Archive for April, 2009

Stupidity and Mass E-mail Forwarding

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I’m trying to set a world’s record for fastest deleter of unwanted, annoying, highly irritating forwarded mass e-mails sent by a stuper (short, once more, for an earnestly stupid person). So far, I’m deleting each forwarded message at a rate of .08 seconds. Not quite fast enough.

My cousin, Penny, is a serial e-mail forwarder. I’ve been receiving moronic missives from her daily for a very long time. Years, in fact. She averages four per day. Most are of an extremely, one-sided political, cultural and/or social nature.  They contain soul-diminishing subject matter: the depressing state of the economy, latest illnesses and statistics for catching them, petitions to sign critiquing politicians, threatening chain letters that ensure the attainment of love, luck and friendship in life only if forwarded to at least ten unsuspecting people, and finally, my least favorite: prayer requests for non-existent children suffering from lethal diseases. Thanks to, I’ve discovered most of these e-mails are figments of careless imaginations with far too much time to waste.

I accidentally opened one of Penny’s e-mails today because it was addressed to only me. I incorrectly assumed it was not a mass forward.  But it was just my very own personal, individualized version, asking me in capital letters to forward it to one and all.

I was disgusted, and my face displayed an unattractive grimace for quite some time afterward. So long in fact, that I found my usually stalwart, guard dog quality German Shepherd, Barbie, (this is the real Barbie, by the way, at seven months) staring at me, puzzled and slightly fearful that my face had undergone a sudden, drastic and very unbecoming change. Fortunately, I managed to completely wipe away all traces of said grimace.

Why do stupers spread untruths? Is this yet another case of looking outward so they don’t have to search within a mind that is out of whack anyway? I think a better question would be what can we, as intelligent, thinking beings do when stupidity raises its wobbly head in this manner?

If you’re like me, your first inclination may be to send each and every one of your 1486 pieces of spam mail (including the 459 “urgent and confidential” notifications from the Netherlands and Nigeria informing you that you’ve miraculously won the lottery despite never having purchased a ticket) to Penny. That ought to keep her occupied for a while. Calling her and screaming might give me some temporary satisfaction, but I know it would leave Penny feeling, well…none too happy. Hurt feelings would be guaranteed.

I informed her that I don’t have the time to read her forwards. She replied,

“No problem. I’ll send them just in case.”

I’ve known Penny for most of my life, so I have access to the potential reasons for her inane forwarding habit.  Her own reality is problem ridden. I’m not making excuses; but I am seeking understanding so that I can leave her be and shed my annoyance at the same time.

Some of us jog, smoke, paint, meditate, read or talk to a therapist to relieve ourselves (at least momentarily) of unwanted baggage or issues. Penny forwards mass e-mails.  And I will continue to ignore them to maintain my sanity.

Thinking is an effort.


Stupidity and Pedestrians

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

It appears that the vast majority of stupidity takes place while we are in or around motor vehicles. Even merely being near a car can promote idiocy.

For instance, when most of us, and I include myself in this popular category, place our vehicles in reverse in order to back out of a parking space, we typically crane our necks to carefully check behind and around us, ensuring the safety and well-being of those traveling on foot. But what if those foot travelers turn out to be stupers (short, yet again, for fundamentally stupid persons)? Should we continue to keep our cars in reverse? If so, would we be justified in embarking on a vigilante mission to annihilate stupers who obviously act stupidly? Or should we slam on the brakes, shake our heads in wonder and later entertain others with yet another tale of the stupid among us?

As I cautiously backed out of a parking space the other day, I noticed two pedestrians approaching my car; a husband and wife team, wearing identical striped shirts and jeans. They were clearly foreign tourists; perhaps that would explain the identical get-ups.

By foreign, I don’t mean they were from Tallapoosa, Alabama or Bunkie, Louisiana. I mean they were likely visitors from a different continent.

They rapidly walked toward me. The husband, as expected, passed in front of my car, safely and sanely. The wife, clearly a newly anointed daredevil or recent lobotomy recipient, decided to dash behind my car, almost touching it, totally oblivious to the fact that my vehicle was locked in motion. The most astonishing fact was that she never once flinched or turned her head, but kept looking straight ahead, without any expression. My slamming on the brakes went unnoticed. She was not visibly blind or deaf or dumb.

How do we respond to such blatant stupidity? If it brings us a sense of relief, it’s okay to react briefly. Expletives are always optional, depending on your comfort level and personality type.

“Hey you (*(#&@_!  You blind?”

Or, as I prefer, we remain calm, go home and throw a barbecue where we stage a reenactment for loved ones and close friends,  depicting what actually happened, what could have happened and/or what we would have liked to happen, regaling our amused audience with how we kept a cool head all the while. Laughter is so much more becoming than anger.

Think first, last and all of the time.


Stupidity Moves Over For The Spare Wife Book Tour

Monday, April 20th, 2009

You’ve no doubt heard of ex-wives, trophy wives and old wives. How about spare wives? Thanks to the wonderful ladies at MotherTalk, Project Manager Ashley Tedder in particular, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to review The Spare Wife by Alex Witchel, for my dear readers.

