Archive for the ‘Relative stupidity’ Category

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 and the “Hello” Conflict

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Stupers (short for decidedly stupid persons) can be a source of conflict for those of us who choose to exercise our minds. I noticed the vast majority of the problems requiring televised judicial assistance from the likes of Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Maria and Judge About Anybody revolve around stupers. The conflicts I attempt to resolve right here exclusively arise from stupers; here’s one now from blog reader Teri:

Dear Keli,

 Until I was about twenty-five years old, I actually believed that all of my family members unconditionally loved me. I’m Italian with a lot of relatives. We have a lot of parties. I thought imperfections were overlooked, thanks to our strong family ties.

I lived out of the country for eighteen months. When I returned home to Baltimore, I was excited to be just in time for my uncle and aunt’s fortieth anniversary. There were about sixty of us there.  It was a great homecoming for me.

The party lasted several hours. As we hugged and said our farewells, Aunty Talia, whom I’d known since I was six, marched up to me, not to say goodbye, but to rudely ask, “Did you say hello to my mother?” I went into complete shock. Keep in mind, this was about four hours after the party started. Not only was this a dumb question, but what the heck was that about? I said “hello” to everyone! I was speechless. I ransacked my mind (which I do use, by the way) to see if I’d forgotten. I thought I’d greeted everyone. I felt confused and upset. Aunty Talia stormed away before I could say, “I’m sorry.” Since then, she ignores me at all parties. In fact, she gives me the cold shoulder. Was it my fault? Do I have to apologize? The mom is not mute or deaf. She could have said hello just as easily. What should I have done?

Teri had several options, such as:

A. Immediately said hello and goodbye to the mother thereby killing two birds or idiots, as in this case, with two words;

B. Informed her aunt that, “We don’t stand on ceremony; tell your ma to get her fat a*^ over here!”

C. Apologized, explaining that she got caught up in the whirl of the party and may have possibly overlooked the mother;

But let’s discuss the relative (pun intended) importance of the word “hello” at one family party.   On a scale of 1-10, with ten being extremely important, it ranks .09.  Apparently, Aunty Talia had more going on beyond the word “hello”. Perhaps seeing Teri so content radically upset the prevailing imbalance in this stuper’s mind, which was determinedly set on drowning others in her personal pool of misery. Where do you think the adage “misery loves company” originated? From a stuper trying to pull others into her realm of misery. Or maybe the aunt craved attention from Teri, (idiots do thrive on attention), expecting her to demonstrate that she’d missed Aunty most of all. Or maybe Aunty Talia just ate a nasty olive. In any case, the “hello” conflict surfaced.

Apologizing, then quickly exiting the playing field, is the kindest route, but does it encourage the meager mind to repeat trifling behavior? Possibly. However, I believe it’s still the path Teri should have taken as it might have awoken the stupid aunt up and aided her in seeing the silliness of her behavior. But then again, it might not have.

You’ve probably read about the best means to scare off a bear or mountain lion when suddenly confronted by one while wandering in the woods. If you run away, you confirm you are prey and will likely be eaten. To survive, one must look the beast in the eye, and stand firm and fierce (pulling out a shotgun or machete would be helpful also), letting it know you mean business. And so it is with stupidity.

Never hesitate to use kindness, as we never know what troubles the meager mind is focusing upon. Just be sure to keep your own thoughts focused on the positives in your life.

Think for yourself.


Stupidity and Mass E-mail Forwarding

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I’m trying to set a world’s record for fastest deleter of unwanted, annoying, highly irritating forwarded mass e-mails sent by a stuper (short, once more, for an earnestly stupid person). So far, I’m deleting each forwarded message at a rate of .08 seconds. Not quite fast enough.

My cousin, Penny, is a serial e-mail forwarder. I’ve been receiving moronic missives from her daily for a very long time. Years, in fact. She averages four per day. Most are of an extremely, one-sided political, cultural and/or social nature.  They contain soul-diminishing subject matter: the depressing state of the economy, latest illnesses and statistics for catching them, petitions to sign critiquing politicians, threatening chain letters that ensure the attainment of love, luck and friendship in life only if forwarded to at least ten unsuspecting people, and finally, my least favorite: prayer requests for non-existent children suffering from lethal diseases. Thanks to, I’ve discovered most of these e-mails are figments of careless imaginations with far too much time to waste.

I accidentally opened one of Penny’s e-mails today because it was addressed to only me. I incorrectly assumed it was not a mass forward.  But it was just my very own personal, individualized version, asking me in capital letters to forward it to one and all.

I was disgusted, and my face displayed an unattractive grimace for quite some time afterward. So long in fact, that I found my usually stalwart, guard dog quality German Shepherd, Barbie, (this is the real Barbie, by the way, at seven months) staring at me, puzzled and slightly fearful that my face had undergone a sudden, drastic and very unbecoming change. Fortunately, I managed to completely wipe away all traces of said grimace.

