Archive for June, 2009

Chickens Prove I’m not Always Smart or My Own Stupidity

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

I discovered that my chickens are smarter than I am. That does not bode well with me. I have college and graduate school degrees. I speak 2.75 languages (meaning besides the two languages in which I am fluent, I speak enough French and Spanish to order a glass of mineral water in a small, uncrowded European cafe). I know how to color coordinate clothes.  And I am capable of realizing that I should feel full after eating three slices of lemon meringue pie. But still, my chickens are smarter than I am.

I feed them every morning. I give them water. All I expect in return, are a few eggs now and then. They’ve been fairly cooperative. But one hen, Coco, feeling rather broody, gathered sixteen eggs beneath her bottom when I turned away for a few moments. Then another hen, Ethel, climbed into an adjacent nesting box in a concerted attempt to monopolize all eggs.

Although their nesting boxes are separated by a two inch high wall, these hens managed to drive me crazy with their silly chicken games. One morning, I’d arrive to find Coco with ten eggs beneath her and Ethel with six; the next day, Coco sat on two with eight under Ethel and so on. When I dared reprimand them, they gave me the evil eye, throwing me looks that said,

“Don’t even think of touching these eggs or you’ll be at the bottom of our pecking order.”

Idle threats.

After two weeks of this nonsense (or hensense, in this case), I announced to my family that I planned on collecting all coop eggs and tossing them. These hens’ behavior was not conducive to hatching chicks. They’re idiot hens, I said.

“Doesn’t it take three weeks to hatch a chicken egg?” Son #2 reminded me. “Can’t you just give them another week?”

I caved in, knowing full well that there’d be no chicks. The same thing happened last year.

Early one chilly morning, as trooper and family feeder, I stumbled out to the chicken area for the feeding. As usual, I peeked inside the coop to exchange dirty looks with the hens, but they ignored me. Instead a tiny gray head, no bigger than my thumbnail, stared back, covering me with a thin film of guilt.  A beautiful little chick. I thought I knew.

I rarely periodically jump to conclusions about people and situations. It is the habit that’s hardest for me to break.  You’d think I’d know by now that thoughts should be weighed carefully before being expressed, with wisdom and understanding. Giving careful consideration to our thoughts prevents us from acting like or even becoming stupers (short, as most of you know, for unjustifiably stupid persons).



Stupidity Can Be Cruel

Friday, June 26th, 2009

People can be cruel. Of course, there are two kinds of people I speak of: the stuper (short, as the vast majority of you know, for undeniably stupid persons) and the malicious (these persons require intent, which is a state of mind; something the idle mind lacks).

My fascination with Michael Jackson began in the seventies when I happened to ride up a Las Vegas elevator with Michael and two of his bros.  No words were exchanged, but he smiled mischievously like some one about to pull a prank, and appeared very self-assured to my young eyes.

Decades later, we lived in the same community; I saw him once in a while and heard stories from locals who’d met him. Every tale told was only of his kindness, generosity, and utter lack of stupidity. Two young teens, friends of Son #1, once excitedly described how Michael offered them a ride during a particularly rainy day when they were stuck walking home. He drove them to their destinations and extended an invitation to his Neverland Ranch.

Local schools and organizations received frequent invitations to his home. If someone needed a charitable hand, he was quick to offer it. He’d stop by the small shops and go on mini sprees, again, always courteous and gracious to employees, many of whom were astonished at his lack of pretension. During a surrealistic moment, I spotted Michael driving on a lonely country road, one white gloved hand gripping the wheel, Mack truck size bodyguard squeezed into the passenger seat.

When he was accused of heinous acts, all of this stopped as he became increasingly reclusive. He was found guilty by stupers, long before any trial. Michael became the butt of unkind jokes by the very idiots who claimed to admire him just a short time before. I remember Judy, the original stuper, making numerous cracks about Michael Jackson, before she finally deflated, and was found lying in a heap on a corner of one of our intersections while on her way to the bank. But really, it was Michael’s enormous talent that lay crumpled and discarded, showing up now and then only in remote settings.

I have no idea of knowing whether the crimes allegedly committed by him were real or not, but I know his talent was. His music and dancing brought the world to its feet.

Keep thinking.


