I Compare Stupidity to Walking Pneumonia

I’d been rummaging through my e-mails and noticed a common, slightly hysterical query: “What if I’m a stuper (that’s right; short again for an incontestably stupid person) and don’t know it?” Here are two samples:

Dear Ms. Garson:

…yesterday during my a.m. shower, I suddenly couldn’t remember if I’d washed my hair. My hair falls down to my waist (I usually braid it) so it’s not easy to miss. You’ve heard of “The Lost Weekend?” Well, I lost four minutes and no alcohol or illegal substance was involved. I completely blanked out. Would you call me a stuper?

Herbert C.

Hi Keli!

…I was driving in the slow lane of the freeway. No cars in front or behind me. Without warning, I wandered into the next lane. Again, no vehicles were in front of me, but I’d cut off a car coming up from behind, for no good reason! I don’t even know why I changed lanes. It just happened! Is there a Stupers Anonymous? I’ve never done anything like this before! Am I a stuper?

Embarrassed in Portland

Isolated or infrequent incidents of stupidity are allowable such as the ones illustrated above. Both Herb and Embarrassed became aware of their guffaws. I think it’s safe to assume that neither will readily commit such inattentive acts again. It’s perfectly okay to be absent-minded now and then.

Stupers are classified as such because of unwelcome, redundant stupidity. They lack awareness most of the time. Case in point: My sixty-five-year-old Aunt Iris suffers from a complete inability to make small talk. Instead of “How are the kids?” or “How’s the new home?” she asks, “Did you get a nose-job?” or “How did you lose your baby?” I’m not even certain I’ve ever heard her say, “Hello,” before she delivers these uncompanionable greetings.

Stupidity is an ongoing malady that is not formally recognized by the medical profession (or any profession), though I believe it could be. I will now compare it to walking pneumonia, a recognized and treatable illness. The latter is a medical condition in which the patient does not have to be bedridden or hospitalized (just like stupidity). Unlike normal pneumonia, a walking pneumonia patient can move around even when he/she is suffering from the disease (just like stupidity). Almost 2 million people in the United States suffer from walking pneumonia every year (again, just like stupidity).

Although walking pneumonia does not require bed rest, it still can be very annoying and severe (almost like stupidity; stupidity does not irritate the stuper, whereas walking pneumonia annoys the patient). Worst of all, walking pneumonia is contagious. It spreads from a patient to healthy person if a healthy person stays in contact with the patient for too long a time (sound familiar?).

Like walking pneumonia, stupidity can get complicated if given improper attention. An outbreak of such pneumonia can be controlled if the patient covers his/her mouth and nose with a mask till cured. Wouldn’t it be lovely if stupers would wear masks over their mouths, thereby muffling any semblance of unnecessary and unpleasing chatter? It would also enable the rest of us to more easily recognize and avoid the stupid among us.

Think first, last and always!



9 Responses to “I Compare Stupidity to Walking Pneumonia”

  1. Agnes Mildew says:

    Very well researched Keli. Should you receive more hysterical mails concerning absent-minded gaffs, I would recommend that your correspondents tune in to Terry Wogan’s show on BBC Radio 2. The ‘Senior Moments’ described on there will give succour to all concerned.

  2. Keli says:

    Thank you, Agnes. I think I’ll create a boiler plate type response directing my worried correspondents to the Terry Wogan show.

  3. Reilly says:

    When I was in college I got walking pneumonia. I have to agree with you – stupidity is worse because it affects a whole lot more people.

  4. Angie says:

    Ahhh, but stupidity can be contagious just like walking pneumonia. Their acts of persistent stupidity very effectively disrupt the lives of non-stupers, directly or indirectly, therefore spreading the effects of their malady to the rest of the population.

  5. Keli says:

    Stupidity shows no mercy, does it?
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for the visit!

  6. i second the mask proposal. happy new year!

  7. Keli says:

    And a Happy New Year to you!

  8. Mary says:

    At least if you have pneumonia there is a cure. Not so for the other malady, and it is often undected by the infected.

  9. dawn says:

    I think I’m in serious danger of contagious stupidity. If the stuper doesn’t wear a mask… should I????

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