Stupidity, the Captive Audience and the Tatooed Man

 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.


6 Responses to “Stupidity, the Captive Audience and the Tatooed Man”

  1. Suzie says:

    I remember when Beatles came to the U.S. Many people were making fun of them, just because they had long hair and looked different than others. Instead of saying wow! they sure are talented, and what beautiful music. Some refused to listen to their songs. Stupers!

  2. Ferd says:

    See, Keli, that’s why I keep coming back. You teach me stuff. As I was reading this, I was calmly thinking, “No way. No way I would sit there and tolerate this idiot insulting me this way in public. I would either publicly call him an idiot and move on, or actually ask the person who asked me to speak to have this idiot removed. Him or me.”

    But your way is better. Your last two paragraphs are my instruction. I truly do thank you.

  3. Elaine says:

    Wow! It’s hard to believe someone getting up and saying that to a speaker.As uncomfortable as it must have been for Henrik I think he handled it with style and grace.

    Many times what I find are those who consider themselves to be the most religious are often the most judgemental and closed minded people I have ever met. Yet they feel free to behave such as the person who stood up and spoke to Henrik. I’ve yet to understand why because that is not what the the Christian Faith teaches.

    Your closing paragraph hit it head on. Look at the long election we just experienced as a nation. One candidate focused on issues, the other negativity and it didn’t work. It’s the same in a work environments as well….negative people are usually found other jobs.

    Great post Keli….enjoy the weekend.

  4. Onedia says:

    Keli, Brilliantly written.

  5. Sarah says:

    I’m not a big tattoo fan so I would have thought similarly to the man who spoke out, except without the pimp, whore and sailor part. Saying it out loud was uncalled for. But then again, he was a stuper!

  6. Keli says:

    Very true. The Beatles were well known victims of stupers.
    You’re so welcome, Ferd! And thanks very much for coming back!
    Agreed. Down with negative people!
    Thank you very kindly!
    Stupers always do and say the wrong thing at the wrong time which is good for no one but me, because it gives fodder for this blog!

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