Dialing Stupidity

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Do you like to gamble? I don’t. Unless I use some one else’s money. Like the time my mom and I went to the nearest Native American (notice I didn’t say “Indian” or “Injun,” as I strive to be politically correct) Gaming Casino and used their money. The Casino gave $100 credit to anyone who joined their “club.” We did, and we each spent $100 of their money and walked out with our self control intact and $140 cash to split between us. Had it been our money, we would have lost $60. This way, we gained $140. That’s the way I like it. Mom really liked it too.

But I do gamble with stupers (short for irrepressibly stupid persons, as you well know by now).

Mom wanted me to sign her up to for a seminar that she’s attended every year for the past ten years.  I’m in charge of taking care of the details for her.

I typically sign her up online. But when the online form malfunctions, I have to call and talk to a live, but not necessarily, mentally functioning, person, ie, a stuper. When I called last week, the online system was down. I placed a telephone call.

The first customer service representative, who sounded like she’d been smoking for fifty-five years, told me that the only way to enroll was to fax in the forms. Forms available on a website that wasn’t operational. I called again. The second representative sighed deeply, then begged me to try again later. The next one promptly hung up on me, clearly insulted by my request for assistance, but #4 asked,

“Would you like me to do it for you, right now?”

Bingo! I hit the jackpot.

Persistence and patience pay off when you’re forced to deal with stupidity.

Control your mind.


Stupidity and Bagging Groceries

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Husband (H) takes extreme care in selecting apricots to buy from the store. He examines each individual fruit, sniffing the neighboring air for the right scent and gently prodding to make sure they’re on the very cusp of ripeness, without blemish or visible scar. Only then are they edible. He’s trained our sons to appreciate the barely ripe as well. Anything more or less is eaten by me, the most easygoing family member.

As I stood with H to buy the apricots and a few other items, we chatted, paying little attention to the cashier and bagger.

Once home, H raised his arms to the ceiling and wailed in anger as he unpacked the groceries. His beloved apricots had been shoved down…way down below weighty cans of tomato sauce, oversize peanut butter jars, then crowned by a gallon of milk. They were squished beyond recognition. As you may imagine, we’d been bagged by a stuper (short yet again, for an unpredictably stupid person).

H stormed away, ready to march back to the market, but I stopped him, offering to go in his place. I promised to channel him when choosing the next batch of apricots and to properly oversee the bagging. After all, I am the stupidity specialist, and I was craving a slice of Coconut Cream Cake from the store bakery.

I picked out a few items, including the apricots, and got in line. A youngish bagger showed up to help. As I watched him toss the apricots in the bottom of the bag, I quickly offered,

“I’ll do that.”

He shrugged unhelpfully and took off. I took over. As I did my own righteous bagging job, another bagger, Mindy, appeared, and asked if I wanted help.

“No, thank you,” I said, and patiently explained the process, step by step, to Mindy, as if I were an aged, wise, philosophical bagging master, well versed in the meticulous placement of all food items, hoping beyond hope, that my model bagging would open a whole new world for moronic store workers so they’d never again return to the sloppy, haphazard, eggs-belong-at-the-very-bottom type of slouch bagging job.

Sure enough, the next time H and I shopped in the store, Mindy, the willing absorber of my bagging wisdom, picked up our items to place in our bag. H was about to snarl tell her quite firmly about the correct placement of delicate fruit, when I lay my hand gently on his muscular forearm. I subtly shook my head. H frowned fiercely, but kept quiet.

Mindy bagged with great care. A surprised H approved.

We can either get frustrated and angry when dealing with stupidity, which only undermines our personal satisfaction and wastes our time when we could be doing something more constructive like eating a delicious slice of coconut cream cake, or we can attempt to set an example that may possibly be transmitted to the unoccupied idiot mind and mimicked a la monkey see monkey do. A remote chance of converting a stuper is better than no chance at all. 

I can only point the way, Grasshopper. You must walk the path yourself ~ Master Po  

Don’t stop thinking.


Stupidity at Rock Concerts

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I enjoy concerts. I really do. Except when I sit next to a stuper (short, once again, for a disastrously stupid person). When this happens, I find my enjoyment trickling away like the beads on a broken strand of pearls around the neck of a heavy, yet quite active, sleeper.

My last concert was at the Hollywood Bowl. I sat next to a stuper whose posterior appeared to equal the size of Lake Huron, the second largest of the Great Lakes. Every time he stood up to…shall we call it dance?…to the music, I found myself in a sort of a pillow fight except instead of pillows, there was a fat bottom swaying to and fro next to me, using my left side as a bouncing board. Ironic because the group I was watching was singing Queens’ Fat-bottom girls.

