Betting on Stupidity

My dear friend, Professor Bottomley, and I were enjoying a delightful lunch near the local university when we overheard this conversation between two students:

“Last night, I was like, it so feels like Tuesday!”

“Oh my God! It was Tuesday.”

Both stopped and looked at each other in wide-eyed wonder, mouths shaped into oversize Cheerios.

As they stood entranced by the spontaneous meeting of the meager minds, the good professor looked at me and moaned like a wounded cow. “That first one, Tiffany, has wandering lint for brains; she’s in my Biology 101. I’ll bet you Horton is smarter than those two put together. ”

Horton is the professor’s pet pig.

“I’ve taught Horton how to control the thermostat in his barn. Do you think Tiffany could do that? Do you think she knows what a thermostat is?” asked the Professor.

Humans rank first in animal intelligence, followed by primates, dolphins/whales, pigs and elephants. What about stupers (short for prodigiously stupid persons)? Where do they fall?

The Professor and I agreed that stupers did not surpass the top five smartest animals. What about the top ten?

I suddenly had a thought. The kind that just popped out of my head, fully formed, exactly like the time Greek God Zeus suffered a massive headache. After Hephaestus did Zeus the courtesy of splitting his skull in half for treatment, out popped Zeus’ daughter, Athena, in a complete set of armor and all grown-up. Isn’t that just like a teen?

“Can you test a squirrel’s intelligence?” I asked my friend.

“Stupers and squirrels each have a brain the size of a brussel sprout, so I suppose their intelligence is equal.”

I disagreed. Every winter a squirrel hides about 10,000 nuts. I’m not arguing that an average stuper cannot duplicate that feat. He/she probably can. But the squirrel hides each nut in a different place Then, using spatial memory, relocates each one. I’m not even sure I can master that accomplishment without outside help.

“I’ll bet you a squirrel is smarter than a stuper.”

“Tiffany could use some extra credit points,” noted the good Professor.

We designed a simple experiment where an average ground squirrel would be trained to follow a specific route, which included ladders, to find a scrumptious nut awaiting it at the end. All the squirrel would have to do is figure out the route. As for Tiffany, she’d leave her car in a large parking structure, go shopping for a few hours, then attempt to relocate her vehicle.

Both passed. Tiffany had a little more trouble than her furry competition as she marked the position of her car based on the colors of the autos parked next to her. Unfortunately for her, both adjacent vehicles had left upon her return. But since it wasn’t a timed experiment, an exhausted Tiffany eventually found her car.

In the second stage of our experiment, Professor Bottomley altered the squirrel’s maze, leaving the nut in the same place, but adding additional ladders providing alternative routes. The squirrel went straight to the nut. Amazing!

Instead of unleashing Tiffany in an actual parking lot, we created a safer environment. A computer provided a virtual image of a structure. We had her park an assigned car, then leave for a few minutes while we added alternative routes and changed the look of the structure. We kept the auto in the same place.

Alas, Tiffany didn’t fare too well. The good professor comforted the poor girl by giving her the extra credit points anyway (for good effort).

I’m afraid this was not a fair test. The professor and I cheated. You see, a squirrel’s brain grows 15% larger in the autumn (when keen memory is imperative in storing and locating nuts). Human brains stop growing once we’ve reached the ripe old age of sixteen. For the stuper, it actually shrinks from non-use.

Just think!


4 Responses to “Betting on Stupidity”

  1. Sarah says:

    I’ve never met a squirrel I didn’t like. I can’t say that about too many people (stupers!). Very funny post!

  2. M.C. says:

    Whoa! If only you could find a way to stop the shrinkage of the stuper brain.

  3. Julianne says:

    If only Tiffany weren’t representative of the vast majority of young women in our society (at least in my cynical mind).

  4. Suzie says:

    Unfortunatly most students today, young women or young men
    are acting like Tiffany.

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