Why do stupers spread untruths? Is this yet another case of looking outward so they don’t have to search within a mind that is out of whack anyway? I think a better question would be what can we, as intelligent, thinking beings do when stupidity raises its wobbly head in this manner?

If you’re like me, your first inclination may be to send each and every one of your 1486 pieces of spam mail (including the 459 “urgent and confidential” notifications from the Netherlands and Nigeria informing you that you’ve miraculously won the lottery despite never having purchased a ticket) to Penny. That ought to keep her occupied for a while. Calling her and screaming might give me some temporary satisfaction, but I know it would leave Penny feeling, well…none too happy. Hurt feelings would be guaranteed.

I informed her that I don’t have the time to read her forwards. She replied,

“No problem. I’ll send them just in case.”

I’ve known Penny for most of my life, so I have access to the potential reasons for her inane forwarding habit.  Her own reality is problem ridden. I’m not making excuses; but I am seeking understanding so that I can leave her be and shed my annoyance at the same time.

Some of us jog, smoke, paint, meditate, read or talk to a therapist to relieve ourselves (at least momentarily) of unwanted baggage or issues. Penny forwards mass e-mails.  And I will continue to ignore them to maintain my sanity.

Thinking is an effort.


Stupidity, Thanksgiving and the Disinvited

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I have two sisters-in-law. Denice is thoughtful, kind and generous. Then there’s Naomi.

Naomi invited Denice, her husband and adult daughter to Thanksgiving dinner. Then just as quickly, Naomi dissed them. By “dissed” I mean disinvited them. Why? Because Naomi is a card-carrying stuper (short for a noxiously stupid person), and the brain of an idiot, as most of my dear readers have learned, is corroded, filled with selfish, contaminated thoughts. Naomi told Denice she decided to have a “low key” gathering including only her own parents. Naomi was unable to put her foot down without putting it in her mouth, a defect of most stupid minds.

Denice, being quite resourceful, did what any authentic human would do: invited some of her favorite people to share and enjoy her own Thanksgiving.

To ensure a stuper free holiday where we can focus on grateful, warm and loving thoughts, here are a few suggestions to keep stupers at bay when you can’t keep them away:

1.  According to a study conducted by US researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dietary nutrients found in a wide range of foods from infant formula to eggs increase brain synapses and improve cognitive abilities. Provide foods at your holiday feast that boost intelligence in hopes of instant mental stimulation for any idiots at your table. Toss in some infant formula in the gravy in lieu of butter or cream. No one needs to know. Throw in a trout and some beets and you can’t go wrong. Tell the stuper this is exactly what Madonna eats at her Thanksgiving table.

2. Bring pictures of your trip to the Rainforest to keep the stuper occupied for a period of time. Let them view the photos while watching Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and I guarantee you won’t see or hear the fascinated dimwit at all.

3. A bottle of red wine does wonders for keeping stupers under control. If wine seems to have little effect, try bourbon (making sure, of course, that the stuper does not operate a motor vehicle or any vehicle with wheels or springs).

4. Be thoughtful to counteract the negative waves of stupidity.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Toxic Stupidity

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Many modern issues of stupidity are actually age-old. Even older than the institution of marriage. Which reminds me: oh, woe are we who are stuck with stuper (short, yet again, for an implacably stupid person) in-laws who practically induce a mental rash from their mercilessly irritating ways. Here’s a letter detailing just that:

Dear Keli,

I’ve been wanting to e-mail you for a really long time. I keep hoping my stuper problem will go away, but it hasn’t. It’s my mother-in-law, Dayle. I’ve been married to Mike for almost twenty years and during this whole time, Dayle treats me like cr*p. She sends out Christmas cards addressed only to Mike and the kids. She’s never thanked me for any presents I’ve gotten her, even when I made them myself. When she comes over, she sometimes brings a gift. But she’ll repeatedly say that the bottle of wine or whatever she brought is for Mike (and not me, miserable piece of chopped liver that I am). I talked to her about this a year ago and told her I’d really like us to be friends. Dayle agreed, but the next time I saw her, she acted like her usual critical, pompous self. She always talks only about herself. I can’t get a word in and when I do, I’m criticized. She’s not just an old windbag, she’s a cyclone! Even though Mike says I don’t have to see her, I don’t want to hear about her, that’s how much she upsets me. I guess I’m just weak minded. Or maybe I’m the stuper? Am I? What should I do? I don’t like feeling this way.
Thank you, Keli, for taking the time to answer this.


Stupidity can chip away even at minds of Einstein-like proportions (witness Einstein’s many quotes about stupers). If we don’t take control over our own minds, then we will become stupers ourselves. As is it, Sarah is permitting an inferior, seldom used mind to contaminate her own.

