Archive for May, 2008

Stupidity of the Masses

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

I don’t live in a Communist-bloc, totalitarian country. Nor do I reside on an alien planet where insignificant citizens stand in endless lines, secretly fearing the possibility of never being seen or heard from again. Yet I’m made to feel this way every time I shop at my local, factory-quality super market.

Waiting in wretched lines to make a purchase is a given, particularly on weekends. This makes it easy to lull weary shoppers into thinking that a huge favor is granted in the form of the self-checkout lines.

Only one employee (a.k.a., the self-checkout police) oversees four self-checkout centers. Why pay for additional workers when the customers can do the labor themselves? Much of the corporate world assumes, in fact, counts on, mass stupidity. They’re mostly right since studies show that three of every four people emerged from a stuper (conjugated, yet again, to form the definition of an intolerably stupid person) mold.

I entered said market to buy four bottles of gallon size, distilled water (for my many stuper experiments). I waited in a short line at the self-checkout, leering at peppy Saturday shoppers, while nursing a constant suspicion that I was being ripped-off. For entertainment, I elbowed the over eager guy behind me smack in the ribs to gently remind him that a shoulder is not a chin rest; he was that close. Panting in my ear is only allowed with my permission.

It’s my turn. The too small, talking screen becomes somewhat confused after I skip bagging for the third time. It repeats, “Please wait for assistance,” over and over again. Assistance does not arrive until I frantically flail my arms over my head in a manner befitting one in the middle of a highway lane, desperately attempting to stop a fast approaching big rig. The self-checkout police is in the midst of an animated conversation with a customer and finally notices me after I start climbing atop the self checkout counter a la King Kong and the Empire State Building.

Why do I do this to myself? Because my bank is conveniently located within this supermarket, in full view, fishbowl style, of all who traverse the dull, vinyl floors, thereby offsetting my bank robber paranoia and offering me the comfort and security of knowing that no hardened desperadoes would dare attempt commit a felony under ever present public scrutiny. Since I am a pragmatist, I shop after banking; I’m there anyway. But it doesn’t mean I like it.

I am finally assisted. I scan all four bottles, prepare to depart, only to discover, that I was charged for five items instead of four.

“Excuse me, ” I interrupt the self-checkout police to tell her of my plight.

“I can’t help you, ” she assures me. “You have to go to Customer Service.”

She points a chubby finger towards a counter with a line so long, some shoppers sit in folding chairs, playing tic-tac-toe.

I saw my options as threefold:

  • crumble like a vanilla wafer;
  • verbally express my displeasure as a way to hopefully create change; or
  • take control of the situation myself.

I realized #1 was not my style. #2 would require a microphone and a podium, but #3 was doable. I was charged for five bottles of water, and by God, I was going to get five bottles of water! I picked up another bottle and left.

I no longer shop at this super store, limiting myself only to the banking services housed within. I instead frequent a place where the owner knows my face, if not my name, and the workers appear happy to see me, linking their arms through mine, skipping down aisles and explaining the daily specials. It's a place where people are expected to think and do.

Think for yourself or others will do it for you.


Stupidity of the Telemarketer Variety

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I’m surprised I haven’t been asked to donate my telephone to the Museum of Local Artifacts. It’s hardly antiquated, but it lacks a vital, modern day feature that’s become a staple of most American households: Caller ID.

I do not cherish the element of surprise. It’s just that our main callers at home are close friends and relatives. Not the stuper (short, as you know, for a distinctively stupid person) variety, but people to whom we’ve willingly provided our number. Then there are the others, consisting of (and this is what makes caller ID priceless) telemarketers of the most terrifyingly annoying kind.

In the beginning, I was tolerant, patient, even mildly pleasant to such intrusive, irritating tele-terrorists. Then things changed.