If you’ve ever longed to spy on residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side while they indulge in lavish parties, illicit affairs, infertility issues and general feckless caprice, this book’s for you. Gorgeous ex-model turned attorney now wealthy widow Ponce Morris, becomes The Spare Wife, acting as ideal companion, party thrower and loyal hand holder to her high-maintenance, overly sensitive and mostly superficial friends, also known as New York’s powerful, upper class (excuse me while I take a deep breath). These are friends whom Ponce has bonded with over countless gallons of champagne. Forty-two-year old Ponce appears flawless as she effortlessly manages other people’s lives; totally and unselfishly dedicated to helping her pals. Or is she?

Young, ambitious journalist, Babette Steele (also a beauty, naturally) is determined to reveal Ponce’s Achilles’ heel: her affair with a very married man who is also a prominent (and quite handsome – again, naturally) physician. Babette epitomizes the multi-tasker because she is bent on exposing Ponce while Babette herself is coming out of her own illicit love affair. Babette’s goals are twofold: to make a name for herself in a trendy, huge national publication (so what else is new?) and/or to snag an older, stunningly wealthy husband.

Sound promising? I thought so.  And it is, with just a few caveats: if you’re expecting new insights, you’re better off reading something by the Dali Lama; The Spare Wife is about the predictable evolution of mostly superficial souls. And this book shoehorns a story that requires patience for the first 140 pages as the cast of characters and cameos are multitudinous and hard to keep track of. I considered using a Venn diagram listing the many names to figure out who fit where. For instance, readers are told,

“Ponce is really an imaginary friend for the middle-aged man,” one guest notes. “She watches football with Stan Crandall, while Bitsy reads magazines in bed and thanks God she doesn’t have to; she plays golf with George Stein, because Carol only likes tennis; and not only does she go to Knicks games with Larry DeLynn but she lets him eat as many hot dogs as he wants and never tells Lila, who forbids him to have nitrates.”

The problem: none of those named immediately above appear in the story.  Pushing the first half of the book aside, it gains speed the moment Babette accidentally discovers Ponce’s affair and decides to unveil it….in a big way. This is where the tale suddenly lurches forward.

If you’re looking for a satirical, fairly fast-moving, entertaining read, this is it. There’s revenge, compassion, adultery and forgiveness scattered about. The Spare Wife is unsparing in providing a fun read.

Thanks again, MotherTalk!

Keep thinking.


Hospital Stays and Stupidity

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

For the past almost two weeks, I’ve been at the bedside of X, a loved one, during an extended hospital stay for a fever of undetermined origin. My main role, as my dear readers may imagine, was to keep the stupers (short for disarmingly stupid persons) at bay. Incidentally, X is now fine and home.

This hospital is world renowned and justifiably so. Traveling harpists float serenely from room to room entertaining forlorn patients, while the walls and corridors (of which there are many) practically burst with colorful pieces from Picasso to Frank Sinatra.

I’m happy to report that the physicians were exceptional; mostly concerned, cautious and vigilant at exercising thought before acting. However, here’s the problem: the number of doctors and residents attending each patient daily, is enough to successfully wage war against the city of Harmony, California (population 18). At any given time, there could be eight people in a patient’s room. And they didn’t communicate with each other. Add to that, the social worker, nurses, nurses-in-training, nurse’s assistants, menu planner, meal deliverers, blood drawers, room cleaners, transporters (not the Jason Statham variety, but the kind who chauffeur patients in gurneys to travel from floor to floor), and helpful volunteers, and suddenly the odds favor stupidity.

For instance, on Day 5, I decided I would no longer argue with overzealous residents who ordered chest x-rays with wild abandon. I decided to be quiet that day. Either that or explode with revolutionary outrage.  Apparently, my silence caused great worry. The social worker (who’d been keeping a close eye on me for days) feverishly raced up to ask if I was okay. I nodded. Then Dr. B (in charge of the resident team) who’d overheard the social worker, asked if I was certain I was really and truly okay. I told him I was rock solid. His response,

“Nobody is that solid. You really should seek some help.”

I absolutely did feel solid. Did I need help? I’d shoved aside inaccurate diagnoses and predictions of dire illnesses as being the cause of the fever and still managed to keep my head, even though such pessimism caused me great distress. Just how well did Dr B know me, anyhow? Did I show signs of strain? Or sure, my nail polish was beginning to chip, and I did wear the same red Lacoste shirt two days in a row, but I felt fine and knew the situation would soon be over.

Two days later, a virus was found to be the culprit and the Infectious Disease Specialist (whose very voice oozed calm and comfort) announced that X could go home. However, X did not go home because the other groups and specialists took three more days to reach agreement that X really could leave.

Was this stupidity or an acute state of caution? Does it really matter? What does matter is the ability to remain attuned to what’s important and to act accordingly.  If we act self-righteously, which I’m afraid I am guilty as charged whenever I believe that I know all, or if we constantly shift values to fit what we want, then we are not using our minds properly.



Stupidity Calls Me Away

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

My apologies, dear readers, for not assisting you lately in maintaining your sanity against random, irritating and sometimes unbelievable acts of stupidity, but I was called away on an emergency and hope to return in a few days with plenty of tales of stupidity. Thank you for your patience and until then,

Keep thinking!