Archive for December, 2007

When Stupidity Gets in the Way

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I saw it leaning against a shelf, forlorn and forgotten, getting colder by the second. Cheerful employees maniacally buzzed to and fro right in front of it. I knew the generic plastic white bag, and all its contents, belonged to me.

Meanwhile, I helplessly watched, vying for the title of most neglected customer. I needed attention. I tried waving my hands above my head in the crowded shop; lying stomach down on the stainless steel countertop and flailing my arms and legs; displaying a whopping white flag and shouting “Excuse me!” none of which offered solace or garnered assistance. The grapefruit size silver hoop earrings worn by the man behind me got more notice.

We were on our way to a movie theater; I had ordered take-out from a popular burger place. As is customary when my family attends movies, I carried a handbag the size of the state of Rhode Island; perfect for filling with our own delectables. Who needs Skittles, Raisinets or the standard vat of school-bus hued popcorn?

Damn! All I wanted was my already paid for order. A projected fifteen minute wait had stretched to thirty, and I was on a schedule. Stupers (short for unfeasibly stupid persons) stood between our theatrical feast and me.

I’d been waiting for the customer before me to get her pecan pie order and leave. Slicing a piece evidently required as much preparation and clearance as securing a taxi for Mr. President. The worker in charge of cutting the pie polished his knife so carefully, that when he paused to view his image in it, he smiled and stated, “I could practically count my nose hairs on this thing.”

The actual slicing and dishing out took a solid three minutes. I could wait no longer. I felt bitter and alone. Visions of screaming uncontrollably danced in my head.

Fortunately, the bitterness didn’t last long. While grousing about the shop’s imperfections, I came to an understanding. All the employees looked happy and hard working. They were doing their best. Granted, I was in a rush and my order was only six feet away from me. So what if the hamburgers and fries were lukewarm? They’d hardly stay hot on our trek to the theater anyway. Would I be happier if I threw an enormous tantrum, demanded my money back and gave a lengthy lecture on the care and handling of waiting customers? Maybe. But I knew that if I took their lack of prompt, efficient, attentive service in stride and displayed kindness instead of madness, I’d feel happier.

I lassoed the dedicated latte-making employee and asked her, very pleasantly, to hand over my order. She said, “I’ll have to get someone else to do that for you.” But when she realized that all she had to do was grab and pass, she gave me my bag. (Oh, don’t worry; I untied her before I left).

As with most relationships, you take the good with the stupid. I knew I was right. It was no great challenge for any one of the four employees to pause a few seconds from taking an order or a payment or to reach out between creating cappuccinos to give me my order. But I also knew that sometimes, it’s better to be kind than right.

I sincerely hope that I’ve set a good example of tolerance and patience for my dear, intelligent readers. Happy New Year and my very best wishes to all!

Keep thinking!


Stupidity Waits in Line

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Waiting in line at a department store on the day after Christmas is as natural an occurrence as quills on a porcupine. It is to be expected. Stupers (short, yet again, for unflinchingly stupid persons) do not comprehend this. They regard it as highly irregular and an affront to their unwavering sense of impatience.

Yesterday, I returned seven items in the men’s section of a store. When my turn arrived to be assisted, two marvelously capable workers helped me. My entire transaction took no more than four minutes. During this period, I glanced behind me. A queue of five people had formed consisting of:

  1. A small, quiet, resigned fellow who exuded enough patience for the entire city of Buffalo, New York;
  2. Two large ladies, one of whom favored the size and shape of a small elephant (think Babar, without the jaunty crown); the other resembled a cross between a candy cane and cement truck; and

3. A foreign couple whose accent was indeterminate.

My focus remained mostly on the completion of my transaction, but I managed to catch a smattering of chatter between the foreign couple. As my 3.5 readers know, “striped” is a one- syllable word. However, this couple pronounced it as two syllables – “stri-ped.”

“There’s a nice stri-ped shirt over there.” “Do you like those stri-ped pants?” and so on.

I barely noticed this quaint chitchat until the cement truck-like woman interrupted them and announced, “It’s not stri-ped. It’s striped!”

Silence ensued, long enough to tie a sneaker. Then the woman continued,

“You should know that you’ve been saying it all wrong. It’s striped! Not stri-ped.”

Silence again ensued, long enough to tie the other shoe.

Then the couple continued their conversation, “Do you like stri-ped pants?” “I prefer a stri-ped shirt.”