I began receiving a pre-recorded message advising me, in tones reserved for the IRS and the Pentagon, that this was my final chance to lower the interest rate on my credit card. The words “final” and “last chance” were threateningly repeated. I received this same message several times over the next six months. Then early one morning, at the pre, pre-dawn hour of 1:37 am, the telephone rang, causing my heart to pound with great ferocity. I expected the worst. I groggily picked up the phone only to hear the same damn pre-recorded message. I hung up. Did someone forget to shut off the freaking auto-dial?

I tracked down that caller and made sure they didn’t call again, by using a few choice words. But thereafter, I became intolerant, belligerent…whenever the phone rang, I found myself hunching my shoulders so that my tee shirt ripped vertically down my back as it rapidly shrunk in size. My skin turned an unappealing shade of asparagus green and my usually shiny locks became dry and brittle.

Here’s an actual transcript (I swear these were the callous caller’s exact words) from my communication with yet another dreaded telemarketer:

Me: Hello?

TM: Ms. Kimmy Carson? (Never, never have they gotten my name right) This is Toby Elias calling on behalf of Blind and Disabled Firefighters who want to build a children’s hospital…

Me: Please. Remove. Me. From. Your List. Now!

TM: Don’t you care about burnt children?

Me: (hollering) No!

TM: I will only be too HAPPY to remove some one like YOU from our list.

America is the land of the free and home of the brave, but did you know it’s also the place where there’s enough telemarketing power to place 560 calls per second? I’ve briefly considered moving to Germany where telemarketing is illegal and businesses may not call on customers without prior consent.

I treated these agents of telephone torment as Class A stupers… until I read an article profiling the life of a random telemarketer. A sensitive chord resounded from somewhere deep, really deep, inside of me. This caller was no stuper. He suffered from Down’s Syndrome and was unable to maintain any other kind of job. Moreover, calling people on the phone and getting people to talk to him made him very happy whether they sent money or not. In fact, he looked forward to doing his job.

This may well have been telemarketing propaganda and me all the more a sucker for falling for it, but still. How difficult was it for me to politely say, “No, thank you,” simultaneously promoting peace and tranquility and not permitting stupidity into my life? Or how about not answering the phone and waiting to find out whom was calling?

This very morning, I received a typical telemarketer call. Two seconds of dead silence, then:

“This is Destiny Adams. I’m calling on behalf of Verizon,” and so on, in the most robotic, monotone, unhappy of voices. I heard between her words and recognized a reluctant, miserable marketer who likely felt enslaved in her job and who’d rather be anywhere than where she was.

I listened and said as kindly as I could muster, “No, thank you,” and was none the worse for it.

Registering on the National Do-Not-Call Registry did me about as much good as asking my dog to answer the phone. Telemarketers still call, only a little less. I rely solely on courtesy when I answer the phone. I do sometimes say my “No, thanks” a little more abruptly than I should, but it’s better than losing my sanity.

Keep thinking.


Malodorous Stupidity

Monday, May 26th, 2008

There are those who intentionally transform themselves into human skunks subtly spraying all who cross their path with their malodorous scent. I refer to stupers (short, yet again, for uncommonly stupid persons) who drench, no submerge, themselves in vats of perfume, in my case, at six am on the local municipal golf course.

I caddied for Son this weekend in an adult-junior golf tournament. By caddie, I don’t mean I carried his golf bag whose weight equaled a Prius with a full tank of gas or that I gave sound golf advice (I’m afraid I only offer the unsound variety), but rather dutifully provided encouragement and support.

As I stood over the putting green at 6:18 am, I was suddenly overcome by an overwhelming odor; a repelling mix recalling that of shoe polish, tea tree oil and Handy Wipes. Somewhere along the way, the perfume stopped being a scent and became a stench. I never longed so profoundly for fresh air as I did that morning.

I followed the fumes and found the source: a thirty-something-year-old woman (G) sitting in a golf cart accompanying her boyfriend (B) who played in the tournament. As I got closer, my eyes began to water, my nostrils burned and my nose wrinkled. Don’t get me wrong. There were positives. One whiff wiped out an entire red ant colony on the fifth tee box. And I briefly considered marketing the stuff to revive victims of fainting spells.

