Archive for November, 2008

Stupidity, Thanksgiving and the Disinvited

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I have two sisters-in-law. Denice is thoughtful, kind and generous. Then there’s Naomi.

Naomi invited Denice, her husband and adult daughter to Thanksgiving dinner. Then just as quickly, Naomi dissed them. By “dissed” I mean disinvited them. Why? Because Naomi is a card-carrying stuper (short for a noxiously stupid person), and the brain of an idiot, as most of my dear readers have learned, is corroded, filled with selfish, contaminated thoughts. Naomi told Denice she decided to have a “low key” gathering including only her own parents. Naomi was unable to put her foot down without putting it in her mouth, a defect of most stupid minds.

Denice, being quite resourceful, did what any authentic human would do: invited some of her favorite people to share and enjoy her own Thanksgiving.

To ensure a stuper free holiday where we can focus on grateful, warm and loving thoughts, here are a few suggestions to keep stupers at bay when you can’t keep them away:

1.  According to a study conducted by US researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dietary nutrients found in a wide range of foods from infant formula to eggs increase brain synapses and improve cognitive abilities. Provide foods at your holiday feast that boost intelligence in hopes of instant mental stimulation for any idiots at your table. Toss in some infant formula in the gravy in lieu of butter or cream. No one needs to know. Throw in a trout and some beets and you can’t go wrong. Tell the stuper this is exactly what Madonna eats at her Thanksgiving table.

2. Bring pictures of your trip to the Rainforest to keep the stuper occupied for a period of time. Let them view the photos while watching Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and I guarantee you won’t see or hear the fascinated dimwit at all.

3. A bottle of red wine does wonders for keeping stupers under control. If wine seems to have little effect, try bourbon (making sure, of course, that the stuper does not operate a motor vehicle or any vehicle with wheels or springs).

4. Be thoughtful to counteract the negative waves of stupidity.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Stupidity and Self-sabotage

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Self-sabotage is still another pitiable offshoot of stupidity. I don’t usually feature younger stupers (short, as most of you know, for irretrievably stupid persons), but in this case, an empty head in his early twenties engaged in an unfortunate series of idiotic acts, practically nose-diving into the Hall of Fame of Stupidity. Today, I share his latest feat.

Son #1 works part-time as technical support for an internet company near his college. Periodically, he finds jobs for his pals. He did just that for Dawain who languished in Limboland at the time. Son figured that perhaps a full-time, official-looking position in an up-and-coming company might motivate Dawain and help him to gain responsibility. This was four months ago.

Dawain started as general receptionist, then moved up to screening calls for upper level tech support which happens to be Son’s department. There are six young gentleman is this department.

At first, Dawain felt excited about his new position; then, as stupers are wont to do, he become increasingly fidgety and bored, despite continually having new responsibilities. To combat his boredom, he decided that he needed to modify his duties, and likely, having a vague, fuzzy notion of the Red Scare of the Fifties gleaned from eleventh grade history class, he took up finger pointing.

Dawain wrote an e-mail to the department manager, informing him that Dawain singlehandedly answered all calls while the rest of the lazy, good-for-nothing guys played poker, computer games, smoking and napping in between, all of which Dawain himself enjoyed.

Alas, poor Dawain! When he sent the e-mail out, he inadvertently sent it to all Six in upper level tech support, the very same ones he complained about in the e-mail. On the upside, at least he had the foresight to transmit this ill-fated missive seconds before he clocked out for the evening.

The Six were none-too-happy. Two engaged in smoking breaks, but none had the time for games or snoozing. All sorts of plans were laid out for dealing with Dawain, from tossing him into a nearby dumpster just before pick-up, to letting the air out of his car tires.

This saga of stupidity took place a mere two days ago so the ending has yet to unfold. Dawain did not show up for work the day after his e-mail guffaw in a feeble attempt to prove that the department would fall apart in his absence. However, the opposite occurred; they received a record number of calls praising the efficiency and knowledge of the technical support team. And therein lies the moral: a stupid act always backfires atop the stuper.

The Six took no action although grape juice was accidentally poured over Dawain’s keyboard by an unknown assailant. Dawain’s corn kernel size mind wrongly believed that he was paving the way for his success by faulting others. If he’d only focused on improving himself, his success, and not his stupidity, would have been assured.

