Sickness and Stupidity

When one is suffering from a cold, flu or other infectious illness, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with others. Stupers (short for irrepressibly stupid persons) do not readily understand this concept.

This is particularly true when it comes to limiting exposure of sick kids to well ones. Unfortunately, parents who subscribe to the minimalist school of thought have no qualms about hauling a child about who is contagiously ill to ensure contact with others. Too often children with runny noses, hacking coughs, and glassy eyes are cheerfully dropped off at school or dragged around on errands by parents eager to get on with their day. What is the proper handling of such idiotic situations?

As a 4-H Project Leader, I needed to sign off on end-of-the-year project reports completed by kids who’d participated in the activity that I’d led. A week before these signatures were due, I heard a knock on my front door. I opened it to find Mrs. Smith on the doorstep.

“I hope you don’t mind,” said she. “But I thought I’d come by early and have you sign Ricky’s report.”

“Sure,” I replied. “Come on in.”

As Mrs. Smith stepped into my home, she yelled over her shoulder, “Come on, Baby!”

Baby was her ten-year old son, Ricky, an impish, round-faced boy, usually very boisterous, but quiet today. I figured he temporarily suffered from a bout of shyness upon entering my house for the first time.

“Poor guy,” cooed Mrs. Smith as they sat down in my living room. “He’s got infectious mono and a 103 degree fever.”

I stared at Ricky who smiled weakly, wiped his nose on his arm, then indiscreetly wiped the same arm on the back of a nearby wing backed chair.

This is what I felt like doing to the asinine Mrs. Smith:

Instead, I pondered my options. I could:

  1. Immediately pick up the boy and/or his mom and throw them outside;
  2. Call 911;
  3. Refuse to sign the project report and give the mom a lecture on how to properly take care of a sick child;
  4. Stick Mrs. Smith’s head in front of a rapidly approaching train to see if I could arouse a proper reaction.

As it was, I retrieved my lower jaw from my chest, restrained any urge to physically remove the smiling Mrs. Smith and reminded her that Ricky should be at home. I would review his report later. I then ushered them out.

The entire project report signing would take about ten minutes, so Ricky could have waited in the car in the safety of my driveway while Mrs. Smith left the report with me and either waited outside with her son or come back later. Dear sympathetic readers might be shaking their heads, and wondering why I didn’t spare a few minutes as the meager minded mother and sick son were already in my home. But the truth is, I’d had experience with Mrs. Smith before and knew that it was her nature to talk incessantly of her troubles.

The first time we’d met, I listened intently to her, telling myself that perhaps this distressed person needed an outlet for her woes. Then I realized that half the town was well acquainted with her myriad of problems.

Do troubles ever end when a stuper insists on exposing past and present maladies to one and all that crosses her path? Does it ever occur to a stuper that not everyone needs or wants to know? Why the desire to retell the same story?

There is nothing wrong with sharing or discussing a personal hardship, but most of us realize that there’s a time to move on. Stupers do not reach this conclusion, once again, due to slow or nonfunctional thought processes.

No progress occurs for any one who continues repeating the same tales without any purpose other than to hear herself over and over again. It perpetuates stupidity and spreads to other aspects of life, such as being blind to the need to stay at home with a sick child.

Thinking is an asset.












4 Responses to “Sickness and Stupidity”

  1. Mary says:

    Don’t people pay attention to other’s feedback when they get it? It never ceases to amaze me that they completely ignore it and continue on. It’s really kind of sad.

  2. Unbelievable. Note to america, YOU and YOURS are NOT the only people in the world!

  3. Julianne says:

    Holy crap! Kudos to you for exercising some restraint.

    I know a Mrs. Smith. She has more problems than any human being should and she continues to add more to her resume each day. I have to suppress the urge to grab her by the ears and shake her head screaming, “Focusing on sickness just makes you sicker!” But I don’t. I nod politely and ponder exit strategies.

  4. Agnes Mildew says:

    Dear me. Yes, these people are alive and kicking, aren’t they? Why they believe we all fancy a dose of flu, or what have you, is beyond me. When #1 daughter was three days old we had visitors. The woman snotted and sneezed all over my beautiful baby who ended up sickly and running a temperature almost straight away. I was furious and could have kicked that woman so far into the middle of next week. Selfishness and stupidity are a very dangerous combination…

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