Hours later and I could still smell it on my person. The only way to avoid it was to stand far, far away and upwind.

Once during the round, with nary a breeze in sight, I stood at a distance of one hundred yards from the offender and still, the odor found me or I found it; hard to tell which.

I coughed and observed G, trying to understand the need for such serious soaking. She appeared pleasant enough. Then B interrupted my pondering. I notice he bore a startling resemblance to Julius Caesar, without the toga. If B climbed atop a large rock and started spewing, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” no one would think twice. Particularly if he wore the toga and sported a garland of olive leaves around his head.

Then I understood. B had a roving eye (as Caesars are wont to do). While G sat in the cart, B swiveled his head back like a bird of prey to stare at passing female joggers in shorts. All other golfers golfed. B gawked. Obviously, G’s perfume deluge was her way of calling attention to herself and of reminding B (and all others) of her presence.

Back to perfume and cologne. Both should be worn as a scent; mild enough to be appreciated only by those up close and personal.

For those of us unwillingly subjected to fumes of the oxygen-depriving nature, we must step away until we smell it no longer. Preferably move to a grove of trees or green bushes to restore the lost oxygen. Also, making an effort to understand the source of the odor can lessen its impact, as it did for me.

Think before. Speak and act later.


Stupid Habits Are Made to be Broken

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Every other month or so, I pick a messy kitchen drawer and clean it out. Okay, maybe it’s every six months to a year or when it becomes so crammed that letters and extra wall calendars start sneaking out the back end and relocating into lower level drawers that offer more breathing space.

Don’t get me wrong. These are not cutlery drawers or those housing kitchen towels or spices. These are the ones specifically set aside for loose AA batteries, notes to myself covering all subjects from reminding Son to return a library book to writing down snippets of great lines I’ve snatched from eighties’ sitcoms, as well as renegade paper clips, rubber bands and anything else without a proper resting place. I believe these items may be of future use, however indeterminate. I shove them in the drawer so I can think about them later.

Why am I sharing this with you? To embarrass myself into stopping this stupid little habit of cramming nonsensical items into drawers that otherwise could appear tidy.

I am also partial to clutter. However, I pile my clutter knee-high, hoping these little towers of chaos will give off the impression of neat, carefully planned disorder.

I believe that these commonplace habits are not exclusive to stupers (short once again, for unavoidably stupid persons). And that they can easily be broken, provided there’s a willing participant.

Ways to break unruly habits:

  1. Acknowledge the habit, realizing that if it didn’t exist, you’d be one step closer to taking control over your life;
  2. Convince yourself that change is good. Ask: after the clutter is gone, will I honestly miss it? Or will I appreciate the fact that spiders and earwigs no longer have a multitude of hiding places inside my home?
  3. Visualize what your life would be like without the habit. For instance, I could open a drawer and actually find a pen when I needed to write down a phone number instead of frantically dashing about searching for a long lost writing utensil. And when guests come over and open a drawer in hopes of finding a notepad, they actually will. They shouldn’t fear misplacing a hand when searching;
  4. Join a support group or elicit the support of loved ones. Surround yourself by others who’ve successfully broken habits; and
  5. Pay attention. Know your triggers. Most of our habits come about when we’re not thinking clearly. I reach out to chocolate chip walnut cookies when my mind is cloudy with stress or otherwise preoccupied. And I don’t mean one or two morsels. A muddled mind also triggers my robotic penchant for picking up unharnessed objects and dropping them in random drawers.

Thinking is something we all have at our disposal. Use it or lose it.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle


Time and Stupidity

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

For years, scientists have been grappling with the concept of time. They dream of harnessing this elusive, mysterious phenomenon in order to perform heretofore unimagined wonders. Stupers (short for chronically stupid persons) often manage to stop time altogether.

