Archive for July, 2009

The Silver Lining in the Current Economy or Doing Away with Stupidity

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

We read and hear daily about the cheerless state of our nation’s economy. What we’re not told is that there is a silver lining. I know because I’ve been the recipient of this recent benefit not once, not twice, but three times this past weekend. And as you may have guessed, this silver lining has to do with stupers (short, yet again, for significantly stupid persons).

As most of you well know, Home Depot has been adamant in its refusal to provide customer service. Trying to find an employee, let alone a helpful, thinking employee is like trying to locate the Batcave (Batman’s sought after secret headquarters). It ain’t gonna happen. I’m happy to report that to remain competitively in business, Home Depot has initiated a policy of not hiring idiots. I believe their corporate headquarters contain these very, if not similar, words in their instructions to the Human Resources Department: “THE HIRING OF STUPERS IS NO LONGER CONDONED.”

I strolled into a Home Depot to check out their potted plant selection.

The moment I stepped into the store, four helpful, happy employees greeted me, begging to be of service.

“How can we help you?’

“Thank you, but I see the orchids right over there…” I pointed to a spot about twenty feet away.

Nevertheless, one employee accompanied me in case I had questions; she helped me lift various pots and tried desperately to recall the instructions for the proper care of these delicate exotics.

Stunned, I next went to the bank; Wells Fargo, to be precise. Once again, upon entry, an overjoyed greeting committee welcomed me. I swear one of them looked to be the Bank President. They fervently thanked me for my business. I muttered,

“Um, I’m just withdrawing thirty dollars…”

They continued to thank me.

The teller was extremely helpful. He didn’t ask the usual idiotic questions, such as,

“Don’t you want to upgrade your account to executive level? Don’t you want another ATM card? Don’t you want…?” This is usually where they stop after I holler a resounding, “NO!”

As I left, the Bank President shook my hand; I swear he wanted to slip me a twenty just for coming in.

Finally, I went to Macy’s, the hit or miss store. Once again, not even a hint of stupidity. I found a worker to help me in record time. Before I could utter…

“Is there someone who…”

I heard,

“Here I am!” by a delighted employee.

To be successful in any venture, it is of utmost importance not to behave stupidly and to actively utilize one’s mind. Taking this one necessary step further, the same goes for employees, who act as extensions of the store management. If management wants to be regarded as intelligent, useful beings, they must hire the same. Then success is practically guaranteed.

Why not think?


Judging Stupidity

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Yesterday, I had more than my fair share of stupidity. Even a stupidity specialist such as myself can get bombarded now and then. First, a legendary literary agent informed me the idea for my blog is “cute,” but the writing didn’t “appeal him.” Okay, I know he meant “appeal to him,”  but really, how challenging was it to insert the small preposition “to” in an eighteen word sentence? I took this quite personally and had to soundly stamp him a stuper (short for an overtly stupid person).  After all, anyone who’s been dealing with the business of words for many decades, should make a small effort to utilize said words with greater care and accuracy. I was highly offended.

Secondly, I made the mistake of calling the US District Court office in Los Angeles with the intent of speaking to a real, live clerk about a question their website didn’t answer. I dialed the number provided for additional information and/or questions, innocently believing my simple inquiry of “Do you need a resume attached to your judicial application?” would be ably answered.

I, naturally, encountered a recording. Was the recording helpful, you may politely ask? About as helpful as tying a piece of thread to a doorknob during a windstorm and then attempting to use the thread to shut the door while standing fifteen feet away. The recorded voice read, verbatim, at an exceedingly slow pace, the exact verbiage appearing on the website, pausing at all punctuation marks for added emphasis or so the tortured listener could run and brew a cup of coffee without missing a word.

Not to worry, dear readers; I’m not applying for a judgeship. I was testing the waters on behalf of a friend. I wouldn’t make a good judge. Anyone who remotely resembled a stuper would automatically be given the death penalty which would unnecessarily clog our appeals courts. It would be a lot of fun though.

Idiocy and annoying thoughts cause a great commotion in our minds. All the more reason to work hard at remaining unruffled. Now if I can only take my own advice…

Why not think?