When you dwell on the faults of others, you lose the chance to improve yourself.


Don’t be a Doormat for Stupidity

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Since the infancy of this blog, I’ve received  a few complaints. Yes, I know; my dearest readers are muttering, how is that remotely possible? It just is. These choleric grumblings arrive in e-mail form, carrying a snarky, dismissive tone on their spam ridden backs. I’ve never met these disgruntled readers, yet I’ve managed to create a physical profile:

Male, 5-feet 5 1/4-inches tall, burly (discerning minds might say portly), rapidly receding reddish-blond hair, walrus mustache and tattoo of a spare tire on the left forearm.

I am not clairvoyant. Gender is deduced from their first names, and the rest I know intuitively.

They claim my posts are “weak,” “infirm,”  “cowardly,” even “spineless.” The word “wuss” was bandied about freely.  I’m “way too nice” when it comes to dealing with stupers (short, as you know, for phenomenally stupid persons).

Then these vanilla wafer pillars of manliness explain how they would have handled the situation: with explosive anger and an unending barrage of expletives, possibly followed by a fistfight or at least a serious arm wrestling match with the featured stuper(s). Why haven’t I thought of that? Because I don’t fistfight, at least not since that incident 12 1/2 years ago in that bar in Detroit. And because I seldom dabble in the zero tolerance approach to stupidity. Plus, it’ll take something with a lot more bang to displace a disorder that’s thousands of years old.

Which brings me to the subject of this post: I typically advocate kindness in managing the stupid among us. However, there are those monumentally meager minds who mistake benevolence for weakness. Kindness may be a wasted virtue when used on the determinedly empty mind.

 We should in no way resemble doormats where stupers wipe their calloused feet.  

When dealing with dimwits to whom we’ve consistently extended kindness and who nevertheless excel in displaying irritating idiocy in our presence, we must take appropriate action. (This is where I bang my fist on the nearest table). If possible, and if you believe it will make a difference, communicate your feelings firmly (profanity should be utilized only if you believe it will jumpstart the otherwise dull and deficient mind) and with temper intact. I’ve found that during such communications, if you can intermittently stare off with a steely gaze and knitted brows at an imaginary object just above the stuper’s head, thereby successfully imitating a somewhat half-crazed, verging on madness type of expression, you will meet with uncommon success.

 Should communication be impossible or not worthwhile, turn your back on stupidity and keep it turned. Don’t ever look back on the stuper unless you’re absolutely positive a heartwarming apology (as opposed to a pseudo apology – “I’m sorry if…”) is forthcoming, preferably accompanied by a token gift and several years’ worth of  dark chocolate truffles for all the troubles caused by the idiot.

Stupers should never knock us off balance in our delicate walk on earth.



Befriending Stupidity for a Legitimate Reason

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Unavoidable stupidity often turns up at the other end of the telephone line in the guise (or voice) of telemarketers. I’ve posted about these pestilent stupers (short for radically stupid persons) before.  I’ve since conveniently devised a new tactic, protocol even, for getting rid of them without raising our blood pressure or eyebrows (for those of you like myself, concerned about pesky forehead wrinkles, yet cautious about Botox). However, be forewarned, this method requires a bit of deviousness. Those who are puritanical at heart need read no further.

I do not promote deceit or trickery unless it’s a last resort for maintaining one’s sanity, as was the case here. Perhaps readers should not try this at home, as it does require some training and expertise.

 For the past six months on a timetable as regular as that of my rooster who crows at 1:45 am, 3:09 am, 4:55 am and again every four minutes commencing at 5:21 am until I roll out of bed for the morning feeding, I’ve been receiving a recorded telephone call from the same party. It’s an eerily calm female voice with a slightly sinister tone that warns,

“Don’t be alarmed, but this is your last chance to lower your interest rate on your credit card. Push 1 if you are interested and a representative will come on the line.”

 I do periodically suffer from a mild case of gullibility so I pressed 1 the very first time. I then asked the representative,

 “What precisely is the name of your company and what exact course of action do you take to lower rates?”

The line went dead.

The next few times they called, I merely hung up. But after being told not to be alarmed for months on end, I needed closure. I pressed 1 again and asked the timid representative,

“Would you like my social security number? How about my mother’s maiden name? Will my savings account number do?”

This time the rep hesitated a moment, then hung up.