Take for instance, Fred’s simple excursion into a multi-story parking structure. He arrived early, knowing spaces would be plentiful. Fred entered the structure and promptly came to an abrupt halt. Another car, stopped dead center, awaited the departure of a parked vehicle. From Fred’s vantage point, he spotted numerous, lonely, vacant spots, just around the corner. Undoubtedly, they existed throughout the structure.

Meanwhile, the driver of the car in front of Fred, brushed her hair and applied mascara while she rocked out with Avril Lavigne. And the parked car that she awaited? Well, that driver had slipped into a coma.

As the clock ticked, a line of cars appeared behind Fred. Fred tooted his horn. No reaction from either stuper. Then he honked it. Motorists behind him chimed in to show their support. No reaction. When Fred rolled down his window, about to scream like a banshee, the parked car driver must have awoken from his reverie. He started his engine and slowly lumbered out. Finally, Fred was free to drive up and away and choose from hundreds of available spaces in the structure.

What should Fred have done to offset the immense annoyance and irritation he felt being stuck behind persons of such obviously impoverished intellects? He should have reached behind his seat, pulled a few levers and convinced himself that he didn’t lack patience, had plenty of time, focused on something he really desired in life, then clicked his heels together three times and said, “There’s no way stupers can get to me.”


When I went to the post office to send a package, I considered myself exceedingly fortunate; there was only one person in line in front of me.

When it was my turn, the postal worker seemed pleasant and helpful. Visions of finishing my business in less than two minutes danced in my head. That was before the bundt cake incident.

Just after my package was weighed, the employee reached behind her to get a stamp when time froze for all present. Why? Because the worker assisting me stopped to chat with another employee who’d just arrived, and who suffered from an unnatural desire to describe, in abundant detail, the bundt cake she’d baked the night before. The kind of detail normally utilized to describe a science experiment to the professors in the physics department of MIT.

To recapture the attention I required, I attempted to exude enough personal warmth to ignite a small campfire; I smiled, threw back my head and laughed in wild abandon. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work, although the rest of the people waiting in line were quite amused. I was just about to yell, “Hey!” in a volume that would surely prove once and for all that I was a gifted yeller, when the worker turned back to me and gave me my stamp. Next time, I’ll just click my heels together and say, “There’s no place like home,” so before I know it, I will be home.

Remember, focus on your good so your good will grow. If you focus on stupidity, well, you know what’ll happen.

Keep thinking.


Philandering Plus Nosy Stupidity

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

This weekend, I attended a “Welcome Home” party for one of my physician cousins who’d volunteered his medical services in Papua New Guinea over the past year. Many of my relatives were present, including the meager minded members who qualify as stupers (short for audaciously stupid persons). I’d like to introduce two of them to you so you may see for your intelligent selves:

Meet Uncle Carl. He was married for the past forty years to Aunt Marilyn. A pretty long time, don’t you think? So long that many of us can barely recall which of the two is the true blood relation. It’s actually Carl, who’s had several flings during the marriage, the last of which caused Marilyn to finally file for divorce. This infuriated Carl who believed life was good and should go on in the manner to which he was accustomed.

Consequently, he demanded Marilyn be blackballed from all family gatherings. This did not take place.

Poor Uncle Carl. He’s been so misunderstood. So what if he had no self-control or an acute case of wanderlust (the kind that had nothing to do with travel)? He always returned home afterwards. It was all Marilyn’s fault. She should have been more understanding. Besides, Carl liked to point out, how did he know that she was faithful to him? Maybe, just maybe, while he was fooling around, so was she.

Stupers are adept at blaming others for their own incompetent, often hurtful actions. Besides, for Carl, the devil made him do it.

Meet nosy Aunt Nellie. Her motto is, “Your business is my business.” She asked me to sit next to her so she could grill talk to me. Thanks to Aunt Nellie and her ilk, I’ve learned to evade annoying questions.