I chose that very moment to turn and face the group behind me. I apologized, saying,

“I’m very sorry to be taking so long.”

The responses were,

“No problem.”

“It can’t be helped.”

“Do not worry. It gives us a chance to browse the selection of stri-ped clothing.”


This last comment came out in one great huff from the cement truck-size lady, who, as you may have guessed, was a stuper. That one word indicated that I had no business returning so many items (to which I heartily agreed; but the men in my life are exasperatingly fickle when it comes to wardrobe).

In a span of a few short minutes, stupidity revealed itself. Take note of how the chatty couple dealt with the stuper. They refused to acknowledge her existence, continued their quest for stri-ped clothes and maintained their sense of well-being. They regarded stupidity as they would a pothole in the road. It existed for barely a moment. Once passed, it was readily forgotten.

Think first, last and always.


Holiday Stupidity

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

I’d like to acknowledge just a small sampling of thinking, non-stupers (short for persons who actually exercise thought prior to speaking or acting) that I come across over the course of a day lest you think I only tango with the inane:

  1. I just love my hairdresser, Brad. My hair had gotten a bit longer than usual, just past shoulder length when I saw him today. His first words to me: “You look like a nineteen year-old!” If you’ve read my “about” page, you know I passed nineteen a few years ago. Brad’s second words to me: “And look how slim you’ve gotten!” Need I say more?
  2. I had to develop my digital photo disk at the local drug store. I’d never done so as it is my older son’s job, so I felt a bit grumpy about doing it myself (though I am usually exceptionally good-natured). I waited for the customer in front of me to finish – she must have developed over 7000 prints – and at long last, it was my turn. While I examined the directions for operating the machine, a store employee materialized next to me. “I’m here to help you,” she said, softly. I had just been thinking I wish I had help (Why couldn’t I have wished to win the lottery instead?). I very much appreciated her thoughtful aid.
  3. At the local deli today, the crowd seemed a little unruly. One of the workers behind the counter yelled, “Who’s next?” When no one stepped forward, yours truly raised her hand. The worker came to my assistance when I suddenly noticed that the other customers had taken numbers and were waiting their turns. “I didn’t take a number,” I informed the man helping me. A gentleman (and I use this term in the strictest possible sense) stepped forward from the crowd and said, “You can have mine. I’ll just wait.” What unselfish thought! What chivalry!

Such examples are plentiful. I could easily carry on, but it’s not acts of kindness we need help in managing; it’s the stupid among us.

Several times today, I heard people making excuses for rude, thoughtless behavior by saying, “It’s just that time of year.” I disagree. I think stupidity is stupidity all year long, anytime, anyplace. It’s just more noticeable when the rest of us are rushing about, harried and anxious.

The grocery store was crowded, and I myself was guilty of dashing to and fro, somersaulting from aisle to aisle (that maneuver may explain my current lower back ache), leaping over freestanding, waist-high, cardboard ads in order to gather items I needed so I could hurry up and get the hell out of there. As I strolled over to the cashier, I noticed Woman #1 walk in front of a shopping cart pushed by Woman #2. #2 looked like an overinflated balloon, ready to burst any moment.

As #2 braked to a halt, #1 said very nicely,

“Excuse me,”

“Forget it. I saw you zig zagging all over the place,” #2 said loud and clear. Then as an afterthought (I mean an additional piece of nonsense) she added, “It’s just that time of year.”

Stupers readily make idiotic (as opposed to intelligent) excuses for their own ridiculous behavior. They’ve yet to learn that it’s easier to be kind and much less wearing than acting stupidly.

Thinking brings satisfaction to all.


Charitable Stupidity

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Are you familiar with the adage “if charity is worth doing, it should begin as far away from home as possible and preferably on the other side of the world where it can be combined with a little vacation time and fun?” (Excuse me while I take a breath). I sincerely hope you are not familiar with this saying. Otherwise, you’d fall into the undesirably dense category of stuper (short again for a deplorably stupid person).

My dear friend Becky, practices law. She manages to escape once per month for a week to visit her elderly father who lives eight hours away in a nursing home for veterans. As you may imagine, Becky is a generous, kindhearted person.

Becky’s older sister, Dana, also a lawyer, does not visit Dad more than once annually. Poor Dana has no time, gosh darn it. Her newfound religion requires her to take far-flung missions to spread the teachings of her faith. Last year, she traveled to China and got to see the Great Wall. And before that, a ski trip to the Swiss Alps was in order. She’s thinking of the Greek isles for next year. Although her father calls and tells her he misses her, Dana knows he understands. People who live on the other side of the earth are just as important as ailing Daddy. Actually, according to Dana, they’re more important.

