When attending a large, boisterous Christmas party, it’s positively guaranteed that a stuper (short for a prodigiously stupid person) will be seated at your otherwise cheery table. And so it was for this seasoned, stupidity specialist.
Husband (H) and I sat at a circular table of ten revelers at what promised to be an elegant, festive evening thrown by a noteworthy charitable organization. I chose to overlook…er, undersmell, the lingering odor of horse manure suspended over the parking lot; it is, after all, the countryside in which I live.
I sat between H and the delightfully pleasant Carter. Carter’s expression, demeanor and words oozed sincere kindness. Next to him sat his wife, Kimmie. Inflexible, blunt and tarnished, Kimmie had all the charm of a used kitchen knife that’s been relocated to the garden shed and used for stabbing stubborn bags of topsoil and chubby, slow-moving gophers. I don’t like gophers.
Loud music and shouting were the norm as the evening unfolded. I am relatively soft spoken and lack a necessary “sending” voice (which is reserved solely for yelling at my children on rare occasions); I find it exhausting to perpetually holler my words over thunderous, front row seat, rock concert-like noise. Consequently, I mostly listen at such gatherings. But Kimmie insisted I speak.
The conversation started out harmless enough. Kimmie’s interrogation went like this:
“What do you do? What do you do when you’re not doing that? Where do you live? What is your street address? How old are your kids? Do they live at home?”
When I answered yes to the last query, Kimmie practically went into labor. “THEY BOTH LIVE AT HOME?”
One of my kids is in high school and the other in college, located thirty-five minutes away. They both still live at home which makes me quite happy. They’ll be moving out soon enough. Apparently, my child-infested domicile greatly disturbed Kimmie. I later learned that her thirty-year-old daughter moved out at age eighteen to attend an east coast college and since stayed far away. Please note: this was not Kimmie’s display of seismic stupidity. That came later.
Carter fanned Kimmie at great length, finally calming her; then she switched tactics. She elected to inform me that she was a former teacher and high school guidance counselor who extensively knew the ins and outs of applying to colleges. Learning that my Son #2 is in the throes of college applications, she asked me which ones he showed interest in. I fell for the bait and gave her the list. She responded,
“Oh, no. He won’t want to apply to the University of California in Irvine.”
I was genuinely puzzled. The school garnered rave reviews. She continued,
“The cafeteria… it serves…”
I immediately thought, the food is bad? Then she explained,
“They serve mostly Asian food! They’re all Asians there. You don’t want him at a school filled with Asians.”
I’ve been working industriously, tirelessly, on raising my tolerance level, having to deal with stupers on an ongoing basis, in order to provide valuable suggestions for my dear readers and to set a stellar example. Consequently, this wholly idiotic comment barely affected me. I merely sighed and discreetly rolled my eyes while feigning a sneeze.
Then the ever insensitive, inane Kimmie asked what high school Son #2 attended. I grudgingly told her it was a small, private school, and this is what she said, without hesitation,
“That is a bogus school. He’s not going to get into college.”
At that moment, I grabbed H’s thigh so fiercely beneath the table, he winced in pain, nearly falling off his chair. Don’t worry, dear readers, I caught him before he hit the ground. I’d had enough.
I took a good, long, hard look at Carter; how could he be married to the very embodiment of stupidity? Then I considered seizing the nearest microphone (my voice was hoarse by this time) and blasting Kimmie with a wide array of articulate expletives or just staying put and pulling out her strangly hair. Since I wasn’t leaving the party anytime soon, I decided to maintain my unblemished reputation. I had to employ a different tactic.
Some of my astute readers may recall the looks I reserve for stupers: Look #1 – A kindly stare, (think Mona Lisa), indicating great tolerance and just a touch of exasperation. Look #2 – a stern, reproachful gaze; one that subtly promises at least a pinch of action if the stupidity continues. For Kimmie, I quickly devised Look #3 – a dazzling smile on the lower half of my face, but my eyes…
assured instant pain if the stuper so much as looked my way. The rest of the evening was passed in glorious silence by Kimmie.
Stupers lack the requisite intent that accompanies malice or wickedness. They are merely and utterly moronic. Such idiocy is amplified by unhappiness. If Kimmie was a happy person, she would not have engaged in such unbecoming, distasteful and rude behavior. For the rest of us to live happily among the stupid, we must be free from mindless behavior. Happiness is a mental state which can be attained by thinking first, then using our words in the most positive manner.