they may actually be featured here.

Because of my dear readers’ encouragement, I just opened an office. My shingle reads:

Keli Garson, Stupidity Specialist

Motto: “When stupidity creates a mess, I’ll help you clean it up.”

During the first forty-eight hours of business, my phone was silent and my door stayed closed. The only call came from my children who asked when dinner would be ready and could I hurry up and do the laundry.

On day three, I hung up a new sign: “No charge. Walk-ins welcome.”

A line of four people immediately formed. I had to gently remove the first client as he wanted me to “off his brother-in-law,” but the second, Ellen, an attractive woman of about fifty or so, actually presented this case:

Ellen’s son, Jason, ran for President of his eleventh grade class. He’d worked hard, passing out fliers, hanging up posters and making speeches. Many thought he was a shoe-in. However, the election results came, and he lost. Naturally, Jason was disappointed, but got over it quickly.

Immediately after the election, an acquaintance, Judy*, approached Ellen and inquired whether Jason would be okay. Ellen reassured her that he’d be fine. Actually, Ellen felt more disappointed than Jason. As parents, we often take our kids’ letdowns harder than they do.

Ellen ran into Judy a day later; Judy again asked how Jason was doing. Ellen replied that the loss was actually a bit of a relief as it gave Jason some time off from a hectic schedule.

This response did not satisfy the stuper as that evening, Judy e-mailed Ellen to again ask how Jason was doing. How disappointed was he? Would he ever get over it? This continued over a period of several weeks. Ellen said,

“I hardly know my personal agitator, yet she badgers me, day after day. Unexpectedly appearing on my doorstep. Incessantly ringing my telephone. Filling my e-mail screen with constant reminders of Jason’s ‘devastating loss.’ She is driving me to the brink of madness. I have no clue when she’ll next attack. This makes defense problematic.”

At first glance, this meddling moron may appear innocuous and even caring in an overzealous, unbending way. However, Ellen informed me this exact scenario was played out last year when another favored candidate, Katy, happened to surprisingly lose. Judy had spent the entire year telling everyone, with puritanical fervor, how disappointed and bitter not only Katy was, but her whole family. This news came as quite a shock to Ellen since both Katy and her family seemed happy and oblivious about their “humiliating” loss. Ellen hoped to avoid the same kind of scandalous talk spreading about her own family by acting as impassively as she could.

I gave Ellen some options. She could:

  • Obtain a restraining order against Judy to keep her at bay;
  • Seek psychiatric help in order to ascertain whether Jason, in fact, suffered from severe disappointment and didn’t know it;
  • Carry large cymbals and smack them next to Judy’s head once she started her meddlesome chatter in order to shock this stuper into, hopefully, coming to some of her senses; or
  • Ignore her


I personally recommended the cymbals; it would be a fascinating experiment to try out on a stuper, but Ellen happily chose the last option. She would also block Judy from her e-mail and phone, and let her pit bull answer the door next time Judy came ’round.

The only way not to promote the wagging tongue of a stuper is to turn one’s back on it. True, they may go ahead and make up their own take on the story, but they won’t enjoy it nearly as much. Plus, Ellen had the satisfaction of knowing the truth.

Stupers are adept at bearing the pain of other’s. Remember, people of this questionable caliber pass through our lives for a reason: so that we may hone the ability to truly appreciate the kind, thoughtful, caring authentic humans in our lives.

Think first, last and always!


* Those of you seasoned readers may recognize that Judy is the original stuper from Stupidity in Action. I live in a small town; hence, the same stuper may reappear again and again.

Stupidity Steps Aside for Moi

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

It’s all about me today (if you ask my teens, it’s always about me). I was tagged by Flowers on a Friday to reveal ten random facts about myself. Most of this blog is fueled by multitudinous random facts about me so I’ll make it brief. Since I do live in Southern California, I’m going to ask for a little aid from a few celebrities to give this tag a bit of star quality. Here goes:

1 . I went to junior high and high school with Paris Hilton’s ma.