Then there’s Melissa who lives ten minutes away from her grandparents. They see her at family gatherings every so often. They’d like to see more of her, but Melissa is very involved in her junior league charity work. It’s a wonderful organization that throws posh parties, proper teas and even arranges Caribbean cruises for members…when they’re not distributing cans and gathering scarves for the homeless, of course. Granny and Grandpa just aren’t as fun as Melissa’s charity group pals.

Stupers have a sort of brain fog when it comes to charity. To be meaningful, volunteer type activity for stupers must involve more than just helping others. And it’s far more interesting when aid involves people they don’t know.

If you keep your eyes and ears open (unlike stupers who have about as much awareness as a split pea), you’ll notice there are always people who need help: the older man without a cell phone who’d like to make a quick call, but isn’t allowed to use the store phone; the weary looking lady behind you in line at the market with only one or two items; or the forlorn faced person who could use a friendly smile. And for more formal charitable work, there’s the public library, local homeless shelter, the Humane Society, senior center, Boys and Girls’ Clubs…

Stop and think about what you’re doing…or not doing.


The Challenge of Stupidity

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

I avoid herds of all kinds. Sheep, cattle and stupers (short yet again, for undisguisedly stupid persons). However, there are times when joining a herd is necessary as when waiting in amusement park lines, trying to get into the ladies room

during intermission at the Hollywood Bowl, or watching the marvelous Tiger Woods at the driving range, like I did two days ago.

Every year around this time, I accompany my younger son to the Target World Golf Challenge where top professionals play. These athletes set exemplary examples of behavior; they are a pleasure to behold. And I’ve gratefully noticed the absence of stupers over the past four years that I’ve been attending…that is, until this year.

The crowd at the driving range was three deep, all standing. The first row was obviously reserved for those of Amazonian proportions as no one under six feet two inches stood there, male or female. As I pondered why this was, a petite woman, nicely dressed and in her sixties or so, came to stand next to me.

“Excuse me,” she said to the gent in front of us.

After her third “excuse me,” I noticed three things:

  1. The guy who ignored her had rooted himself to the ground, practically buried to the knees, lest some one overtake his coveted spot;
  2. The woman uttering “excuse me,” was Tiger Woods’ mom; and
  3. Her diamond earrings were the size of marshmallows.

Had I not been dazzled and mesmerized by #3, I would have willingly tackled the ignorant offender, but he finally, grudgingly turned around and gave her a dirty look while she explained,

“I just need to go to the front for a moment, and I’ll be out of your way.”

And she did just that. It was not pretty viewing the inconsiderate stuper budge a whole two inches for Mother Woods. Stupers do not understand the concept of doing a favor or behaving courteously without a direct, immediate reward.

Later that morning, my son desired a spot behind the second tee box to ensure he could properly view Tiger’s swing mechanics when it came time for Tiger to tee off. Sucker Martyr that I am for my children, I volunteered to secure a space there in advance while the rest of the herd and my son waited on Hole One.

Visitors milled about, some standing, others strolling. The temperature was in the low forties, so I decided to jog over to warm myself up. No sooner did I begin my trek when I noticed people from all around pick up their feet and follow me. Soon I was in a neck to neck race with an elderly fellow vying for the lead. He had no idea where I was headed. I considered leading my pack into the gushing stream running alongside us or even off a nearby steeply sloping cliff, just to see how far they’d go. But I’d promised my son I’d stop at Hole Two.

I slowed down and slipped away at the second tee box, while my pack continued with the elderly man leading. I spotted the fellow ten holes later, sweating profusely, heavily panting and passed out on the grass. Stupers are mortified of being left behind or missing out on important action even when they are unsure as to what the action is.

While I waited, other players came through; I suffered through inane comments like “I could hit better than that;” idiot autograph seekers would yell utter nonsense at golfers such as, “It’s for my sick cousin who’s only four years old and blind!”

To make matters worse, I needed to use the facilities. The only formal bathrooms around were portable potties which I refused to frequent. The stench alone recalled a mile high pile of cattle dung. The onslaught of stupers continued; I was so disgusted that by the time a one-legged man in a wheelchair pulled up next to me, I eyed him suspiciously, certain that his stump of a leg was fake.

