Archive for March, 2010

Chuck, Buying Office Supplies and Stupidity

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I visited my local office supply store, not because I felt like seeking out stupers (short for incomparably stupid persons); I can do that just about anywhere. I went because I actually needed office supplies.

My company has an account there. I usually bring a copy of the paperwork that confirms our account, and no warfare, or cash output by me, is waged. It’s worked well. Most of the cashiers know me, and we get along splendidly. I pull out my driver’s license, proving I am the person whose name is printed on the paperwork, and peace reigns. However, last week, I decided to confidently stand in line and be waited on by a new cashier, one whom I didn’t immediately recognize as a stuper.

I had my reason: the guy behind the cash register bore a striking resemblance to the actor who plays the lead role in Chuck, one of the few television shows I actually watch, being a fan of goofy, comic, spy capers. And I really like the lead actor.

Big mistake. My paperwork wasn’t good enough for the cashier; neither was my driver’s license. Or that he resembled a talented lead TV actor. Or the fact that I knew most of the employees by their first name and whipped out all my prior receipts (8 in all) proving my loyalty and capability of making purchases in that very store, including one I’d made just that morning. Or that I am a stupidity specialist.

“Rules are rules,” the cashier insisted.

“What rules are those?” I asked sincerely, since this new found rule of calling the manager to verify I was who I am (keep in mind, I’d never met the manager; all she did was call headquarters and explain that my driver’s license matched my name on the paperwork, and um, was that okay? To which they heartily responded with a yes).

I briefly considered jumping lines and getting into the one next to me, but that equally idiotic cashier was reading the directions on the box of a printer to a waiting customer as if it was something out of King Lear, complete with British accent and gestures. I was stuck.

I understand about rules and the penalty for impulsively choosing to be waited on by people resembling one’s favorite TV actors. But I don’t understand why rules change depending on the moron,  idiot employee, person behind the counter.

In situations such as these, the only way to maintain sanity is to pull out all the plugs and let the patience flow or immediately exit the store if there exists an overriding inclination to detonate.

Why not think?


Stupidity is on the Rise

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

I rarely watch or read the news, preferring instead to grind my own flour or take the neighbor’s twin pit bulls for a stroll, but for the sake of my dear readers and to prove a vital point, I read today’s headlines: “Germany’s Pedophile Priest Scandal” “Final Healthcare Push” “Lady Gaga is Sued”. Take note, that nowhere does there appear a news report or headline that involves a matter of vital importance: “Stupidity Has Reached Epidemic Levels.

Last week, my office received no mail. Granted, we’ve just moved to a new location. However, the first two weeks after our move, the mail arrived without interruption. Last Monday through Wednesday, we were mail-less. I spoke to three different post office representatives who offered these vastly differing explanations,

Representative #1: “Oh, yours is being sent to Ventura.” (Ventura is a nearby city separated by a very long ocean stretch of highway, with a few other towns in between; perhaps some one could argue that the name “Ventura” is slightly similar sounding to “Santa Barbara” where my office is located, but only if that some one is a stuper [short once again, for a terrifyingly stupid person]).

Representative #2: “You haven’t received your mail in three days? You moved in the building 3 weeks ago? Well, I wouldn’t complain if I was you. Some of your neighbors have been there over ten years and they’re not gettin’ theirs neither.” (I find double negatives a form of blasphemy, FYI. If triple negatives are set loose, I pull out the hand grenade).

Representatives #3:”We don’t recognize your suite number.”

To this last explanation, I replied, “How is it that my suite number was recognized the first two weeks of our occupancy?”

Dead silence ensued, and I finally hung up the phone. I’m thinking complex questions sent the postal worker into a catatonic state.

Finally, I paid the post office a personal visit. I eyed the workers stationed behind the counter. They appeared friendly; even able-minded.

“I would like to pick up my mail, please, ” I asked in my usual polite manner.

By my carefully honed nature, I prefer to be kind. It’s true; I do carry an arsenal of assorted weapons in my oversize handbag. But I rarely use them.

The postal worker disappeared for a few minutes, then returned with my mail.

“Why?” I asked her in desperation.

She shrugged her shoulders and smiled, “Have a nice day!”

My mail arrived for the rest of the week.

Most of us do not even realize that we live in unsafe environments. There are stupers posing threats to our sanity everywhere. All the more reason for us to exercise a cool, calm, determined, increasingly steady and smooth flowing effort of attention toward attaining the definite goal of thinking. Imagine the possibilities.

Think first, last and always.


Stupidity and Blurting Out Phrases That Are Better Left Unsaid

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Since my last post, my office has moved from a dismal and drab location to a near match for Fifth Avenue, and I’ve been busy packing, unpacking, organizing, working and suffering from a sudden attack of IM syndrome: Idiot Mouth syndrome. This commonplace malady strikes regular people, like you and me, especially me, and causes words to uncontrollably tumble out of our mouths before we realize we should have pulled the emergency brain brake and exercised thought prior to speaking. This idiotic impulse can potentially lead to disastrous consequences and/or immediate branding as a stuper (short for an unbelievably stupid person).

I attended a noon hour meeting, in a room full of attorneys. There were two problems: no lunch was being served, and I’d not eaten anything. Everyone who really knows me is aware that when I go hungry, say for a period of 90 minutes or more, my usual gentle, sweet demeanor peels away and the Attila the Hun in me is let loose. Arrrggghh! To add to my crabbiness during the meeting, my stomach growled so loudly, I shouted to be heard over the din; the hard-of-hearing didn’t stand a chance.

I was the new kid in town, thrown into a close-knit clan. After listening to idle gossip for ten minutes, I introduced myself and received a slew of non committal, disinterested stares which, along with my hunger, only enhanced my foul temper. I suddenly blurted out, “I haven’t practiced law in almost twenty years, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Those who placed high marks on honesty and candor might have applauded my statement. As you may imagine, the room fell silent… except for my growling stomach which competed with the ear shattering thunderstorm outside.

I immediately realized my gross error and tried to induce blindness and perhaps rapid onset amnesia with a dazzling smile. Alas, they didn’t fall for it.

I wiped away all traces of saliva that appeared after watching the fellow next to me devour his chicken pot pie, and forced myself to perk up. I re-focused, not on the roar of my empty middle section, demanding as it was; I ignored my Attila-like tendencies, and directed my energies on the issues being discussed. I tried really hard…and almost made it. I suddenly interrupted a discussion about judges with,

“When I was Business Affairs Counsel for XYZ Motion Picture Studio….”

Fortunately, I was able to switch direction quickly, realizing that these lawyers cared as much about what I did in a previous life as they did about my having had a super grand time staying at home, raising my family instead of working. I needed to focus on the here and now.

We all know that awareness is the first step to changing displeasing habits and/or characteristics. I am exceptionally aware of what hunger pangs do to my typically charming, mild-mannered personality, and I usually carry around a snack or two in my swimming pool-size handbag for that very reason. Except I forgot that day. Instead, I shoved a large slice of humble pie down my throat, reminding myself that I’m a whole lot happier when I find ways to help others instead of focusing on myself.