When Stupidity Sits at Your Table and Courtesy is Required

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.

Just think.



10 Responses to “When Stupidity Sits at Your Table and Courtesy is Required”

  1. Annie T says:

    I am almost speechless! What an irritating woman. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been able to hold my tongue around a woman like that who dares to denegrate my children’s educational choices. Perhaps she is the one who attended a third-rate college? Certainly, her own standards of education are sorely lacking. And the only Finishing School she should attend is one which does simply that…

    How utterly ghastly!

  2. MC says:

    What an absolute bitch! Are bitches stupers or do they have too much intent? You should have pulled out her hair.

  3. Sarah says:

    I don’t know how you kept your self control. I would have clobbered her! No wonder her daughter never returned home.

  4. Suzie says:

    I admire you for keeping your cool. I wouldn’t be able to.
    Why do some people think it is their business to interfere with
    others lives and lifestyle?

  5. Elaine says:

    I don’t know why this topic brings this out in people. I too have been on the receiving end, “you’re sending Sarah to …?” (east coast school) with mouth hanging open. I’ve been at dinner parties during college ap time when the discussion was nothing but SAT scores and tons of unwanted and unsolicited advice. What is about this topic that makes some people such an expert all of a sudden?

    I’m sorry you had to sit through this Keli, I imagine your BP was going up a few points listening to this twit. True to your style you handled it with grace and class. Good luck to your sons!

  6. Ferd says:

    Oooh! Never talk stupid trash about children to their mom! You REALLY have to be a stuper to not know THAT rule! I can see a guy saying something like that, but not another mom! And she’s a counselor!?! Gotta be a monumentally SHITTY one!!!

    I would have paid big money to see that face with the dazzling smile and the murderous eyes. Ha! I can just picture the heat of your threat from here! She came pretty close to a girl fight, huh?

    Congrats for keeping your cool. I bow to your consistent example! You teach me good stuff!

  7. Jenny says:

    Kimmie and her ilk are the reason I attended ZERO Christmas parties this year … and will NOT attend any for the remainder of the season! I just haven’t the patience.

    However, a stuper arrived AT MY DOOR a few nights ago to deliver a fundraiser item that TG had purchased from her child. She “regaled” Erica and me with a combination of a lengthy sermon about God’s faithfulness (which is never in question at our house) and a crow-fest about her perfect children (who, trust me, are far from perfect … in fact they are almost not children), until we finally managed to shoo her out into the rain, at which time she managed to step on some of my Christmas lights which were only just marginally (and I thought very discreetly) in her path. Sheesh.

    Sounds like you shut Kimmie up but good, Keli. Way to go.

  8. Keli says:

    “Ghastly” is the perfect word to describe Kimmie. I considered unleashing my tongue, but what good would it have done? Ruined by cool, calm and collected reputation (which I might remind myself, Othello never regained), and would certainly have not caused any much needed change in Kimmie!
    Stupers can be bitches. Bitchiness does not always require intent.
    I thought the same thing about her daughter. I used it to try to muster up some sympathy. It didn’t work.
    Those “some people” you refer to are stupers. That’s why.

  9. Keli says:

    Thanks very much Elaine! My blood used to boil at such comments, but I believe I’ve developed a certain immunity due to my constant contact with stupers. Not unlike beekeepers who develop an immunity to stings(;
    My sentiments exactly! The quickest way to guarantee an enemy is to insult one’s children. No doubt she was a “shitty” counselor. She was quite self-righteous as well. But I really did enjoy the silent hour when she finally quit yakking.
    Thanks, Ferd!
    Why do these people always appear on our doorsteps! I have stuper experience like that also. They sure love to hear themselves speak, don’t they? Wouldn’t you just love to slam the door, just once and string the lights just a little higher off the ground directly beneath her feet… You didn’t hear that from me!

  10. Dan says:

    I sometimes marvel at your composure, considering the amount of stupers that you come across in your daily life. I very much doubt I can keep my cool when someone passed idiotic comments about our children choices of colleges especially when they are qualified by racist comments like : “You don’t want him at a school filled with Asians.”

    Incidentally, her “intelligent assessment” reminded me of two outstanding books that I had read recently – A Free Life by Hai Jin and Sweet & Sour by Timothy Mo – that touches on the prejudices and rascism that immigrants to America and England faced in their search for a better life. You might want to recommend them to the “graceful” Kimmie 🙂

    Take care and a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year to you!

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