Archive for November, 2009

Stupidity, Family Gatherings and Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Ah holidays! When nearly forgotten, ever eccentric and quirky relatives leave their attics and tree trunks or wherever it is they reside, and provide ample entertainment during family gatherings. No, I don’t have an Uncle Albert who floats up to the ceiling every time he laughs or an Aunt Mabel who likes to wander into neighbors’ homes and pilfer their pantries. But I do have Uncle Larry,

For many Thanksgivings my grandmother’s children, along with assorted grandchildren and great grandchildren, gathered at her home to celebrate together. Personally, I believe in small, meaningful (as opposed to meaningless) crowds at holiday events. Anything beyond say, a dozen or so relations may provide a recipe for unrest and possible mayhem.

Grandma’s youngest son, Larry, lived 140 miles away. He visited Grandma several times a year bringing along his wife, Fran, twenty-three year-old daughter Melba and pooch, Henry. Henry is a Boston Terrier, whose purchase price, we’d all been assured, rivaled that of a small, slightly used, Korean automobile.

Henry was much loved by Fran and Melba. Whenever they visited, Henry perched on the coffee table or sofa, striking a pose that only a dog owner could love. His owner, that is. Or he pranced about as far as his little paws carried him, though Grandma preferred he enjoy the great outdoors. No matter that Grandma hovered around ninety years old, had asthma and kept her own dog in the backyard when company was present; Henry’s place was among the other guests.

Larry’s previous visit was during a family and friends party of about fifty people. Visitors mostly lounged in the living room, family room and kitchen areas. Coincidentally, Henry too mostly lingered in those rooms, on a leash. Unfortunately, his flexible, twenty-six foot leash created a booby trap of sorts, tripping a few elderly relatives who then slipped on the wet puddle next to Henry’s water bowl (in the family room) and almost fell headlong onto the kitchen counter.

After a few complaints about said leash, Melba decided to liberate Henry. He, in turn, chose to reward all by trotting away into Grandma’s master bedroom and doing his dooty on the carpet beside her bed in the exact spot that Granny liked to place her foot upon climbing in and out of bed.

So come Thanksgiving, Grandma asked Larry to leave Henry at home. Larry objected, claiming Henry had nowhere to go.

My dear, intelligent reader, please note at this point: Larry’s family kept a full-time, live-in maid, and Fran had about a dozen relatives living within a fifteen-mile radius of their home, including her parents, assorted aunts and uncles, brothers, and several cousins.

Larry told Grandma that either Henry came along for Thanksgiving or none of them would be there. Grandma felt disturbed, not quite knowing how to please everyone or anyone, for that matter.

Grandma clearly failed to adequately explain about kennels and dog-sitters to Larry in his youth. She considered her options: hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving celebration that year so Henry could do his business properly. Grandma could wrap herself in heavy blankets and a snow-cap so the chilly, late fall air would hopefully not affect her. Then again, she could wish Larry and Henry “Happy Thanksgiving” via the telephone, fax or instant messaging, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. And there always was plastic sheeting. Granny could spread the sheeting over the flooring and furniture so Henry could roam and reign and do his dooty freely.

As it turned out, Larry and his family came, and left Henry at home with their housekeeper which, Fran informed Grandma, was where they typically left him when they were not at home. All this fuss over naught.

Larry needed to get his priorities straight. As the ending of this episode showed, holiday arrangements for Henry were easily made. Larry could have made his mother happy by merely exercising some thought and flexibility for that one evening. Yes, moms do take priority over pets. Most moms, anyway.

Holidays may bring along added stress from the excitement of organizing, socializing and/or traveling. Stress promotes stupidity as it prevents clarity of thought. Take note of what it did to Larry. It’s important to acknowledge this ahead of time and plan ways to alleviate or defuse potential sources of anxiety. Deep thought, deep breaths and an equally deep sense of humor can work wonders to keep stress at bay. A small taser gun slipped inside a long sleeve may help too.

Think first, last and always.