Stupidity and Nosy Neighbors

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

As I stood watering the small flowerbed by my mailbox, I felt an irritating tingle in my left shoulder. It wasn’t poor circulation or a sudden rash from a chigger bite (see glamour shot above). To confirm my suspicions, I rotated my neck, owl style, and looked behind me. A stuper (short, once more, for a gregariously stupid person) rapidly approached, leaving me no time to take cover. My little voice said, ‘drop the hose and sprint full speed down the driveway.’ But my reasoning mind reminded me of the foolishness of such a feat; I wore sandals and my two, large dogs eagerly awaited my arrival behind the entry gate. They take great pride in their well honed ability to trot in a carefully calculated crisscross pattern in front of me when I run, barking gleefully while they trip me up. Too late. My nosy neighbor, Mike, arrived. He announced,

“I think the Dutton’s place is going into foreclosure.”

Keeping my head down, I continued to water while edging toward my gate. He continued speaking,

“What happened to your red pick-up? I don’t see it anymore.”

“It’s around here somewhere,” I replied unhelpfully.

“You hear the music from the Jones’ place yesterday? I called the cops to come out and put a stop to it.” Mike rocked back and forth on his heels, truly proud of his humanitarian effort.

“What?” I asked, turning toward him, hose in hand. “The band was practicing at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Their music was awesome. They weren’t disturbing anyone. ”

“Yeah, well, you know, I’m a good neighbor, but that kind of stuff isn’t tolerated around here.”

I am always astonished at how idiots pretend to be instant spokespersons on behalf of the world around them. Mike said,

“You know the kinds of guys in bands; druggies and degenerates. Hey!”

“Oh, I am sorry!” I said, aiming the spewing hose water on Mike’s pants. “My hands are so slippery when wet.”

I have listened to Mike on numerous occasions, speaking unkindly of neighbors, offering too much personal information, then demanding the same in return. So the “hosing down” was long overdue.

Legal, readily available tools to stave off stupidity, such as a hose or other garden implement, are not always at our disposal, so it’s important to be able to deal with nosy neighbors’ inanity without losing our sanity. Here are some suggestions:

  • Run away while screaming like a banshee. That’ll give them something legit to talk about and possibly make them reconsider approaching you;
  • Try a reverse assault; ask questions and talk relentlessly until the stuper drops from sheer exhaustion. Of course, the downside is that you may drop from exhaustion first. This remedy is to be used only by those with colossal stamina for such encounters;
  • Start sneezing uncontrollably and directly at the stuper-in-question, throw in a few cough fits in between for added emphasis and if really motivated, feign imminent nausea; and
  • Ask them to pay into the neighborhood fund, explaining that you’ll be asking for money on a regular basis for neighborhood emergencies. If this one doesn’t keep them away, nothing will.

Just think.


Stupidity and Math

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Stupers (short, once again, for assuredly stupid persons) are not only incapable of listening, following directions, properly operating a motor vehicle, eating with their mouths closed and complex math problems, but their attempts to solve simplified math are akin to drilling holes in a block of cement…with a toothpick. It ain’t gonna happen. A calculator in the hands of an idiot only makes matters worse, guaranteeing a multitude of errors.

I received an e-mail from Wanda describing her unfortunate experience with a calculator-toting stuper:

Dear Keli,

I work as an editor of legal documents for a lawyer. I get paid $16/hr. Yesterday, I worked 2 1/2 hours and gave my boss an invoice for $40. Last night, she e-mailed me, saying that I overcharged her and should actually be paid $36.80. I e-mailed her back, explaining that one hour equals $16. Two hours equal $32, and another half an hour is $8, making the grand total $40. She responded, saying that she used a calculator and her total is correct. And she’s going to deduct it from my paycheck. Is this not a case of rip roarin’ stupidity? My boss does act stupidly now and then, but it usually doesn’t bother me. Unless it has to do with my paycheck! What should I do? 


Violence is not the answer. Even subtle hostility should not be used here without extensive training as fine timing is required. I plan to do a workshop on subtle hostility and stupidity in the near future.

Wanda indicated that although her boss typically performed idiotically, it was tolerable imbecility. That should be comforting to all of us. I would suggest Wanda arm herself with a calculator, make an appointment to see the boss, and give her a quick addition lesson, at the boss’s expense, of course. It appears to me the boss multiplied 16 by 2.3 instead of 2.5; the .5 equaling the half an hour. Alas, the boss mistook .3 for 30 minutes.

The amount involved may seem paltry, but who knows? $3.20 today may escalate into $320 tomorrow. Even calculators can’t do the thinking for idiots.

Mental training involves great effort; too much it seems for stupers. We must strive harder to train our minds to develop the best that is in each of us.

Don’t stop thinking.