2. I once ran after Tom Selleck after I spotted him strolling down the street in Beverly Hills. That’s just what I do when I see incredibly handsome men. He was quite charming.

3. My first job (at which I failed miserably) was as a holiday gift wrapper. My deepest apologies to all who thought Santa’s drunken elves were at play. Thank goodness, I married a wrapper.

4. I’ve been to three KISS concerts, front row and center, not as a fan, but as a guest of my sister, who is a three star general in the KISS army.

5. I love jelly doughnuts.

6. I was an extra in the movie, Sideways. Thankfully, I ended up on the cutting room floor.

7. I attended a luncheon in a Beverly Hills restaurant when some guy walked in wearing cool shades, jeans, a dress shirt and sneakers. My immediate thought was, “What a wannabe!” It was Ryan Seacrest.

8. I love films from the thirties and the forties.

9. I have two dogs and six retired show chickens.

10. I once almost fell into a deep coma after my car broke down. Not because I was ill or hurt, but because the tow truck driver persisted in speaking in double and even triple negatives. For instance, “The car scarcely needs no oil,” “I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody,” and “I ain’t got nobody nohow.” Sheer torture.

I’m not much at game playing so any readers who’d like to play tag, please feel free to join in and reveal ten random facts about yourself on your blog. If I can do it, anyone can.

Just think!


Chummy Stupidity or Stupidity and Space

Friday, October 5th, 2007

You’re standing in line at the grocery store. Unfortunately, it’s early evening; peak shopping time for the tired, the hungry and the stuper (there it is again; short for a habitually stupid person). While you wait, you browse the always amusing cover of the nearest tabloid (“World War II Bomb Found in Chicago Bathtub”).

Then it happens.

First, you hear it close to your ear. Loud, shallow breaths in even tempo. Then you feel it. A slight jab, a vague push, maybe even an insignificant shove. You turn around. Inches away from your being stands a stuper, gazing blankly out into yonder places, completely heedless of the fact that he/she is invading your personal sanctum. If you lean toward the oblivious offender, just a bit, you’d probably bump noses.

I think it’s fair to state that most of us do not like people, outside of those personally invited, to enter a diameter of say, two feet, within our physical presence. Especially when standing in line. I move forward when this happens. Quite often, so does the stuper behind me, even though there’s no need to crowd. Most grocery stores have ample space.

I carry a large handbag and deliberately place it between me and the zone violator. This helps maintain a certain distance. But still, I almost hold my breath, feeling self-conscious about the unwanted proximity. I keep moving forward and eventually bump smack into the poor, unsuspecting shopper in front of me, who turns and gives me a look that could shrivel a potato.

Space and stupidity cannot coexist. To the stuper, space has no meaning and little value. This is further proven in the following examples:

  • My husband likes to keep our vehicles in mint condition. I’ve been politely requested by him to park my car far from those of the maddening crowd. So when parking spaces in a lot are too narrow and packed together, i.e., think sardine can-type lot, I seek out a prime spot. I find an uninhabited section and leave my vehicle. By the time I return, my car regularly amasses a following. Not a congregation of other well kept autos, but an assortment of those types of cars whose drivers mindlessly follow where others have gone before them. Door dings are considered state-of-the-art.
  • As I walk up the stairs in a department store, a woman follows me so closely that she places the toe of her shoe at the heel of my sandal and pins my foot to the ground. Does she notice? No. She just rushes past me.

What’s the remedy for this overly friendly, yet displeasing form of stupidity? I have two potential routes to stave off this brand of idiocy.

The first way requires using one’s elbows as a shield or space saver of sorts. By placing the hands on the hips, elbows jutting threateningly outwards, and rapidly twisting and turning in place, a human space protector is formed. Not to mention it’s excellent exercise. How do you think I maintain my twenty-four inch waistline?

My second method was utilized today when I stood in line to buy coffee at the local java shop; I suddenly became aware of the fellow behind me. I sensed he was trying to bury his chin in my hair. I did a quick maneuver, falling backwards, practically hurling myself onto him, while flinging my arms unsteadily upward. I caught myself just prior to contact. I let him know, in no uncertain manner, that I was inherently unstable. After that, he quite willingly stood several feet behind me. The space between us was happily restored.