Nellie – “Why doesn’t your son apply to a college on the East Coast?”

Me – “Why would he?”

Nellie – “What are you going to do with yourself now that your kids are almost all grown up?”

(Note to readers: I hate this question. It’s often asked by those persons, such as Nellie, who I hardly ever see and barely know, and who have no real interest in me. I don’t want to share any personal information with this sort. Yet, if I don’t provide an answer, I’m invariably given a lecture about my foolishness in walking away from a legal career. So I try to provide a reply to keep the idle mind occupied and then promptly escape).

Me – “I think I’ll raise cattle or maybe even grow cotton.” (About as likely as my becoming an animated mannequin in the Pirates of the Caribbean Disney ride). “Excuse me, please.”

And I thankfully exit.

As I’ve explained in earlier posts, a stuper will focus on others to avoid focusing on a self that’s not in proper working order. Authentic family members, who engage in thought, treat each other well and are happy for others whether they desire to become astronauts or scarecrows.

Stupers should be avoided whenever possible. And if not possible, as in the case of relative stupidity, make the forced interaction brief and maintain your composure. Don’t allow them to bring out the worst in you. Bring along the popcorn, relax, and be prepared to be entertained.

Choose to think.


Traveling Stupidity or Stupidity Does Not Make a Good Eyewitness

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

It was pointed out to me that I seem to have a flair for finding stupidity wherever I go. It’s true. I’m always on the lookout for stupers (short, once more, for fundamentally stupid persons), but I do it for the sole purpose of assisting others, as well as myself, to avoid the commonplace annoyance and often overwhelming irritation resulting from inane encounters. After all, many illnesses and mental disorders are, I believe, an offshoot of persistent, unwelcome contact with complete and utter idiots. I sincerely hope I am helpful to my dear readers.

Over the past few days, the family and I traveled to Palm Springs as Son participated in a junior golf tournament. The hotel itself was wonderful, but the food….Lord have mercy!

Meals are important to me. Yes, I am demanding. I have this irrational desire that my food taste good, and that it meet certain specifications. Namely, to be cooked, if it’s not a fruit or vegetable or an entree that’s meant to be consumed raw. Hello? Do I look like a large, carnivores jungle cat to you? Trust me, I don’t.

I like my burgers, medium to medium-well done. Same with my steak. And I said exactly that to our server. Very courteously, of course. Here’s what I got:

My mother made the mistake of ordering a plain, old medium cooked steak.

Her order practically ambled across the table. She had it sent back to the kitchen three times. Finally, it came back looking like this:

When she complained to the server, the server said, “I stood by the chef while he cooked it.”

Stupers do not make reliable eyewitnesses.

Alas, both the cook and each one of our servers were part of an intricate plot to serve up the worst food imaginable and contrary to the customers’ orders. Maybe they were celebrating “Opposite Day,” part of some strange stuper ritual, yet to be made public.

We quietly made our grievances known to the kindly hotel staff who eyed us sympathetically, but without remorse.

On the way back home, I stopped at a bakery for a loaf of bread. Being in a hurry, I forgot to ask the person assisting me to slice the loaf before handing it to me. When I did so, she looked at me as if I’d insisted she set the place on fire.

“You didn’t ask to have it sliced,” she responded testily.

“Yes, I know,” I replied. “Would you please slice it now?”

While I waited for her to slice the freaking bread, and watched her huff and puff over it, I remembered something. Please humor me, as I wax philosophical-like. I recalled an ancient parable about an elderly monk who slowly made his way along a dirt road. Suddenly a large man, in a huge hurry, pushed past the monk and knocked the old man down as he raced by, without a glance back. As a younger monk helped the elder one up, the old monk shouted after the man, “May you be happy all the days of your life!”

The young monk said, “What are you saying? Didn’t you see what he just did to you?”