Upon closer examination (I dropped my hankie to see if he could pick it up; the poor guy nearly plummeted out of his seat), I was ashamed of myself. I had to give myself a time-out and a stern lecture about controlling my temper. Being around stupers and the blatant displays of their moronic lack of decorum had sent me into a subtle, but nonetheless unbecoming, rage.

I talked myself into a calm and promised to act indifferently no matter what the stupers around me said or did. Besides one minor slip-up when one of my previous followers stopped next to me and panted loudly into my ear in an effort to discover what had happened to the group that had been running behind me, I was successful.

Tomorrow I leave for a two day trip to another golf tournament. This time my son is playing. But don’t worry, I’m ready. I will be totally unaffected by any and all stuper activity. As long as they don’t pant in my ear.
Keep thinking!


Stupidity in an Emergency

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

When you’re driving along and hear the warning siren of an approaching ambulance or emergency vehicle, this means a specific course of action must be taken. Cars should pull over and out of the way, safely. Unfortunately, sometimes this simple feat may prove overwhelming for a certain type of person. This means an unappealing possibility may be about to unfold: A stuper (short again for an unproductively stupid person) may be at large and about to make his/her presence known.

When I hear the blare of the siren, I move off to the side. My side, that is. Cars around me usually do the same, respectively. It’s heartwarming to see each driver, voluntarily and with different degrees of finesse, part the flow of traffic to allow emergency aid through.

However, once in a while, there’s that one unaware, empty headed motorist that continues right on moving until he’s practically shoved out of the way. Or there’s that other idiot driver who performs a different, though equally appalling act of singular stupidity. This latter motorist is often right behind me or a few cars back; he believes (mistakenly, of course) that he’s devised a brilliant plan to get ahead. If not in life, at least in traffic.

Once the emergency vehicle is gone, courtesy dictates that each car retake its original spot as before. However, opportunistic stupers perceive the sequence of events differently. They see it as a time to get ahead. Before the back lights of the ambulance are within his sight, the stuper decides to overtake all the suckers waiting patiently on the side in front of him, thereby moving up to the head of the pack. This means that conscientious drivers who are attempting to merge back in, must suddenly swerve to the side to avoid the stuper who has practically locked lips with the ambulance’s rear bumper.

Not anymore.

I suggest investing in a smoke grenade (retailing for around $11.95) that emits a thirty second miniature cumulus type cloud making it a handy companion for putting a halt to this type of vehicular stupidity. It comes in five appealing shades: white, red, yellow, green or blue. All an alert driver needs to do is keep watch on the vehicles behind him. Should said driver spot an overeager stuper, he may toss the smoke grenade out his window. And poof! The stuper’s misdirected ambition comes to an abrupt halt.

Just think!


Stupidity Attempts Conversation During Dinner

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Ah! What an enormous pleasure it is to feast on a sumptuous meal in excellent company. Unfortunately, nothing can deflate a delectable dining experience faster than doleful, depressing subject matter, i.e., when a stuper (that’s right; short again for an egregiously stupid person) spills the measly contents of its meager mind on the table. The unintelligent excel in spreading rubbish, diminishing all flavor and appetite. Allow me to demonstrate:

I attended a dinner party and shared a table with eight wonderful family members. We discussed our children, the weather, pets, books we’ve skimmed, recipes we’ve altered and social encounters we wished we could have skimmed or altered.

In addition to the eight pleasing relations, there sat two seasoned, industrious and steadfast stupers among us: Iris (who’s been studying the Bible for over three decades and has made, I ‘m afraid, not a shred of progress), and Gil, a fifty-three-year old bachelor/trust fund recipient/atheist.

My cousin, Scott, discussed filming his surfing documentary when he unintentionally grabbed the ears of the hollow headed:

Scott: I filmed these huge waves in Pebble Beach last week and…

Gil: I heard about the surfer that got killed there on Tuesday. Is that when you were there?

Scott: Oh yes, that…

Iris: Someone was killed? (She poked her nose in, interrupting herself while in mid conversation with my aunt).

Gil (to Scott): Did you know him?

Scott: I was there because the waves were really high…

Iris: Did you see the body?

Gil: You think you could have saved him?

Iris: How did it make you feel?

Scott: Well…

Iris: Did you get it on film?

Scott: I didn’t even know anything happened ’til much later.

Iris: You can sell the film to a TV station.

Scott caught my eye.