Stupidity, E-mail Correspondence, Professional Idiots and Courtesy

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I recently discovered yet another surefire method for recognizing stupers (short for unanimously stupid persons), sight unseen. No, I’m not telepathic, super brilliant (I may be just plain brilliant though), or saintly (I hope I’m not bursting too many of my loyal readers’ bubbles). I just know an idiot when I meet one, or in this case, read one.

I correspond regularly, via e-mail, with many seasoned professionals: Attorneys, Physicians, Investment Bankers, Teachers and Certified Public Accountants, for instance. I’ve not met the majority of these people in person, so I don’t really know any of them. We’re involved in the same causes, part of the same groups, etc. But I do know that an authentic human not only thinks before speaking and taking action, but before sending out e-mails as well. Stupers rarely think and their email correspondence reflects this.

Physician Katy sent out an email to CPA Mallory, requesting information on expenses attributable to a chartitable organization that Katy headed. All Katy wanted was numbers, as you may have guessed. No questions were asked of CPA Mallory such as, what do you think about these numbers? Or do you have a good recipe for mincemeat pie or is Kalamazoo the capitol of Michigan and if not, do you think it should be? None of these questions were posed. I was copied on this e-mail.  I took note of how courteously it was written by Katy and really appreciated its brevity. “Please” and “thank you” appeared in all the right places. It warmed my heart.

Mallory took it upon herself to respond, not with any numerical information as requested, or even a salutation, but instead with this:

This is IMPORTANT, as a reply to your e-mail (note to readers: idiots believe we, meaning everyone else but them, are stupid, so they feel a need to tell us what is important, figuring we may not get it)

Your charitable organization should not accept any more donations (note to readers again: Katy did not ask about donations)

I REALLY don’t think you want to shut down the ability to get grants, funding, etc…(please note again: are caps really necessary? And keep in mind, this particular  has been in operation for decades without receiving one grant or donation.)

There are many other ways around this. (Note once more: though Mallory hints at “other ways,” she never bothers to explain. Why? She doesn’t give free advice. What is “this” anyway? Which begs the question, is hard drug use on the rise among professionals or is it just stupidity?).

Blah, blah, blah. (Readers kindly use your imagination to insert additional nonsense).

Katy, call me immediately to discuss.

Not one “please” or “thank you” to be found. Really. How backbreaking is it to insert a please or thank you, now and then? Such pleasantries immediately lift a person to thinker status and even offer the reader a slight lift. I cannot begin to tell you the many positive results I’ve noticed as a result of a smidgen of courtesy.

It’s like attending a meeting in ripped jeans (not even fashionably ripped, but slovenly ripped like you’ve been attacked by a rabid, starving coyote) and a stained shirt while your competitor rules in a stylish St. John knit.

A few carefully chosen words in the right places does wonders for making a person appear intelligent and kind, even in email correspondence. Taking the time to insert a simple salutation and make remarks in a kindly fashion make the communication appear thoughtful and intelligent. Mallory has now been branded an idiot, thanks to her failure to use garden-variety courtesy.

When we fail to be kind to others, we destroy our own peace of mind, and turn into immediate idiots.

Why not think?


Stupidity, Driving, Mario Andretti and Cows

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

The burning issue today is not health care reform or who truly created the Internet. The pressing question is why stupers (short, as you all know by now, for remarkably stupid persons) are allowed to operate motor vehicles?

There exists a truly long, overly drawn out stretch of highway near my home that runs mostly one lane in each direction. This translates into the majority of highway drivers being stuck behind a lagging idiot driving 35 mph in a 65 mph zone, thereby creating a sluggish caravan, at least once during each thirty mile stretch. I was stuck yesterday; #8 in line behind a meager mind.

If you are the type that spontaneously experiences fits of hysteria in the mere presence or at the mention of a stuper, please visit a more innocuous site, like

As all of my motor vehicle driving and pedestrian readers know, our roadways are cluttered with morons.  In my case, seventeen cars impatiently rambled behind the stuper in question. That wasn’t the worst part. Nor was the fact that a highway patrol who passed us showed about as much concern as he would for a crate of turnips. The worst part was that this stuper would soon brutally dash our only means of escape, which was about to appear up ahead.

