Is Stupidity Contagious?

For the longest time, I felt certain that stupidity, unlike the common cold and ringworm, was not contagious. Alas, I was wrong. I’ve witnessed perfectly intelligent beings suddenly turn senseless, losing their wits and behaving like absolute nitwits after intermingling with idiots. But I needed proof. The scientific and medical communities have enough trouble accepting stupidity as an affliction, let alone a communicable disease.

I decided to place myself among the stupid for a short period of time and carefully monitor the after effects. Why did I volunteer? Because I tirelessly work alone and anonymously. Besides, there were no takers.

As some of my most fiercely loyal readers may recall, there is a stupermarket (compound noun referring to a large grocery store almost wholly occupied by enormously stupid persons) near my home. I donned my blackest sunglasses and khaki-colored raincoat, then went shopping. I made sure, prior to entering the store, that I was mentally sound, giving myself a series of small tests and watching the entire PBS series on The Secret Life of the Brain. I was ready.

I entered the store, smiling and narrowing my eyes. My defenses were up. There they were. A twenty-something-year-old buying cases of beer and brandishing a shaved head, tattoos, tank top and pants belted down mid-thigh. The only problem was, he’d forgotten his underwear. Then there was the older couple, in their sixties or so, searching for their super saver card. The woman, built like an army helicopter, got her pudgy hand stuck in the pocket of her jeans and loudly demanded the cashier call 9-1-1. Then there was the cashier. The automated sort, despite her humanesque form, who once shortchanged me eight dollars, then threatened to call security when I asked for a recount.

Walking through the place was like being inside a Mad magazine photo shoot, only with live people. I reminded myself to breathe and swallowed the bubble of hysteria gurgling in my throat. I grabbed a bunch of bananas and waited in line behind a woman with a cart so full, items randomly popped out as she read the Star. Behind me appeared a man with a big, toothy grin, cradling a gallon size bottle of Windex in his arms like an infant. The line next to us suddenly opened. The new cashier looked at me. I looked at him. Then he said to the gent behind me,

“Sir, I can help you right here.”

“What?” I stated in disbelief. “Am I not next in line?”

I might as well have addressed the oversize Windex bottle. Then I lost it. I pictured myself screaming, loudly, soundly, emptying all the air out of my body. I’d feel better, but would anyone care? Would I make the headlines of tomorrow’s local paper? How about the Opinion section? Realizing I’d had my fill, I abruptly left, without the bananas.

I felt mildly annoyed; my heart beat a bit faster, my face felt hot and my palms glistened. I’d contracted an acute case of annoyance, thanks to my intentional brush with stupidity.

I got into my car and approached a four-way intersection, which provided the exit for the shopping center. My way and the opposing direction each had stop signs.

I stopped at the exit and waited, still flummoxed from my stupermarket excursion. This was a tricky little intersection when busy, tending to be accident prone and requiring fully functioning mental faculties. Five minutes later, and I still waited, leaning toward the steering wheel, tapping my fingers on the dash. Suddenly, all traffic halted for two peds in the crosswalk. The peds crossed, but traffic still stopped. Were they waiting for me? I revved my engine. A moving van on my left started forward, then stopped. A car on my right sped through. Meanwhile, I was stuck. My brain stopped working after having been partially drained at the stupermarket. A line of cars formed behind me. I felt pressure to act.

I saw a vehicle approaching on my right. Then I did something that I never, ever, EVER do, aware and careful motorist that I typically am; I flew through the intersection, exactly like a sailor on the high seas, responding to the call of a Siren. Those sailors who plugged their ears with beeswax survived. The rest crashed. I made it, no doubt, thanks to divine intervention and a little bit of thought I keep on reserve for just such moments.

So here it is: a fully documented personal account, duly witnessed, demonstrating that stupidity is indeed contagious. Had I not been driven to the brink of lunacy in the stupermarket, I would have calmly made it across the intersection without incident, stress or strain. As it was, any one who witnessed my hurtling certainly branded me a stuper.

I should have relaxed in my car for a few minutes before attempting to drive, allowing the stupidity to vaporize. I vowed never to put myself intentionally in the useless presence of idiots again…unless I have beeswax handy. It’s important to keep fitful company, meaning to put yourself around those who behave well and most importantly, think. Otherwise, it’s better to go alone.

Keep thinking.


10 Responses to “Is Stupidity Contagious?”

  1. Sarah says:

    I always thought stupidity was contagious. Now I know for sure! I hate crossing intersections that don’t have any clear cut rules. That practically invites stupers to the scene. Glad you made it safely across!

  2. M.C. says:

    Ugh! I hate stuperstores! I know what you mean about that scream. I’ve felt it many a time in these types of places. One of these days, I’m gonna blow!

  3. Suzie says:

    I think we all can write a book about stuperstores.

  4. Ferd says:

    Keli, you’re a winner!
    Come to The Best Parts and see what you have won!

  5. Keli says:

    Me too! For a few minutes there…it was touch and go!
    Let me know what happens when you do, as I’ve been curious about the reaction. If I should blow first, I’ll let you know.
    No kidding! There are enough of them around.
    I am on my way! Thanks, Ferd!

  6. Sergio says:

    I am one of your new fans! I see stupers everyday. At a market, when you need one of the stupers to help you, that’s when trouble can occur. They usually can’t help you. Watch your driving!

  7. Agnes Mildew says:

    Internet shopping. It is the only way to go. Either that, or move to England where there are lots of local, country shops, which charge you an arm and a leg but at least allow you to preserve your sanity.
    I only shop at supermarkets in the early hours. And yes, I can get up especially to do that, such is my abhorrence of the places.
    People. It’s their fault you know…They should all just stay at home and watch car crash TV.

  8. Keli says:

    Thanks for the visit! And you are right on – stupers are of little, if any, help.
    I have to agree with you. I used to think that there was nothing like personal contact; now I still think that way, but not exactly in a positive light. And I’m all for the local shops, however, my local Stupermarket, believe it or not, is a local, country shop! Yes, stupidity is rapidly spreading.

  9. Jenny says:

    I knew it! I knew it was contagious! I act like a stuper around stupers all the time, when I’m not even a stuper!

    Am I … ?

  10. Keli says:

    No, no, no! You are not a stuper. I know enough about you to make a quick assessment. However, I do suggest you not place yourself in the company of stupers or there is a good chance you will become one. Escape whenever you can!

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