Keep thinking!


Recurring Stupidity Part 2

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

From last time, how to get rid of a recurring stuper (short, yet again, for an unambiguously stupid person). By recurring, I refer to those meager minds that steadily bombard us with unappetizing morsels of their mental shortcomings.

As you may recall from my previous post, during Naomi’s tireless telephone tirade, I industriously took care of a few domestic duties. This was a perfect way to offset the ridiculous ramblings of a stuper. Alas, after this call, Naomi did something quite disturbing. So disturbing that I cannot repeat it here, as I do not wish to highlight the unpleasant in any way.

I felt enormously upset. I kept thinking of Naomi, wondering how any one, especially a fairly close relative, could possibly be so ludicrous and hurtful all at once.

I wrote nasty, unsent letters to her, spilling forth what I could not say and ripped the missives into ant-sized pieces. I tried creating an effigy of Naomi (a remarkable likeness, if I do say so), and sticking pins in the most painful places. I conducted imaginary phone calls with her where I said my piece (this was particularly helpful; if one of my statements wasn’t eloquent or churlish enough the first time, I could have endless retakes). But I couldn’t rid myself of the anger I felt.

Let me backtrack a moment. As I mentioned in my last post, the almost identical scene had played out a few years earlier. I’d overcome my markedly negative feelings then by taking a certain course of action. Naomi had subsequently moved away, and I saw little of her. Peace was restored. Now, I had to do the same.

What did Napoleon, Garbo, Byron and Einstein all have in common? (Besides being sufficiently famous enough to be known only by their last names). Does the word exile ring a bell? In Garbo and Einstein’s cases, their banishment (Garbo from Hollywood, Einstein from his native Germany) was self-imposed. Banishment is the main ingredient in my secret to getting rid of recurring stupers.

We must exile the stupid among us. No, I don’t mean send them off to the Siberian wilderness, as appealing as that may be. I mean, stop thinking about them in a negative fashion. I changed the way I thought about Naomi, and she vanished from my mind. She and the problems she caused me, ceased to exist.

During the time I spent staying angry at Naomi, she decided she wanted to move once again… near me. That sounded as appealing as sitting on a beehive.

Naomi, indeed, bought a house close to mine not long after my phone call to her. I remembered what worked for me before in getting her out of my life. As we shared family members that I cared about, I could do nothing drastic. But I could once again banish Naomi from my mind. It took me a few months, but I changed the way I thought of Naomi.

When we try not to think about something, that very thing insists on staying in our mind.  So I didn’t try not to think of Naomi. Instead I replaced all my negative thoughts with positive ones about her. I wished her and her family well, hoping they all stayed happy and healthy and so on.

As unbelievable as this may sound, as soon as I stopped giving Naomi any negative time in my mind, she moved once again, far away and out of my life. It sounds metaphysical, even supernatural, but it is the truth. My cure is simple and effective. It merely requires taking control of your thoughts. Every time I permitted negative pictures of Naomi in, I gave her a prominent spot in my mind. And consequently, she kept reappearing in my life. Exactly where I didn’t want her to be.

Now, when I do occasionally see Naomi, I extend only kind words, if any, for my own sake. Once I’m done with the interaction, I’m done. Do not devote any time thinking or talking about the mentally incapacitated in your life. What we continuously think about, likely comes to pass.

Keep only the best thoughts in your mind!


Recurring Stupidity

Monday, October 1st, 2007

I’ve been getting e-mails from readers asking exactly when it’s appropriate to cut off all contact with recurring stupers (once again, short for categorically stupid persons). Recurring because some sort of connecting bond exists linking the authentic, thinking person to the counterfeit human, such as long-term friendship, kinship or in-law-ship.

As you know, dearest readers, personal experience, observation, research and careful study weigh heavily in forming my expertise. I’ve learned ways to effectively get rid of stupers without any upsets.