The lumbering car traveled so slowly that a nimble squirrel could have darted to and fro in front of the approaching vehicle nine or ten times while the car was 50 yards away before the varmint was forced off or squished, whichever came first. Meanwhile, I testily patiently awaited the arrival of the passing lane.

When we reached the glorious, highly anticipated passing lane six miles later, the #2 and #3 vehicles behind the laggard swiftly and desperately raced ahead. But then a strange, all-too-common occurrence took place: the stuper suddenly located the accelerator pedal and sped up with a vengeance. Car #4 barely managed to pass; alas, car #5 was not so lucky. The lanes merged into one again, and at that precise moment, the incredible idiot slipped into Rapid Onset Amnesia (ROA – a popular feature of stupers), and the acceleration pedal was sadly forgotten.
We continued at speeds that would make an African Spurred Tortoise belly laugh.

A stuper is like a cow. Actually, a cow is far more useful. Think milk, filet mignon, Jimmy Choo shoes and manure. But they do share a similar mentality. When one cow is standing, chewing its cud, and suddenly notices another cow kick up its hooves and race ahead, the inert cow unthinkingly does the same, as do the rest of the cattle. This is called a stampede and is a result of the herd mentality.

The lagging stuper, being of the same herd mentality, suddenly saw a stampede of vehicles in the passing lane and turned into Mario Andretti. ROA set in shortly thereafter and stupid driving resumed.

Now you know the explanation for such irrational behavior. The cure? Install a twelve cylinder + engine (is it more important to conserve gas or beat (figuratively, this time) the stuper?). Or summon the patience of one hundred Buddhist monks (even one will do).



Stupidity: The Question of the Day and PETA

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

As the sun is setting, say you happen to be walking along a desolate, sandy beach, with your favorite domestic animal companion: five-year-old German Shepherd, Greta Von Brinkerhoff. She’s proved herself loyal, intelligent and loving many times. You can’t help but notice Greta gazing longingly at the gently crashing waves, pausing now and then to stare up at you and pleadingly yelp. You, engaging in that telepathic understanding only a true dog lover and a few random dog whisperers possess, know she is asking for permission to test the waters.  You decide, “Why not?”

You watch, smiling, as Greta dog-paddles her way out and over the waves. Suddenly, Greta disappears beneath a particularly menacing wave, possibly set off by an underwater volcanic eruption (it could happen).

As you anxiously wait for Greta to resurface, you happen to notice Marty, a well known stuper (short for an objectionably stupid person) drowning not far from where Greta was last seen.

Here’s the burning question: Whom should you save? The sweet, loving, canine friend? Or the mentally and aquatically challenged, complete and utter idiot?

The answer is obvious to most of us and has been the topic of much discussion by morality experts such as radio Talk Show host Dennis Prager as well as radical animal activists such as PETA members.

Some points to ponder: yes, human life is sacred. But what about counterfeit human life? Are you more likely to throw away an authentic Benjamin or a phony? If the two bills accidentally fall into a trash bin, which one are you willing to dirty your hands over and nurse back to its crisp, unwrinkled self?

A human is counterfeit when he/she has a perfectly functioning mind, yet not only abstains from using it, but blatantly displays his/her nonuse/idiocy in plain sight, thereby annoying, irritating, if not downright enraging, the rest of us. Think of five stupid people you know. Think of what makes them stupid. Here’s what Dr. Philip Brock, Harvard researcher, has to say,

“Well, I can think of twenty stupid people that I know,” said Brock. “The signs are all there: they don’t listen to me, don’t think about anybody but themselves, don’t understand what I’m saying, don’t get my jokes, like sports, haven’t seen the movies I’ve seen, et cetera.”

My guru, as well as many like him, says, “Let sympathy go out to all.” But are stupers part of the “all” category? Truly thought provoking.

Meanwhile, in my dog vs. stuper tale, chances are high that Greta will find a way to save herself and the drowning stuper. But if for some reason, instinctual perhaps, Greta decided to forgo saving the meager minded Marty, I would hope that I would sympathetically help and bring him to safety. Of course, I may be forced to beat the c*&p out of Marty afterward if he behaved stupidly, but never let it be said that I am unsympathetic.

Why not think?