I was more entertained by my bench mate than by the well known group on stage. I say “entertained” because I’m feeling kindly at the moment. Generous even. If not for my current mood, I’d say I was repulsed by this idiot’s uneven, crazed hippopotamus-like movements without thought to adjacent revelers who were still sober and trying desperately to enjoy the concert. I don’t like being jabbed in the ribs by strangers’ behinds, however cushiony these behinds may be.

I tapped him on the shoulder and asked that he stay on his side, drawing a line with a black Sharpie across the bench for emphasis. Silly me. He grinned broadly and proceeded to lift his bottom up and down in time to the music, forcing all on the same flimsy bench to momentarily levitate an inch or so each time he crash landed.

Fortunately for me, I carry a handbag, as some of my readers may recall, the size of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. I planted said handbag which was stuffed with snacks, blankets, jackets and 1.5 liter size water bottles for my party of four, between me and Mr. Hippo. When Mr. Hippo realized he no longer had room to land, he moved away. In fact, he and his entire family of five hippos moved away to a nearby empty bench. Peace was restored and I enjoyed the concert.

I love large handbags. My secret weapon.

Think first. It may be too late to think later.


Repeat Stupidity

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Once I’m done with a stuper (short for an unsparingly stupid person), I’m pretty much done. I don’t expect, encourage or incite any further contact.  However, yesterday at the Farmer’s Market, I found myself standing next to the ghastly Kimmie.

I did something I never do; I stared, hoping that if I kept my eyes on her long enough, I’d bore a hole into her empty head and poof! She’d vanish! And I’d wake up, with a vague headache, from my stuper nightmare. But Kimmie refused to disappear.

Kimmie is the one who, my readers with a photographic memory may recall, candidly informed me that because my Son #2 attends a “bogus” high school, he would not be accepted into any colleges. Those prophetic words were uttered during a holiday gathering in which I was forced to share a table with the inane Kimmie. Her so called knowledge blossomed from her expertise as a former high school guidance counselor. By former, I mean in the eighties.

I was about to shake a clenched fist in front of Kimmie’s face when she rudely interrupted two nearby shoppers to explain to them what yarrow was, an herb apparently near and dear to Kimmie’s heart, and one she was about to purchase. Observing that she was not only an expert on college acceptances but yarrow as well, I walked away thinking fatalistically that if I was meant to interact with this stuper again, I’d be given a second chance.

As I was about to leave the Farmer’s Market, I ran into …Tommy Aldridge, major drumming sensation with Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and Ted “I love the NRA” Nugent. I’d interviewed Tommy a few years ago for a newspaper piece and bumped into him every now and then. He is no Kimmie. Though an expert and a much in demand drummer, he is no pseudo know-it-all. He is no stuper.

Just when I thought it was safe to leave, Kimmie showed up again. It seemed almost providential.

“Hi, Kimmie!” I said, smiling.

Kimmie looked at me, totally perplexed, as stupers are wont to look. Six months ago, we sat and talked for a long time; there was no reason for her to forget me, short of insanity…or stupidity. Such was the case. Because try as she might, Kimmie had no idea who I was or any recollection of my son’s “bogus” high school education. I wanted so much to tell that in fact, Son had been accepted to every university he’d applied to, and settled on my alma mater, UCLA. Just as I was about to give up, Kimmie claimed she remembered something; she proceeded to tell me about her life as a teacher and high school counselor. Again. She was still talking up a storm when I left.

There are only two people stupers are interested in: I and me. Meaning themselves. Since I fell in neither category, I never existed in Kimmie’s world. Or maybe I just had a really abbreviated shelf-life.

We’re living among impostors. They’re not aliens, though they might as well be. They’re counterfeit humans. Complete idiots. They may look like you and me…well, maybe not as attractive… but they are not like the rest of us. They refuse to use their minds.

To maintain our sanity, we must avoid the stupid among us and/or not allow them to seep beneath our skin. We must control our thoughts. Thought is not a vague, uncontrollable quality, but a function of a working mind. It’s awareness and experience wrapped up together to provide us with mental power. How we use it.. or don’t,  is up to us.

Viva la thinkers!


