Archive for October, 2009

Stupidity, the Bookkeeper and the Road to Hell

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

It’s Halloween, so I must share a spooky stuper (short for an alarmingly stupid person) tale, only it’s not a tale because it’s completely true. Caution: this is not for the feeble minded.

I currently share an office, as I await a move into a new building. My office-mate and I actually head different charitable-type, organizations. My calls are all of the confidential priest-penitent, shrink-nutcase, child-imaginary friend, privileged sort. But alas, for two freaking hours weekly, I am exposed to a stuper…the bookkeeper, Marian,  who not only stops what she’s doing to listen to my conversations, but maintains a running (or should I say tripping and stumbling?) commentary.

“Is that a misdemeanor?” Marian asks after one of my calls. Only in her voice, it sounds like this:

“IIIIIIs thaaaaaat aaaaaa missssdemeeeeeanorrrr?” And don’t forget to add the rise and fall of many octaves and pitches within that one question, and the fact that this is not my bookkeeper. If she was, she would have been fired the moment she opened her mouth. In fact, she never would have been hired.

On my very first day on the job, Marian said, without taking one breath and with the lilt that would make Mother Teresa want to smash a crystal vase over her head (Marian’s head, not the good mother’s, God rest her soul).

“I would not want to be you. Your job is so stressful. Everything’s a mess. This office is a disaster. The sky is falling. Elvis is dead. Are those Prada shoes?”

As you may imagine, I threw back my head, laughed heartily like the lumberjack after hungrily wolfing down the mile high stack of pancakes, and replied, “Yes.”

Fast forward six weeks. Marian’s ramblings continue, and I move into an adjacent office during the Marian hours. I had to. I grew tired of handcuffing myself to the oversize, industrial strength, heavy-duty copy machine (my desk didn’t do the trick) to refrain from beating Marian to a fine pulp.  But my move proved fruitless, as determined idiots are not easily put off. While I was on the phone, Marian popped her head in and asked in her slow, drawn out, totally moronic way,

“Don’t you hate it here?”

I stared at her blank, but sincere face, her jack o’lantern smile, and realized she was truly the original road-to-hell paver. I replied,

“I absolutely love it!”

I continued my call, and Marian slinked away.

Marian didn’t show up last week, and I stayed in my office. However, this is not my happy ending. Not yet anyway, because Marian is due back this coming week. Sure I’m considering wearing a red boxing glove with large broken-up brick pieces strategically placed inside, but I think instead, I will continue laughing at Marian. Not with her, but at her, as discourteous as that sounds. I’ve noticed people who appear happy put her in a state of shock for a minimum of three minutes. Three glorious minutes.

I will throw her Look Number 4 whenever I notice her on the verge of formulating a nosy question or worthless comment for me.

Fortunately, my office-mate is usually busy working. By the time she looks up to figure out what’s keeping Marian quiet, I’ll quickly change my expression to Look Number 7.

Works every time.

Don’t let a stuper ruin your day by magnifying obstacles and unpleasantries.

Just think.


Stupidity and Questions

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

So I’m sitting in the dentist’s office awaiting my turn while focusing all my powers of concentration on translating an article in the Latin edition of People magazine to figure out which major cast member is leaving Ugly Betty when I hear,

“How many dentists work here?”

I look up to find one other person sitting across from me in the waiting room.

“Three,” I reply and before I resume my translation of People, I glance at the reception area. The receptionist smiles brightly at me, while another employee mutters to herself and rigorously shakes her head over the appointment book. I turn back to my magazine.

After a few moments I hear,

“Does Rita still work here?”

I again look up. The same person gazes at me expectantly, while sitting on the edge of her seat. This begs two questions: First, who does she think I am?

The Oracle of Delphi? A one woman detective agency? And no, I was not wearing a trench coat, a Fedora, smoking a pipe or holding a magnifying glass.

Second, who the hell is Rita?

As you may recall from your Ancient World Cultures class, oracles were known in ancient Greece as persons of wise counsel or prophetic opinions. The best part? They often spoke in the form of enigmatic statements. Exactly what is necessary to deflect and throw off a stuper (short for an unapologetically stupid person).

I respond, “The spiral world of stars are populated universes.”

I figure that ought to keep her busy until I’m out of here.

She’s quiet for a few minutes, then sputters, “I was just wondering.”

Glorious silence follows in the waiting room.

Too often, we are accosted by ludicrous questions. All the more incentive for us to memorize an enigmatic sentence or two to carry around for just such purposes.

“We could learn a lot from crayons” or “I don’t believe in mathematics” are two such examples (thank you, Albert Einstein, for the latter quote).

Just think.


Stupidity and the Gardener Part 1

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Every year about this time, my lone walnut tree erupts with nuts. If you’re a walnut fan and you’ve never had fresh walnuts, ’tis a pity. Just ask my walnut addicted, shell crunching dogs or the thieving, greedy crows (why did God create crows? That question keeps me awake many a night).