Me: It’s not right to profit that way.

Scott: No, I don’t think so either.

I, stupidity specialist that I humbly am, had intuitively tuned out the beginning of this conversation until the very end when I heard Iris suggest selling the footage. Then I had to put my foot down. Unfortunately for Iris, I was wearing four-inch heels (the kind that needs to be sharpened with a file now and then), and she wore rubbery sandals. Thankfully, paramedics were not necessary.

Meal times, especially at festive affairs, should be mirthful, relaxing occasions. Conversations should lean toward the lightweight and harmonious.

There are three ways to handle those who wish to discuss distressing news at the dinner table:

  1. gently steer the conversation back to a different, more palatable topic;
  2. scold the stuper for his/her attempt at spoiling everyone’s appetite; or
  3. get up from your seat with your filled beverage glass, walk over to the stuper and pour out the liquid over the stuper’s head..accidentally, of course.

Common sense is not so common ~ Voltaire

Think for yourself.


Prying Stupidity

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

The most obvious means of dodging the distress stemming from encounters with stupers (short yet again, for brazenly stupid persons) is to stay at home, alone, locking all means of entry and treating the phone like a rabid raccoon. Alas, this is as possible as boarding the Titanic.

During the holiday season, there’s a surge in brushes with stupers, especially when attending soirĂ©es, and positively if relatives of the seldom seen variety are present. These are the ones who, though infrequent visitors, expect to be regarded as priests in the confessional. They want to hear all. Consequently, I’m offering a quick refresher course on ways to maintain sanity when asked Questions from Hell. Of course, a sign may be worn around the neck, which reads: Do Not Disturb. But it’s unlikely, no, improbable, that stupers would get the message.

A close cousin of mine, Alice, recently got a divorce. Hence, she avoided all family gatherings in order to bypass an inquest by relatives. Queries were directed to me instead.

Stuper: Why did Alice and Ted break up?

Me: I don’t know.

When a stuper asks a question that is none of her business and/or one you do not wish to discuss, it’s okay to play the part of a stuper yourself. Merely look wide-eyed and slowly trail the end of your response upwards two or three octaves; then bring it suddenly back down at the last possible second, while slightly shaking your head in obvious wonder. The different tones along with the head motion can cause a slightly hypnotic effect on the stuper, rendering them (hopefully) speechless. During this interval, tiptoe to safety.

Stuper: How much does your husband make?

Me: Oh that reminds me. My kids’ 4-H club is having a See’s Candy fundraiser. How many boxes would you like to buy?

This defense response somewhat resembles an eye for an eye. Should a stuper put you on the spot, don’t be afraid to do the same to them. That should keep them from approaching you for awhile (at least twelve-fifteen minutes).

Stuper: How come you’re not practicing law anymore? (I can never escape a function without being subjected to this weary query.)

Me: I’ve become really good at borrowing money from family members and friends to keep me afloat. Can you loan me ten grand?

Use this last one in an emergency. Attempting to borrow money works like a charm for getting rid of a stuper in a hurry.

I don’t mind questions. But those of a personal or intimate nature should come only from close, loved ones. Not sporadic, stuper relatives/acquaintances.

You can’t teach a person to think. But you can find ways to distract them during probing questioning without being rude, using the above techniques.

If none of the tips for deflecting relentless prying suits your style, you might choose a simpler response: “I’ll get back to you on that later.” This provides a polite and speedy escape.

Think first, last and always!


Stupidity Behind the Toothpick

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Please do not think for a moment, dear readers, that I purposefully set out on a daily mission, to root out stupers (short for ruefully stupid persons). I do not turn over rocks hunting for them; I don’t expect to find them behind steering wheels (at least not on a regular basis) or operating cash registers in large discount chain stores. Invariably, they seem to find me. I may just be a stuper-magnet.

That brings me to the case of the rollicking toothpick. This common cleaning utensil for the teeth is generally of the plain, natural wood variety, typically purchased in bulk for a nominal sum. However, the toothpick I refer to is found outside the box and far away from its intended place of utilization: in privacy. This sharp, Lilliputian, spear-like item is often found jutting out of the mouth of a stuper, sometimes merely dangling, other times somersaulting, devising all kinds of ways to draw attention to itself and the hollow head behind it.