Stupidity Pauses for a Book Tour – Return to Sullivans Island

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

I locked myself in the broom closet today, with one, brightly burning overhead bulb, to avoid all contact with stupers (short for peltingly stupid persons). I had to put aside my battles with stupidity so I could review Dorothea Benton Frank’s latest novel, Return to Sullivans Island.

If looks could kill, or should I say, if books could kill, this dust jacket would rub out quite a few readers. It is stunning and quite eye-catching; an author’s dream with Frank’s name set ablaze, top and center in brilliant red. The story itself is genial with many a charming moment sprinkled in this tale of twenty-three-year old Beth Hayes who craves adventure and independence, but is forced, arm-twisted politely requested by her elders to housesit the ancestral home on Sullivans Island, South Carolina while the rest of her clan take off for a year to pursue their own ambitions.

The story begins entertainingly enough: a bon voyage party is thrown, oddball relatives reunite and scatter in all directions afterward. Beth is left to fend for herself among the house ghosts (haints), which no one, including Beth and a few random house guests, seem to find too unnerving. Throw in a suave and dashing real estate developer who is really just a sleazy cad, a bevy of unexpected friends, a little deception by Beth herself and finally the curious death of one of Beth’s relatives, and you’ve got Return to Sullivan’s Island.

The book deals gently with fundamental issues such as celebrating family and misplaced trust and unabashedly desires to rouse the sentimentality in all of us. It’s easy to root for such amiable intentions.

If you’re in the mood for a fairly predictable, light-hearted beach read, you’ll find it in Return to Sullivans Island. Many thanks to the ladies at MotherTalk and especially to Project Manager, Lauren Sleeper, for giving me the opportunity to provide this review.

Don’t stop thinking!


When Stupidity Gives Advice, Find the Nearest Exit

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

If you live in the big city, I suggest carrying around earplugs or beeswax to promptly stick in your ears because chances are astronomical that you’ll encounter a talking stuper (short, as you all know, for a glaringly stupid person).

If you’ve forgotten to pack the plugs or wax, use your fingers. Believe me, you’ll be grateful you did. If your fingers are painstakingly manicured like mine, and you’re not particularly keen on sticking any fingers in your ears, or if your hands are otherwise occupied with squeezing a tomato, rummaging through a caboose-size handbag or beating up calming a hysterical tot in the midst of his fourth tantrum of the day, then I highly suggest wearing a sign, button or t-shirt that says,

“If you’re stupid, speak to me at your own risk.”

Intelligent, authentic humans reading these words will wink and nod at you in total  understanding. Idiots will hopefully pause their inane chatter long enough to attempt to read your warning, which means that you’ll be long gone before they open their mouths. This is why I can often be spotted walking at a brisk pace when my hands are full.

Alas, my dear friend, V, did not heed this advice when she decided to take her French Bulldog, Lulu, out for a walk. V lives in the big city, in a twelve story tall condo complex, which sits on a street frequented by about 200,000,000 vehicles daily.

Lulu was on a leash as they entered the building’s lobby. Four small dogs, also in the lobby, were unleashed. Two of them were well trained and belonged to V’s friend, Harvey. Those dogs sat and awaited orders. But the other pooches were frantically jumping around on their hind legs in a desperate attempt to imitate canine pogo sticks. Meanwhile, Lulu went crazy. She wanted off the leash to play with or possibly tear apart the two circus dogs. The owner of the circus dogs admonished V,

“You should never have your dog on a leash.”

Keep in mind, these words were uttered in a setting where the welcoming, wide-open lobby doors beckoning misbehaving, not too bright, off the leash, ADD dogs into chaotic midday traffic, were a mere ten feet away. This should have been a red flag for V to break out the earplugs or the beautifully embroidered lace handkerchief, perfect for gagging the stuper mouth; however, she made the mistake of lingering too long because in the next instant, the idiot dog owner parted her lips to open her mouth to spurt yet another dose of idiocy when V and Lulu made a beeline for the elevator.

That was a close call.

If there is any way to avoid having to listen to the unsound advice of a stuper, I highly recommend taking it. Otherwise, a fit of irritation, annoyance and general malaise is to be expected.

Think for yourself.


iPhone Stupidity

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I finally decided to buy an iPhone. The clincher was that I could purchase the phone for substantially less than the usual staggering mid three figure price tag by making use of my beloved upgrade.

When I entered the local AT&T store, Christina, a dead ringer for a younger Sarah Silverman if Sarah had a heavy Cuban accent and spent her formative years in a convent school, assisted me.