Stupidity Can Be Helped… or Can It?

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

There are things that just can’t be helped: shoelaces coming untied while jogging (if you’re like me and don’t do Velcro); bad hair days (for those of us with somewhat longish, wild and untameable hair); bird poop on the windshield of a freshly cleaned car (that’s not even parked beneath a bird hotel disguised as a tree); and picking the slowest moving line to wait in at the retail chain store, behind a sweet little old lady (whose sweetness rapidly diminishes the moment she decides to pay using change she’s stored up in the bottom of her purse since 1967).

Then there are the things that can be helped, but usually aren’t…by stupers (short for undeniably stupid persons): How about thinking and using awareness and not multi-tasking while operating a motor vehicle? Or actually listening to the speaker during a conversation without interrupting to switch to a topic that you find far more interesting and coincidentally is all about you? And standing way too close to a polite listener who keeps inching backwards in a valiant but feeble effort to escape?

Most disorders do have treatments; there are drugs for high blood pressure, relief for the cold and flu and paper bags for panic attacks. Yet all stupidity requires the stuper to do is think before acting or speaking, thereby avoiding making those around them severely irritated. Yet for most stupers, this is about as possible as playing leapfrog in quicksand.

Stupers are one of life’s stuperficial aspects. As the wise Jeffrey Moses states in his wonderful little book, Oneness: Great Principles Shared by All Religions, “when looking at ancient buildings and monuments, we see that decorations and ornaments have vanished. Only foundations and central pillars remain.” And so it is with people. There are occassions in life where we have to draw from our inner strength in an always changing world. We need to look inward to discover and appreciate what we value in life. How can we possibly accomplish this if we are fitted with a functioning mind that we refuse to use?

Life’s tough. It’s even tougher when you’re stupid ~ John Wayne

Think for yourself.


Celebrity Stupidity

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Sightings of celebrities acting stupidly are really not everyday occurrences, unless you happen to live in Southern California and be a stuper (short for a phenomenally stupid person)-magnet, like myself. When we think of idiot celebs, we generally gravitate towards the same old name. You know who I’m talking about: on the youngish side, blond, most unfortunately female, leaves thimble size dog with pet-sitter, then forgets after thirty seconds and reports the dog missing, and finally, can’t remember the name of the city hosting the Eiffel Tower although her own name is Paris.

On my last trip to Los Angeles, my stupid celebrity sighting was a little bit more of a surprise. Maybe.

I’m waiting on the corner with Son #2, about to take both our lives in our hands to cross Wilshire freaking Blvd. Even though there’s a signal and a crosswalk, motorists get really peeved with peds who take both the green okay-to-start-walking light and the crosswalk seriously.  When the light turns green and we dare to cross, inevitably we are honked at 300 times by drivers itching to make a turn with only our bodies blocking their way.

This time around, I’m sharp eyed; maternal protector instinct in full throttle. I eye the four way stop, ready to sprint across when I notice a guy across from us, on a side street, about to jay-walk. First thing that catches my eye is the fabulous mop of hair on him. Whoa. But then I wonder,

“Isn’t that Dustin Hoffman?”

Son looks clueless, as Mr. Hoffman, being a somewhat elderly gent in Son’s eyes, has never before been seen by Son.  We watch Dustin nearly get run over from his jay-walking stint. Then he waits directly across from us for the light to change while I continue to admire his luxurious silver locks.

The light barely turns green before Dustin steps onto the treacherous, action packed Wilshire Blvd., and just as quickly as he steps into the crosswalk, Dustin maneuvers out of it and onto the path of cars making a left turn. He is honked at and flipped off and nearly hit before he hastily performs a little jig back into the safety of the crosswalk. Ever the entertainer. Son is amused.

I eyed Dustin as we passed, giving him the once over. Pupils appeared normal; lips not excessively dry; eyebrows only subtly plucked; complexion really enviable; jeans and light blue, long sleeved shirt match nicely; no overt signs of drug induced insanity. I think maybe he’s a native New Yorker, possessing the dominant gene directing him to disregard traffic laws, but then I remember that like the Western Sycamore, he’s a So Cal native. The only explanation left was stupidity, and the inane desire of some celebs to be seen and/or heard at all costs.

I threw a glance back at him as we parted; he waited for a car to turn into an alley while fluffing his gorgeous hair. Appropriate, don’t you think?

Keep thinking.