I did some research. I learned that, short of adding caller ID for a small, but persistent monthly fee, (which is no deterrent to these types of calls, but does provides fair warning  to the recipient of the nature of the call), I needed to gather details and report these telephonic intruders to the proper agency in order to stop the calls once and for all. To do this, I needed to act as willing bait, which as my astute readers know, I’ve done many times in the past to promote understanding and rapid resolution of stupidity.

Unfortunately, I received no further communication from these alarmists despite lying in wait next to the phone for weeks on end (I exaggerate just a tad for emphasis here).

Although they never called again, other equally annoying telemarketers did, including one “Entertainment Company” rep searching for Husband (H) at home, of all places; they called in reference to his business, certain that he was a prime candidate for buying $25 coupon books for his employees. I didn’t have the heart to tell them he only had one employee: himself.

I talked to the rep with great animation, and used the charm I typically reserve for those who will potentially pay me with enormous checks for my perfectly legal and above the table services (which are, naturally, the only kind of services I offer). Anyhow, I got tons of information – name of caller, name of company, physical location, favorite restaurant, shoe size and so on, all of which I reported immediately (so fast that my telephone receiver was still hot from my, if not sweaty, at least glistening palm) to the Do Not Call Registry. I have not heard from them again.

I wish I could tell you that my strategy is foolproof, but it is not. It wasn’t fifteen minutes ago, as I sat behind this very screen providing my dearest readers with valuable information, that my phone rang. It was Wells Fargo bank in which I hold an account. The rep informed me that she was about to send a $25 gas gift card if I would only spend some time perusing their pamphlet on their extremely inexpensive auto insurance that would accompany the gift card. I could keep the gas card no matter what; they would just bill me monthly and assume I agreed to their terms if I did not call and cancel the auto insurance within 48 hours of receipt.

I gathered the necessary information once more, which the rep gave readily and cheerfully. She also provided a Universal Do No Call Number, which I speedily dialed, only to hang up minutes later. The voice at the other end asked for one of my most closely guarded secrets. No, not my true identity or where I keep my fake necklace that strongly resembles the Hope Diamond and in fact, was once briefly confiscated by museum authorities as being the real thing, but my precious social security number. I was foiled. I hung up the telephone without completing my purpose of entering them on the Never Again Call Me list.

Not to worry; I will formulate a new plan and regroup.  I am not one to give up easily; sometimes not at all. In the meantime,

Use your mind.


Announcement of New Holiday Dishonoring Stupidity

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Patriotic Americans, unite! Let us ‘rally round the Flag, recognizing today as Veteran’s Day. (Dear readers, please stand during the remainder of this paragraph). Our veterans have earned the right to be recognized and praised. Their sacrifices are deeply appreciated. That said, Veteran’s Day is mere background for today’s somewhat thought-provoking, yet highly practical post.

There is a petition currently being circulated in remote parts of the U.S. decrying the fact that we have an abundance of holidays. This petition contends that students, especially those attending public institutions, are given far too many days off of school. Today, schools are closed to observe Veteran’s Day, but how do you explain yesterday? Many public schools bolted their doors yesterday to psyche themselves up for today.

Citizens are frustrated and angered. Particularly those who did not get yesterday off. No one likes to be left behind. These forgotten, pitiful denizens contend that we should not attach ordinary days to legit holidays thereby creating megaholidays for no apparent reason. This is only acceptable on Thanksgiving and periodically on the Fourth of July when four day weekends are de riguer during the casual summer season, when most people are not really too productive anyway.

This month, November boasts two, four day weekends. In fact, some schools take the entire week of Thanksgiving off. No wonder everyone wants to move to the USA! (Waving of the flags please).

So what does all this have to do with stupidity? Plenty. Namely that I have discovered a means of legitimizing these ordinary, common days that latch themselves for dear life to holidays. They deserve recognition. I submit “Stuper-Free Day” (stuper being short for indubitably stupid persons).

I believe in efficiency. I declare any day appearing before or after a legit. holiday to be a Stuper-Free Day where we spend time thanking the authentic humans in our lives. No, this is nothing like Thanksgiving. No pilgrims, turkey or stuffing is involved at all. No need for family get-togethers. This holiday simply requires a bit of private time. We toss idiocy aside and focus instead on those friends and strangers who’ve treated us thoughtfully and kindly with no strings attached, personifying unselfishness. We take a moment or two to remember and thank them.

