Archive for March, 2009

Stupidity and Creative Telemarketing

Friday, March 27th, 2009

As my dear readers know, this current state of affairs has promoted creativity in many a business in order for them to continue as a force in their respective industries. This includes the telemarketing business.

I made a solemn vow to extend kindness to telemarketers harassing disturbing annoying calling me at home. It makes life more satisfying for both of us. And so it was when I answered the telephone and heard this:

Telemarketer: Hello Ms. Garson. I’m calling you on behalf of Acme Lung Association, and I’m not going to ask you for any money.

Immediately, I was intrigued, yet highly suspicious.  My vast experience with telemarketers who are, as my dear readers know, mostly composed of stupers (short once more, for astoundingly stupid persons) proved that there perpetually existed dangling strings on the other end of the line, eager to be tied. Strings they desperately attempted to attach to me. They wanted something all right, but what? Blood? My highly prized collection of nutritional supplements?

Telemarketer: You want to support those dying from lung cancer, right?

How could I argue with this query?

Telemarketer: Here’s all we ask:

A number of scenarios rapidly raced through my mind; a volunteer job of some type? Displaying a bumper sticker on my car, reading Down with smoking?

Telemarketer: We are going to send you some letters which ask for donations to our organization. All you have to do is put them in envelopes, which you will provide; add postage, which you will also provide, and send the letters along to ten of your neighbors who live on your street.

Perfect, I thought! A surefire way to alienate neighbors, star as the ongoing subject of dirty looks and get banned from attending this year’s community barbecue, which last year was held at the home of a local mad scientist.

Me: No, thank you.

Telemarketer: Thank you and have a great day!

They called. I quietly listened. They hung up. And peace reigned for both of us. How easy was that?

Think first, last and all of the time.


Stupidity at the Other End of the Telephone

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

My mother, typically mild-mannered and pleasant by nature, gets along with most people. This includes stupers (short, yet again, for bewilderingly stupid persons). It takes a few dump truckloads of stupidity before she gets riled up.

Her friend, Mary, was celebrating a birthday, and Mom wanted to call to extend greetings. However, Mom hesitated in placing the call. Mary’s daughter, Hilda, lived nearby and often visited Mary…and answered her telephone. As my dear, cognizant readers may have already guessed, Hilda is a stuper.

Mom called. Hilda answered. Hellos were exchanged, and then,

Hilda: How are you?

Mom: Well,…

Keep in mind, Mom had not seen or spoken to Hilda in quite some time. A few years, in fact. When Mom had last called and Hilda had answered, Hilda had asked a question of such a personal nature, Mom had vowed to hang up the telephone if Hilda ever picked up her mother’s line again. Mom didn’t hang up however, hoping the passage of time had eliminated or at least softened Hilda’s tendency toward idiocy.

Hilda: Is your daughter Paula still with her husband?

Mom: Why would you ask such a question?

Hilda: Oh, uh, you know, he’s such a nice man, and I haven’t seen them in awhile…I’ll get my mother for you.

My sister and her husband had experienced some marital difficulties; obviously, a painful, sensitive topic for all. Yet Hilda, a relative stranger, felt it within her rights to dive right in, open mouth first, just to indulge in idle gossip and satisfy her curiosity.

I told Mom she provided the perfect answer. Redirecting the verbal blow and tossing it right back where it belonged, without providing any information.

Like fire, the mind can be both a constructive and destructive force. A single thought can hurt or save another person. Therefore, mind training is essential in order to nurture positive thoughts and to avoid even remotely appearing like a stuper.

Our character is carved from our thoughts. If we think kindly, we become kind; if we think meanly, we become mean. Controlling our thoughts promotes intelligence and prevents stupidity.

Just think.


Stupidity and the Economy

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

If you ever happen to notice a smartly dressed, youngish woman with great hair, dragging her feet in the parking lot of a bank, unhurriedly making her way towards the entrance doors, while muttering under her breath, that would be me. I’d only been to this particular branch twice, but I hesitated before entering the double glass doors because on both of my last visits, I got the same thing: a lecture. From a kid. Fresh out of college, about the vital issue of why I don’t have an ATM card for my checking account.

“Because I don’t want one!” I would firmly announce while stamping my foot for emphasis, putting an end to his needling once and for all.

I entered and decided to avoid his line to make life easier on both of us, but then I realized all the young male tellers looked and dressed strikingly similar. I’d only seen my tormentor twice and I’m not the most visual person. Which one to avoid?

A window opened. Was it him? I eyed the available teller suspiciously. I waited until he gave himself away.

“How are you today?” the teller asked half-heartedly.

“Very well, thank you. How about you?”

I saw it coming. Any moment now…whining about that ATM card…

He sighed deeply, slumped his shoulders and said in a tone reminiscent of a deflated tire, if it could talk, “Okay, I guess.”

This was not the same teller and no lecture was forthcoming. So I relaxed and we chatted.

It turned out he’d only graduated college a few months ago with a business degree and was worried about getting a good job because of the economy. More specifically, because of what the headlines, pundits and practically everyone who crossed his path told him. This 22 year-old, Mario, a university graduate, felt hopeless and anxious about his future.