I’m going to unveil here, for the first time, one of my most successful secret ingredients for eliminating a stuper…permanently. And no, it requires no bloodshed, weaponry or surreptitious nocturnal visits to the local toxicologist for the latest in untraceable poisons. It requires only one tool, but a tool that must be used properly. It worked for me not once, but twice…on the same person. Why twice? Because after success the first time, I became indolent, forgetting to utilize my tool properly. Idiocy reappeared. Thankfully, it was ultimately conquered.

For twenty years, a stuper of singular, stagnant stupidity hounded me: Naomi. As she is a fairly close relative, periodic contact is mandatory.

When my kids were toddlers, Naomi lived mere blocks away and spent a lot of time at my home. She too had tots. Having visits at her house would require effort and possible monetary expenditure on her part, so she always came to mine.

Not only is Naomi highly skilled at verbal insults, but pick any repugnant personality trait and Naomi embodies it: greed, insecurity, misery, meanness, envy, parsimony (in case you couldn’t think of any). Plus, she is a consummate critic and whiner. Believe it or not, Naomi hardly bothered me. I was so wrapped up in my own happiness, I was immune to her odious qualities. Once in a great while, I’d respond to her in annoyance, but typically, I grinned and bore it. In retrospect, I humbly marvel at my tolerance.

Then I suffered a bit of a crisis. A low point in my life. Naomi was not only of absolutely no help, but excelled in constantly bringing to my attention exactly what caused me pain.

I had to take action so I could live and be Naomi-less. I accomplished this in a simple way and when I did, Naomi moved away, and out of my life for several wonderfully stupid relative-free years. The course of action I took had to do with changing my way of thinking; I will elaborate on this shortly.

Two years later: I slacked off on following the course of action I’d set for myself. So Naomi reappeared and brought along her endless supply of annoyances.

Then Naomi got angry with my husband for not doing her a favor. She detonated with a foot stomping, expletive hurling explosion. I took the same course of action that had been successful in temporarily getting rid of her before. But first, I placed a phone call to Naomi, to clear the air.

She talked for over an hour. In order to maintain my sanity, I put her on speaker phone.  During her tirade, I baked a delicious lemon meringue pie, gave myself a refreshing cucumber & honey facial and trimmed a rose bush right outside the kitchen door.

When Naomi finally ran out of steam, I asked why she never bothered to act kindly. Her astute response:

“I guess ’cause we have nothing in common.”

Firstly, are we only kind to those with whom, we believe, we share something in common? Isn’t the fact that we all live on the same planet enough? Kindness is its own reward. Secondly, here’s what we don’t have in common:

We are the same age, attended the same college and graduate schools, were in the same freaking sorority, are in-laws (albeit, hanging by an exceedingly frayed thread), have kids the same age, are both attorneys, and so on and so forth.

After this conversation, I locked myself in the attic and racked my brain for hours in a desperate attempt to think of one act or word of kindness on Naomi’s part. When a hollow headed relative acts ridiculously, I immerse myself in their agreeable traits. This helps to overcome what is, hopefully, momentary stupidity. But what about recurring stupidity as in Naomi’s case? There were kin I cared about who would be hurt if I committed bodily harm on Naomi. So I kept thinking. 

I always came up empty-handed. Surely there had to be something. There was that time she gave me a flyer about the recall of my baby stroller. But that was immediately cancelled out when she failed to reimburse me for some shopping she asked me to do for her. How about that matchless moment when Naomi actually apologized to me? She’d asked me to pick up her daughter after school, then, changed her mind and had her brother pick up the child without telling me. Consequently, I scoured the campus for a trace of the missing girl. Just before I called the FBI, I ran across the school secretary who told me Uncle Paul picked up the girl. I left Naomi a none-too-happy phone message. She called me back to say she was sorry. But her apology was annulled because it had this attached,

“I hope this won’t prevent you from doing favors for me in the future.”

What did I finally do?

The answer and more, next time.

Guard your thoughts!