Why do stupers brandish toothpicks while pumping gas, shopping in the grocery store, strolling on the sidewalk and so on? Is it because:

  1. It’s a subtle symbol of masculine virility (now part of many Swiss army knives);
  2. It represents daring and adventure; a plucky spirit. Rumor has it that many a celebrity feels naked without that little piece of wood between his/her lips;
  3. In case of emergency teeth cleaning;
  4. They forgot to remove it once done with cleaning.

Any one of the foregoing can apply, depending on the stuper.

According to the Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham, a toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans. More than 8,800 people injure themselves annually on the common toothpick. I can’t begin to imagine the dangers of giving a stuper a toothpick.

Please, if any stupers are out there, reading this, (and remember I am not referring to any of my 3.5 readers), think twice (or at least once) before orally exhibiting that little bayonet. Use it for cleaning, then please discard.

Think before and during toothpick use.


Shortcut to Stupidity

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

I practically crash-landed into a veritable hotbed of stupidity the other day when I visited Costco, the discount membership warehouse club superstore. For over an hour, I was subjected to one stuper (short for an unquestionably stupid person), after another.

It started with the Chanel sunglasses. My sister wished to discard a pair she’d bought; one lens was scratched. Who better to donate them to, but me? A hand-me-up, if you will, since I am the older sibling. I thought they’d be a perfect pair to remake into prescription shades.

My actual prescription had just lapsed, but since my vision has remained unchanged for several decades, I figured a full-blown examination was unnecessary. Hence, I took the shortcut to Costco’s optometry center. I was hoping it was the sort of place where you enter, pass out for a few seconds, then suddenly come to, holding a pair of glasses, ready to go. If only.

A sorry sight greeted me when I first laid eyes on the receptionist. One of her arms lay outstretched on the desk, cushioning an ear; in fact, supporting her whole head which rested sideways on the arm. Her other hand drew pictures of skulls, daisies and a remarkable likeness of Walter Cronkite on paper spread before her. As you may guess, dear readers, she didn’t budge when I entered.

Another employee, ignoring the languid one, soon arrived to help me. Would that I could say this one was better.

“Hen I scratch ooh?” she said, cheerfully.

Now my hearing is still quite good despite my advancing years. Was this worker speaking a different language? No. And it wasn’t any type of discount store discourse either. Instead of facing me when she spoke, she stuck her head in a nearby cardboard box and then uttered her query.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

Pulling her head from the box, she then repeated, “Can I help you?”

I told her what I needed, and she moved me to a section a few feet away and said,

“Say ow.”

This time when she spoke, she turned her back to me and peered beneath a chair as if searching for a note taped underneath.

“What?” I wondered.

She then straightened up and repeated, “Sit down.”

There were three machines used to test my eyes. Each time she wanted me to switch to a new machine, she sprouted a muffled directive before freeing her mouth to speak clearly (upon my request).

“Whoosh a butt head.” (Push the button) “Who owe her.” (Move over), and so forth. There always seemed to be a box, folder or table for her to press her lips against when she spoke. I’d swear I was part of a secret government experiment monitoring toleration levels of those who must deal with stupers.

Finally, it was my turn to see the doctor. I don’t do well with people trying to poke me in the eye. Or those bent on stretching the skin on my face. And so it was when the optometrist insisted I try a pair of new contacts that were far superior to the pair I wore. He tried to insert a lens in my eye while pulling down the skin below it so low, I was certain the roots of my upper molars were showing. I stood up.

“May I do it myself? I’m not used to someone else inserting the lens,” I informed him.

Handing it over to me, he then pouted during the rest of the exam.

At long last, my torture session in order to lay claim to a pair of prescription Chanel sunglasses was nearly over. All I had to do was get past the woman who took the order for the glasses.

As I sat behind the counter, I noticed I had a little problem. I had to pick up my younger son in ten minutes, and this employee, Stacy, was deeply engrossed in eavesdropping on a conversation in Spanish occurring next to her.

“Do you speak Spanish?” I asked in order to return her attention to me.

“No,” Stacy responded and continued to stare, mouth open, at the Spanish speakers. For heaven’s sake, this is California. Everyone speaks Spanish.

“So what does the computer screen say about me?” I asked.

Once again I endeavored to regain her attention.

And so it went for the next ten minutes. Then I was free.

When one is stuck in the hub of stupidity, one must keep one’s focus on the reason for being there: that crisp and tasty carrot dangling at the end of the stick. Those sunglasses looked pretty darn good on me.

Thinking is worthwhile.

What is the hardest task in the world? To think. ~ Emerson