Yesterday, with a grateful heart, I recalled Patrick, a landlord we fortuitously had in the early days. Money was scarce; consequently, our rent sometimes arrived late, though always with Patrick’s prior knowledge. Instead of complaining, he bought us Christmas gifts. He personified generosity and understanding.

When my kids were in grade school, I enrolled them in a private academy. We forked over a steep tuition the first few years. Then our money situation tightened, and I informed the Headmaster we’d be leaving. She asked why, and when I explained, she insisted we stay. I looked puzzled and she whispered,

“You don’t have to pay anything.”

Not one to accept a gift without offering something in return, I became the Writer’s Workshop teacher and my children continued to attend the school.

Why would these two virtual strangers step out of their way to help us? This is what authentic humans do. Whereas those of the counterfeit variety turn their heads and fix their gaze elsewhere or stomp their feet to let us know what trouble we cause, those that think know that helping one helps all.

If you were not part of the Stuper-free day yesterday, don’t worry. Pick your own day and just take a few moments to acknowledge a wonderful, heart soaring act of kindness. In this way we create peace within ourselves.

Everyday choose the right thoughts!


Stupidity, the Captive Audience and the Tatooed Man

Friday, November 7th, 2008

 Gatherings where large groups of people are present often prove fertile grounds for stupidity. Intermingling with idiots is virtually guaranteed in these settings. If stupers (short, as most of you know, for unaccountably stupid persons) even remotely detect the presence of a captive audience, watch out! They will blurt out particularly ridiculous and rude remarks to quench their insatiable thirst for attention. Captive audiences = stuper heaven, which means the rest of us may be placed in a holding cell in purgatory while the idiot is yammering.

My pal, Calvin, recently joined a Rotary Club that presents weekly guest speakers who offer enlightened talks on topics ranging from Hypnotherapy to Cuts of Meat. Last week’s speaker was Henrik, owner of a tattoo parlor as well as human exhibitor of multiple tattoos. Calvin stated,

“I’m not into tattoos myself, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well-spoken, poised and intelligent Henrik was. He told us about the history of tattoos and explained their place in the military, saying that soldiers traditionally wore tattoos to deflect the element of fear and show their toughness.  After Henrik finished talking, an audience member stood up and said, quite pompously, ‘No disrespect intended, but disfiguring your body is going against God’s will. We’re on a slippery slope today as it is. Morality is shot; no one takes responsibility. In my day, the only ones with tattoos were pimps, whores and sailors.’  There was total silence afterward. Then Henrik responded, ‘I’m a veteran of the Marines, I’m a patriot and I agree about the slippery slope. But I’m not here to promote or speak against tattoos. I’m just providing information.’  Henrik looked really uncomfortable. Don’t you think the guy who slammed Henrik was a stuper?”

When a stuper starts out with, “No disrespect intended,” rest assured four freight trains full of disrespect are rapidly plunging your way.  It’s best to hurl yourself into the nearest clump of thorn-free bushes. And lumping sailors with pimps and whores is like categorizing aspirin with heroin and cocaine. Please. Stupers with opinions can be hazardous.

Calvin informed me that there was more to the story.

“After Henrik finished speaking, another audience member, Rose, got up. She said she didn’t have any tattoos and always advised her kids against getting any. But she said that after her Pappy (Dad) died, her twenty-year-old got a tattoo ‘in loving memory of Pappy.’ Rose said, ‘I am completely against tattoos, and I told my son not to ever do it again. But really, my son is happy and he’s not a bad kid. I think there are more important things to attend to, like making sure our children know how much we love them. Who are we to say what others should do?’   I felt the same as Rose. After all, it’s not like Henrik was promoting Nazism. He wasn’t promoting anything.  And it wasn’t like Henrik was speaking before an impressionable audience. Plus, he was our guest!”

There are always going to be people who present disagreeable opinions. It’s okay to assert yourself, but not in an abrasive manner. We should be able to stomach an afternoon of strong coffee when invited to do so, and if we feel we must make our opinions known, it’s best to do so privately and courteously.

Making compromises and adjustments is part of reality. Expending precious mental energy on negativity and criticism is draining and prevents us from focusing on the more important aspects of life. Stupers lollygag, fiddling with their minds with nonexistent or dwindling dedication. To maintain sanity when faced with the stupid among us, we must fortify our thinking with positive thoughts.