The older monk replied, “Do you think he’d have done that if he’d been happy?”

Which brings me to my question of the day: do you think stupers are happy? I say true happiness comes from helping others, nurturing a grateful heart and using the enormous power of thought and consideration, all of which surpass stupers’ capabilities.

I ignored the rudeness of the miserable bakery worker, realizing unhappiness created her attitude. Once again, stupers serve as fine examples of how not to behave.

Think first, last and always.


Part 2 of “The True Meaning of No Trespassing”

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Be back shortly with a new episode – “Traveling Stupidity” (what else?). Now for the conclusion of last time’s story:

Back to my last question from Part 1: why open the front door when I know that there are iron-tongued sermonizers (no, I did not make up that word) on the other side? Those of you who are thinking that I’d be better off ignoring them are absolutely right. I could have ignored them. But I did not want to live a life of fear, avoidance or annoyance, for that matter.

I resided in a neighborhood. I opened the door to girl scouts and school kids selling candy. If a neighbor wanted to stop by for a chat, I was game. However, I did not want to be held hostage by those who insisted I was going to Hell if I did not agree with their tilted doctrine.

The question here is not, “Must all people think alike?” That question is rhetorical. The real question is, “Must all people think?” Yes! Unless a person has harnessed his or her power of intuition to the degree of having a workable sixth sense, we all must think.

Imagine for a moment, a world where everyone exercised thought before speaking or acting. Kindly, meaningful thought. Then the sign, “No trespassing” would actually have significance. It would make sense. Instead of opening a closed gate just to drive to a stranger’s home to tell them that the world is coming to an end, that there is only one true religion and that, unless I join up, I’m going to be obliterated at Armageddon, perhaps a proselytizer could take a different approach. They could leave their lighthearted (I couldn’t resist) pamphlets for me to read at my leisure with a note thanking me for my time and consideration. Then I might actually read and maybe even learn something.

My intent is not to belittle anyone’s religion. As stated in Part 1, I believe religion can provide a tremendous sense of comfort. It’s the aggressiveness associated with some faiths that I find needlessly offensive.

I responded fiercely to the gatecrashers because they took me by surprise, and I regressed to my old, intolerant self. Yes, even stupidity specialists have relapses. Once I stopped to assess the situation, I realized that I could have handled it in a positive manner.

Going door-to-door is a necessary prerequisite to living life for some people, however disagreeable I might find it. My resistance only made me upset. The periodic intrusion is acceptable; I needed to use a more compassionate reaction: to smile and say, “No, thank you.” This way we all live happily ever after, and stupidity slinks quietly away.



The True Meaning of “No Trespassing” to the Stupid Mind

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I’ve been summoned to leave my post to study stupidity in sand and surf studded Southern California with sons and spouse, and to scrutinize the social significance of stupers (I really just wanted to test my powers of alliteration). Actually, I’m away for the next few days and leave you with a little something from the archives on religious stupidity:

Wouldn’t you agree that religion, spirituality, and a belief in the Divine can provide wondrous contentment? Religion has the potential to fortify the soul…and hopefully, the mind.

I believe spirituality is a private matter, to be discussed in a proper venue where one is voluntarily present or among friends who have chosen to engage in a conversation of a religious nature. My front doorstep does not constitute a proper venue. Never-before-seen people do not constitute friends.

Anytime anyone aggressively promotes their religion while invading the privacy of another, it’s highly probable that sheer stupidity is at work.

Last week, I was on an important phone call in my home, minding my own business. It was one of those glorious mornings, where I found myself alone for a few hours to do as I pleased; my husband and kids were away.

Some background on my home: my driveway has a gate which is closed. Said driveway is just under 200 feet long and wraps around my house. You cannot see the house from the street. I live in a community of 52 homes; the entrance sports a large sign stating, “No trespassing. Must have owner’s approval.” What exactly does “No Trespassing” mean?