I struck a really fair deal with the dogs: walnuts on ground level are theirs. Then I made an equally magnanimous deal with the gosh darn crows: all walnuts at sky level are theirs for the taking. That means the remainder are for me, and my non-idiotic family, friends and neighbors, right?  Not exactly.

My gardener, Eddie, is wonderful, and no, he is not a stuper (short for an exasperatingly stupid person). But his brother, Dumb Dom, is. When Eddie is too busy to do my gardening, he sends Dom and an apprentice.

I happened to be home during one of Dom’s gardening days. I peered out the window and saw, as usual, the gardener’s apprentice toiling over the lawn mower, the weeds and the rake, while Dom played around with a pair of shears, snapping them open and shut at imaginary flies.

I left the window and returned ten minutes later to view Dom beneath the beloved walnut tree, arms busily reaching upward and picking, while his pant pockets bulged with nuts… from the tree.  Then he proceeded to tuck in his shirt and drop walnuts down his neck into his newly formed bag/shirt.

I rapped on the window until he turned toward me. Then I waved, just to let him know I was on to him and hopefully firmly plant the guilt seed. Instead, Dom threw me a wildly dirty look for interrupting him and continued picking. Not to be outdone, I raced outside.

“Mind leaving some for me? I like them too, you know,” I stated fiercely, waving the shovel I held in one hand around threateningly.

Dom grumbled and sauntered away, walnuts spilling from all sides, which my dogs rapidly proceeded to devour. By the way, Dom does not speak English and has been in this country only a short time. Perhaps where he comes from, picking other people’s fruit and nuts is a sign of friendliness and good will. Then again, I hear hands are cut off for less, in some places.

Typically, I pick the fruit and nuts from my trees and pass them out. Even Dom has gotten his own bag of plums and apples. But what to do with stupers who believe mi casa es su casa? What’s yours is mine? I tried heading him off at the pass by giving him his share. You saw where that went. I really wasn’t up to frisking his 6’4″ frame; even in my four inch stilettos, I’m still only 5’11”.

The next time Dom showed up for his so called gardening job, I was ready. I remembered some advice once offered by French Royal and well known stuper, Marie Antoinette, a short time before she was beheaded, “Let them eat cake.” True, such advice backfired for her, but I knew it work on Dom.  Now, at harvest time, I always leave a large piece of cake or three for Dom. That way he’s too busy eating when he arrives and too full for picking by the time he leaves, I give him his share, and I get to keep the rest of the nuts.

Keep thinking.


Stupidity and the Cell Phone

Monday, October 5th, 2009

While attending a meeting in Los Angeles a few days ago, I sat in a comfortable leather chair around a huge round table. There were about fifty of us seated plus about thirty audience members. As is customary at such proceedings, all present were firmly advised to quiet down their cell phones to avoid unnecessary interruptions and to eliminate the need to waste time spotlighting stupers (short for unflappably stupid persons). Alas, stupers love the spotlight!

Sure enough, about eight minutes into the meeting, a cellular phone rang. Then another and several severely embarrassed audience members skulked out apologetically, red-faced,  heads hanging low and muttering,

“I could have sworn I turned the damn thing off…”  “I told Mom not to call…” and “Thank God Hugh Jackman’s not around…”

These interruptions were brief, without fanfare and quickly forgotten.

Then a stuper’s phone rang. In case there was any doubt as to whom this cell phone belonged, the unmoved idiot casually stood up and answered it loudly enough to drown out those around the table speaking.


The moderator stood up and asked the offender to step outside. Without missing a beat and still chatting loudly, the moron stepped through the open doorway, threw out her anchor and planted herself 2.2 inches just outside the room.  She continued her conversation. My chair allowed me a clear view of the stuper. I eyed her in mixed disgust and fascination.

She was slim and though likely in her sixties, dressed like a twenty-year-old (this was southern California after all) in stilettos, a tight-fitting, black and white, hounds-tooth pattern pants and…. my eyes suddenly skipped over her blouse and went straight to her hair. It was short, dyed in a shade of burnt to a crisp roasted chestnut, with two carefully curled and placed, possibly even glued, thick strands of hair in “C” or thin crescent shapes across the hollow of each cheek, curving up toward each eye. But that was not the strangest part; this was: the entire time she spoke, a jaw breaker type object rotated around the inside of her cheek. It was as if she housed a chubby gremlin in each cheek, circling the innards of one, and then the other. Needless to say, I was driven to distraction by this spectacle. It took every iota of my self-control to refocus on the meeting.

Meanwhile, the stuper was unstoppable. The moderator followed her outside, gesturing wildly to grab the idiot’s attention, but the stuper would have none of it. Finally, the conversation ended as did the display of idiocy and the counterfeit human retook her seat, to the moderator’s immense relief.

I suggest that instead of asking audience members to turn off cell phones, seats should be wired so that if any electronic devices emit a noise,(I certainly hope pacemakers are silent), the offender carrying the device will automatically receive an electric shock, say of about 50 milliampere (mA). Keep in mind 1mA is equal to the minimum current a human can feel and 100 mA is lethal if passed through sensitive portions of the body. 50 mA is a good compromise, don’t you think?

Think first, last and always.