Your greatest secret weapon is your mind.


Newly Discovered Urban Disease Linked to Stupidity

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Researchers today claim that new diseases are being discovered at a blistering pace. I inadvertently discovered one myself last week while Husband (H) and I waited at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to pick up my mother.

H and I inoffensively drove down the ramp marked “Arrivals” to enter LAX.  As is customary in potentially crime-laden areas where opportunistic hoodlums cram themselves into every nook and crevice, officers of the law carefully scrutinized all motorists exiting said ramp. A gatekeeper type cop stopped H, giving him a seething glance during which I casually observed two other officers waiting off to one side. I should have instantly noticed signs of this rapidly spreading disorder, but my mind drifted to whether I should have worn my black cashmere sweater instead of the fuchsia. As it was, I paid only abbreviated attention.

Once the Gatekeeper waved H on, we stopped in the White Zone, a part of the road where the curb sports white paint indicating that area is only to be used for the immediate loading or unloading of passengers, baggage or short term parking (5 minutes or less).

I left H for no more than three minutes. I sprinted down the sidewalk, aiming to grab Mom, throw her under one arm, tuck her carry-on bag under the other and drag both back to the car in record time.

During my brief absence, H sluggishly opened the trunk, then shuffled over to the passenger door in the slowest of motion, in order to stretch the allotted time as well as to appear industrious. Alas, we were both novices in White Zone parking, as it had been a very long time since our last such visit to LAX. Had we been adequately experienced, we would have imitated the clever chap behind H who remained in his car while wife went off in search of a passenger. This savvy driver commenced moving his car forward a few feet, then reverse a few feet; forward and reverse, going nowhere, but completely throwing all parking police off his scent.

Unbeknownst to H, a stuper (short for a decidedly stupid person), suffering from my soon-to-be unveiled malaise, approached H from behind. When I returned, this is what I saw standing next to H:

I have great respect for officers of the law. I am grateful for their presence and the vital protection services they offer. But truly, how helpful  are overweight, physically unfit officers? How fast will they be against the hungry, lanky, yet often surprisingly limber criminal element?

To add insult to injury, this portly hippo of a cop was writing H a citation. I asked sweetly,

“Are we not parked in the White Zone?”

“See that sign over there?” he asked in a voice several octaves too high for such a stout presence. He pointed his chewed off pen toward a place over my right shoulder.

We all looked and saw nothing.

“I mean over there,” he continued, unable to find the sign he sought. “Anyway, the White Zone is for commercial…wait a minute, the White Zone is for, let me see now, it’s for…”

The chubby cop vainly searched for the true meaning of the Zone while I realized we were caught in a tidal wave of stupidity or at a minimum, choppy waters.  Was there any hope?

He suddenly reached enlightenment. “It’s for, oh yes, the loading or unloading of passengers. You cannot get in or out of your car…”

“How can passengers load or unload if they can’t get in or out?” My question received an elbow jab from H, eager to see the last of the blubbery being. “Okay, thanks, Officer.”

Yes, it’s Fat Cop (FC) disease with a dash of stupidity.

A picture of the two officers standing off to the side while I contemplated the color of my cashmere sweater flashed back to me. They were also pudgy.

I’d actually witnessed the beginnings of this malady almost a decade ago when I traveled with my children in downtown Los Angeles. We found ourselves embedded in heavy traffic in the middle of a Sunday; usually a day devoid of commuters even in an enormous metropolis. On the side of the freeway sat a disabled, small, but sturdy yellow school bus. Certainly not a sight to halt cars. However, what did bring traffic to a complete standstill stood next to the bus, waving one flabby arm while the other hauled up its too snug fitting, about to burst trousers. A fat cop. Back then it was an anomaly; a deviation from the norm.

Too much fast food, especially of the donut variety, by law enforcement officers in the big city has finally resulted in FC disease. As illustrated by the forgetful parking cop above, this disorder may also trigger rapid onset of stupidity.

Dear readers, when visiting metropolitan areas, we must exercise a paramount degree of vigilance. Maintain your mind on highest alert. We must also wear proper running shoes, avoid airports if possible and carry an easily concealable, but threatening weapon or two to be subtly brandished, if needed. Sufferers of FC disease will need our assistance.

Just think.