My two dogs began to bark furiously. As I sat in my office, I saw a BMW SUV drive completely around my house and park somewhere near the front door. I figured a neighbor had an emergency of some kind. Placing my caller on hold, I stepped outside. Two people waited in the car while a woman stood next to the vehicle, held at bay by my extremely intelligent, nine-month-old German Shepherd, Barbie. Dog #2 had found the visitors boring and took a nap.

“The other dog is fine, but I don’t know about this one,” were her first words (the woman’s words, not Barbie’s).

No attempt to identify herself, explain why she needed to trespass or that she was in fact, a dreaded religious proselytizer. I pointed to the gate and said in my best Darth Vader voice, “GO!”

Forget about the fact that Barbie could have bitten her (if she was that type of dog, which she’s not) or that, for all these trespassers knew, I was waiting with a sawed-off shotgun. No one wants to be accosted in their home. How about that “No trespassing” sign? Were these religious intruders illiterate, foreign or blind? No, they just thought…whoops! No thought. Therein lies the problem. The sign meant something to the reasoning mind. The meager mind just saw a blank sign.

My one word sent them scuttling away so fast, they completely forgot to leave me a ubiquitous “End of the World” pamphlet. That was a first. In the past, these unannounced, headache-inducing-drop-bys truly disturbed my sense of equilibrium.

When I lived in Los Angeles, these gate-crashing worshipers appeared on my front porch nearly every time I opened the door. They came weekly; sometimes twice weekly. Word must have gotten out that I was in dire need of conversion. It got so bad that the mere sight of a neatly dressed, average looking person on my doorstep sent me sobbing into the depths of my home. One poor man rang my doorbell sending me into hysterics the moment I laid eyes on him. He calmed me by managing to convince me that he’d merely stopped by to tell me my front sprinkler was broken, spewing water onto the street.

You may be asking right about now, why open the door? The answer to this and more on Monday.

Keep thinking.


As Stupidity Turns (Part 2)

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

From last time: Husband (H) innocently attempts to place a classified ad in the local town paper, which was recently purchased by a conglomerate. He is completely thwarted in his efforts by stuper-in-charge-of-classifieds, Crappyanna (C), whose job it is, not only to overcharge all persons wishing to place an ad, but to make no sense whatsoever while doing so.

Now for the conclusion:

H realized that C was a complete and utter idiot and that likely, the entire office was teeming with stupers (short, yet again, for terrifyingly stupid persons). The way he saw it, he had one of two choices: H could become unhinged and give in to his rapidly mounting frustration, fully dilated irritation and permit his head to commence spinning a la The Exorcist (insert theme song right here).

Perhaps then some pious, but bored soul from the Christian Science Reading Room across the street would lend a hand or maybe a member of the fire department around the corner would look into the window and realize that intervention was necessary. Or he could take option number two, which is what H did.

H: Let’s start all over again. Hi, my name is H. I want to place a one-day ad. Did I mention that I’m a private party?

C: But it says here you’re a….

H: I’m a freaking private party now!

C: $29.95

H: That’s still more than triple what I paid six months ago.

C: I don’t have a calculator with me.

H: Why is it $29.95?

C: Because you have seven lines.

H: What will it take before you charge less?

C: You can do five lines.

H: Okay. How much?

C: $27.95

Being married to a stupidity specialist, H has learned a few things. First, not to permit a stuper to cause annoyance, but rather search for humor in the irrational situation. If no humor can be located, realize that the stuper may be trying to tell you something.

H: Thank you for helping me to make up my mind. I know there’s a good reason for this. I don’t think I want to place this ad.

H left. He went to his office and placed a “Craig’s List ” ad on the Internet. The cost? Nothing. The gain? Within two days, the home was rented. Sometimes stupers do us a favor, unknowingly of course (what other way is there for them?). In this case, C pointed H in the right direction. Stupers do serve a purpose. All we have to do is take them and all their stupidity in stride.

Think and grow smart.