When all was said and done, Christina apologetically informed me that I would be taxed, not at the delightfully discounted price, but at the highly elevated and loathsome original price for the phone.

“What?” said I. “Why do I have to pay tax at the $400 price?”

Christina crossed herself, Catholic style, then leaned toward me and whispered. “Ask for a discount.”

You may have heard the term “haggling” bandied about quite frequently lately. It is suggested, in the current climate, that haggling be used freely at the time of most purchases.

“Hey,” Christina continued, apparently reading my hesitant mind. “If the baby don’t cry when it’s hungry, no one’s gonna feed it.”

I stared long and hard at Christina. She added,

“It sounds better in Spanish. Want me to get the manager?”

I nodded.

Unfortunately, I did not properly weigh my options. Haggling works only when the seller suffers from competition. AT&T and the latest iPhone have no competition, especially at the current bargain basement price. I could not threaten to go elsewhere if my demands were not met. I couldn’t even threaten to keep my old phone unless I enjoyed the loud buzzing noise it emitted when I attempted conversation. My only hope was that the manager would feel instant pity for me.

Violet, the amazonian manager, resembled a bouncer at a swanky Sunset Strip club who fearlessly arrived to work nightly on her Harley, sans skullcap and in high heels. Despite my doe eyed looks, Violet said no before I even asked. She explained,

“Look, here’s what I tell my customers about the tax on the iPhone. When you buy a blouse from Macy’s for $100, you’re taxed on $100.”

I was with her on that one.

“But when the blouse is on sale at $50, you’re taxed on the $50 dollar price. Get me? Same as your iPhone.”

Violet puffed out her chest and swaggered away, practically beaming at the cleverness of her explanation. The problem was I was getting a $50 sale blouse, but being taxed on the $100 price.

Violet was a stuper (short for a determinedly stupid person), and a large, muscular one at that. Although she made no sense whatsoever, if I attempted argument, I’d risk being tossed out through a window or worse. Picking out shards of glass from my bare arms and gently windblown hair was not an appealing prospect.

Violet achieved stuper status for her inability to explain the reason for the high tax, which, in case you were wondering, was in the fine print.  The low iPhone price was like getting a rebate, only instantly.

Clearly an unambiguous case all around.

Think first, last and always.


Costco Stupidity

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Out on a mission to Costco, I scoured the overstocked aisles for chopped garlic in a jar for a friend, when suddenly my cart runneth over with five pounds of honey, enough corkscrew pasta to feed a wedding party at the Son’s of Italy Grand Lodge, and a huge jar of kalamata olives that required a dolly before it would consider budging. But no chopped garlic.

I asked a passing employee about the garlic’s location. She replied,

“We don’t carry garlic.”

Costco offers every general food item known to humankind, as well as many foods instantly recognized by several animal species. To claim they didn’t carry garlic was preposterous. Unless, of course, said claim was made by a stuper (that’s right; short again for a haphazardly stupid person). Then it is to be expected and circumvented.

I paced the aisles on the lookout for an authentic human who worked at Costco. I passed a maintenance man scrubbing the Frozen Foods displays’ glass doors; of course, he wouldn’t know.  I happened upon a serious looking, mature woman wearing a Costco tag that said “manager.”

“Do you know where the garlic is?” I asked hopefully.

“If you don’t see it here,” she said, waving her arms vaguely in the air, “we don’t carry it.”

She left me open mouthed, trying to formulate the right stream of words in response. I shouted after her. “Oh, yes you do!”

I knew my statement to be true because the friend who’d sent me on this challenging expedition bought a jar of garlic a week earlier, but conveniently forget, in her Costco shopping daze, from which aisle. I asked another passing worker if she knew.

“No, but uh…,” she said while frantically looked around her. “You gotta find someone who works the section that it could be in.”

This time the worker didn’t abandon me, but bade me to follow her, leading me directly to….

“Mario, this lady has a question.”

Now the employee abandoned me, leaving me with Mario, the maintenance man still in the midst of rigorously scrubbing the glass display doors in the Frozen Foods Department. Within eight seconds, Mario whisked me a few aisles away to the garlic. There it was. All 4000 jars. Mario knew it all the time. Who better to ask than an employee in charge of cleaning all of the aisles? I handily dismissed him as a mere janitor when he held the key to what I wanted.

Who’s the real stuper here? The Costco employees who gave me the wrong answers or the stupidity specialist incapable of asking the right person? You decide.

Keep thinking.