Mario should be excited about his future, and I told him so. He had a lot to look forward to because there is always room for excellent, intelligent people. I spoke to him for a few minutes and noticed that he visibly straightened, smiled and looked cheerful. A line of customers had formed behind me; I told Mario that I should leave.

“No, please don’t. I like talking to you. Besides, they think we’re talking business and this is so important.”

I could not believe that I was the first person who told this kid that there is hope out there. That we are in a temporary state. I am dismayed at the psychological mindset that’s occurred because of stupers (short for loquaciously stupid persons) who insist on perpetually reminding us that our economy is weak. As if we don’t know for ourselves.

If you take a child and continually tell him he can’t sing, he may begin to believe that he can’t. And if a large group of people tell him the same thing over and over again, he won’t even try. We, as thinkers, know that there are cycles in life. Some short; some long. The length depends largely on our attitudes, courage and frame of mind. We can’t let the stupid among us get us down.



Stupidity in Education

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

The seventeen-year-old, high school senior spoke with a heavy French accent that did nothing to diminish her poise and confidence. She spoke before a large group of assorted professionals. Her presentation at the podium detailed school life in her rural village in France.  Her name was Nicole, and she was not a stuper (short, once again, for a prominently stupid person). Nicole attended an American public high school for her senior year, as an exchange student.

After her talk, an audience member asked what she thought of going to an American school.

“Oh, it’s so easy!” Nicole explained. “Here, it is very short. There are many breaks and P.E. We have no P.E. in my village school.”

She was asked what school in France was like.

“I go from eight to five with no breaks. All we do is learn.”

Then she was asked what college she will go to when she returns to France.

“I will not go to college when I return. In France, we do not recognize this year I take here. I must retake in my village school.”

Okay. Are so-called educators training high school students in some of our nation’s schools for stuperhood?

Meanwhile, my local public high school has declared a holiday this coming Monday. Why? For a special teachers’ meeting. You know. The one they have once a month or so. Where they walk around campus in circles, patting themselves on the back. Back patting is a heavily indulged-in stuper activity.

For the past few years, students, 10th grade and up, at this high school typically end the majority of their days at noon. But I don’t have cause to complain as I’ve not had any children attend this educational institution. Instead I’d like to point my finger toward an exemplary teacher and what it takes to train our students to think.

Many years ago I read of an educator, Mrs. Prentiss, who taught at a public elementary school in a lower income section of New York. Kids had trouble making it past eighth grade, and if they did, the high school drop-out rate was high. Mrs. Prentiss singlehandedly wrangled with city and school officials to upgrade the curriculum to one used by a small private school in Baltimore. She was successful.

The makeup of the school dramatically changed as students, once regarded as stupers, began to shine. Students willingly spent more time on campus because they were eager to learn. Many soon started reading at two grades above their class. Gradually, one hundred percent of these once considered hopeless students finished high school and many continued on to college.

Idiots tend to perpetuate stupidity. Little to no effort is made to change things, as the mere thought (if it were to occur) of doing so is exhausting. Hence, they walk around in circles.

To ensure we do not fall in with the stupid among us, we must make an effort in whatever we do, to give it our very best. Generally, our best happens if we just take the time to carefully think.

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.  ~ Voltaire


Stupidity and Saying Too Much

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Have you ever engaged in conversation with someone and realized midway or even early on, that you’ve revealed more information than you wanted and consequently, longed for a really reliable getaway car? That was me this past weekend.

It’s junior golf tournament season once more which means I’m out there walking the courses, while watching Junior play; thus increasing the odds of my running into stupers (short, yet again, for nerve-wrackingly stupid persons). Most parents, coaches and other assorted junior golf entourage generally suffer from jumbled nerves, which makes them easily agitated, which makes them somewhat crazy.

On Hole 5, I needed to escape the fidgety, hyperactive parents around me, so I walked ahead for some alone time to regain my sanity and calm. I did and marveled at the peacefulness…for about one minute. Suddenly a new parent appeared on the cart path, walking toward me with a gait reserved for Kentucky Derby thoroughbreds headed for the finish line.

“Good,” I thought, “she won’t want to stop and chat.”

Wrong. She halted long enough to ask what time my son’s group went out so she figure out what hole her child was on. Her parting words to me were,

“Isn’t it cold today? I should have worn my parka that I wear when I visit my older son who’s going to school at Harvard. I’ve gotta go find my younger son who’s a really good player and won the _______ tournament last May.”

As she left, I thought, that’s nice that her son’s at an Ivy League university and her other one’s a great player; no doubt she’s proud, but why tell me? I’ll never see her again. I vowed not to give out so much information to people I don’t know. It sounds so unnecessary.

Fast forward to the end of Hole 5, minutes later.

I’m standing at the putting green with what appears to be a fatherly type. We exchange greetings. Then I notice the name on his hat. I say,

“Butch? It’s me, Keli. You used to be my son’s golf coach.”

He says hello and we make small talk until he asks who my son’s current coach is. Plagued by a sudden attack of guilt for no longer using Butch as teacher, I suddenly share too much information as to why Son stopped seeing him, revealing a few unnecessary details that I’m certain my son would not have appreciated. I feel tarnished. As I turn away, Butch responds that he now works at an elite golf training center with elite junior golfers and charges elite prices. I leave, wishing him great success, but feeling like I wish I’d kept my mouth closed and avoided interaction.

Every time I talk too much, I feel like I’ve given a piece of myself away. For free. This is especially true when talking to virtual strangers; people that don’t even know my name. My son had very good reasons for switching golf coaches; it didn’t require explaining, nor did Butch ask for one. I volunteered in a wild effort to smooth out barely perceptible wrinkles. In short, I was the one going a bit crazy.

Researchers claim talking too much can increase anxiety, depression and most importantly, stupidity.  We instantly see how unbecoming it is when others say too much; there’s no reason for us to do the same. Oversharing results from underthinking which is the shortest path to stupidity.

Think first, last and always.


Talking to Yourself Out Loud: Stupidity?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Do you talk to yourself? Is talking to yourself a characteristic of stupidity? It all depends on how and where you do the talking.

I’ve been known to talk to myself. Out loud. I don’t mumble either; I speak quite clearly. I find that it helps me to remember little things and to solve personal dilemmas. I know I’m doing it. And I don’t have a problem with it. As long as I do so when no one else is around. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

I once engaged in a heated exchange with myself about a stuper (short for a distinctly stupid person) when a man suddenly appeared a few feet away from me, raptly listening to my solo conversation. In my defense, I was out walking in dense fog (the kind where, if I dropped my cell phone, I’d have to get down on all fours and bravely feel around for it).

At first, I was mortified. Had the eavesdropper heard the part where I wanted to tie one end of a rope to a chair to which the stuper was handcuffed, and tie the other end to the bumper of a four-wheel drive monster truck that I would then drive over jagged edged boulders at high speeds? All this in a herculean effort to get the stuper to put her brain to use or at least donate it to scientific stuper research. I was subjected to some heavy squinting and blinking by the suddenly appearing man as he vainly searched for the party with whom I was having said conversation.

After this incident, I kept my talking out loud to a minimum or at least within the confines of my car or home where such behavior is not totally unexpected.

I came across a woman in a grocery store yesterday who not only talked to herself out loud, but did it so others had to be involved as well.

“Don’t the pears look good?” “Should I buy some cereal?” “How about that coconut cake?” (take note, dear readers, everything is in the form of a question. A telltale sign of stupidity).

Then she decided to pull random audience members into her monologue.

“What time is it?” she yelled to no one in particular.

I heard a nearby man answer her, “Uh, it’s 4:10.”

Which made me wonder, “Are they together?” (to myself, not aloud).

They were not together, and she proceeded in this manner for the duration of her shopping.

“Where’s the bread?” she inquired, looking around her.

A kindly, elderly shopper replied, “Aisle four, I think.”

This woman was not insane. She happened to check out the same time as I did; I noticed that she managed a fairly normal conversation with the cashier. She just hadn’t mastered the art of not talking to herself loudly in public places. To do this, a trained mind is required. An aware, active mind that’s not easily distracted. All stupers need to do is to try to think more than they talk. Or simply to try to think. This starts with keeping the mouth closed and the mind open, and choosing which thoughts to include and which to discard. Only then will we be rid of counterfeit humans.



Stupidity and Professors Who Don’t Use Spell Check/Should be able to Spell By Now

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Before Son #2, who is still in high school, could take an art appreciation class at the local community college, he needed to pass an English examination, as did all students not enrolled in the college. Unfortunately, the professor of this class did not need to take such an exam, and it showed. Here’s an assignment Professor Wheezledorf passed out:


I perfer you view a peice of artwork for a few minutes before you write down your preception. Use seperete peices of paper for each peice you write about.

Bohemian-artistic-rebellious type, government experiment or stuper (short, as you all well know by now, for a volcanically stupid person)? Either way, a college professor of any subject should at least have mastered spell-check, if not spelling basic words themselves, for heaven’s sake.

Not everyone can spell well, and that’s fine, especially if you have a learning disorder such as dyslexia; but it is not okay if you’re a chronic misspeller who works as a teacher responsible for teaching, of all things, students. Stuper teachers should use spell-check, enlist the help of a dictionary or a non-stuper who can spell ( I hear they’re quite prevalent).

Professor Wheezledorf is no foreigner; English is his first language, and he appears to have reached the ripe old age of forty which should translate into having acquired at least enough knowledge to snugly fit into a kidney shaped swimming pool that was all the rage in the San Fernando Valley in the seventies when I was a wee tot. If you, dear readers, can provide me with a legitimate excuse for his chronic misspelling, do tell, as I’m always on the lookout to gain better understanding.

If we can travel to the moon, invent post-its and use a hammer without smashing more than one finger, can’t stupers make an effort to spell words that they regularly use? It’s been said that spelling is one of the outward and visible marks of a disciplined mind. Dogged misspelling by a teacher is the obvious mark of a moronic mind.

Keep thinking.