I’m very fortunate not to suffer from toxic parents-in-law; only a menacingly insipid sister-in-law. Extended family of this lowly caliber can indeed trigger a rash and even clog our thinking with destructive thoughts, if we’re not careful.

There are ways to prevent idiotic relations from dampening our spirits. And I don’t mean muzzling them with that lovely lavender colored scarf sitting expectantly in the back of your sock drawer. If we are going to be disturbed every time we hear from these unworthy opponents, we are unknowingly entering a trap. One that snares the mind and prevents it from thinking clearly and promoting personal happiness.

Deprive a person of oxygen and he’ll suffocate. Deprive a stuper of his idiocy and the rest of us will thrive. Authentic humans should clear this low hurdle with ease simply by using any of these methods:

1. Treat opponents kindly. Kindness can hugely influence people. Even the vacant minded variety. If you don’t want contact with the stupid among us, then merely think of them kindly. This is a simple and highly recommended strategy because kindness begets kindness. It keeps us in a serenely firm frame of mind and allows us to ably continue our lives. This requires confidence and patience in oneself;

2. We may not be saintly enough to love our opponents, but for the sake of our health and happiness, we should at least forgive and forget them, according to Dale Carnegie. This step is most challenging. The reason we detest the company of certain hollow heads is because we feel they’ve unjustly wronged us. Why should we forgive? Because forgiveness diffuses our anger. Staying angry is like carrying a five-hundred pound sumo wrestler in our arms. The effort is enormous; back-breaking. Is it worth it? Forgiveness liberates the soul; and

3. Ignore them. Refocus on someone less fortunate and lend a gracious hand. This helps promote proper perspective, induces forgetfulness about the stuper and strengthens the soul of the giver.

Each of these methods requires practice and effort. But anything worth having calls for such.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
Albert Einstein



Silently Fighting Stupidity

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I will be silent for one week, my friends, as I’m not in stupidity-fighting mode. One of my closest and dearly loved stuper (short for a suffocatingly stupid person) fighting comrades passed away a few days ago: my grandmother. Granted, she was ninety-one, but I still find it quite a shock to my system.

I have always had the good fortune and pleasure of living within short distance of my grandparents and mother. I could not have asked for anything better than that.

My grandmother was a strong-willed, wise, loving and fearless person. Whenever my sister and I were victimized by stuper relatives, she was the one we went to for support. She always told us the same thing,

“You should love everyone!”

Then she’d pick up the phone, call the idiot transgressor and let them have it. In a firm, yet nice and oddly reassuring fashion. She was our shield.

At the end of the week, I will attend her funeral services. I am summoning up all my fortitude and mental stamina. Some of you veteran readers may recall what happened at my grandfather’s memorial when I inadvertently entered a parallel universe. This time I plan to be better prepared.

Life is a state of consciousness.


Stupidity Means Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

There are two small words that roll off quite easily from most tongues, but manage to break down, even get stuck, in the ineffectual mouth of a stuper (short, once more, for an obtrusively stupid person). Stupers are unable to utter these basic, simple words: “I’m sorry.”

Many years ago, a dreadful relative, Mildred, made a point of telling me that she was sick and tired of hearing other relations say nice things about my children. She felt her own kids equally deserving. I listened, certain that she’d come to her senses and get to the real point of what was troubling her. She was a parent herself and certainly would understand that her mutterings were unkind. But Mildred finished rambling and left. She’d spoken things out loud that most authentic humans wouldn’t even think about. Thus began the end of a very iffy relationship.

Ten years later… and still no apology.

Meager minds don’t understand the concepts of courtesy and responsibility, both of which underlie an apology. Namely because idiots can’t, don’t and won’t think. If only people would say these two small words sooner than later, or say them at all, much discontentment and distress would be avoided.

Even my ten-year old Australian Shepherd, Rio, apologizes in his own way when he’s been a naughty dog. After he pulled out and ripped to shreds the drip line for my roses, Rio made amends by laying down, begging for mercy and offering an endless stream of licks. Yes, dogs are smarter and kinder than most stupers.

If one can lower him/herself to stuper status by the inability to apologize, a stuper may also elevate him/herself to non-stuper status by speaking the sometimes elusive two words.

I once overheard my friend, Leslie, speak in a derogatory fashion about some one I cared about. Leslie had a sending voice. The type that didn’t require a microphone in order to be heard on the opposite side of a cruise ship.

I confronted Leslie. She apologized profusely for her thoughtlessness and lack of candor, and thereby restored her status to authentic human.

Stupers are not part of some Master Plan for scattering annoyances and anger across the planet just to make life tough for the apple-eating race. They’re here so that the rest of us can spot unacceptable qualities and make sure we don’t harbor them ourselves. We may not be saintly enough to love the stupid among us, but for the sake of our health, happiness and sanity, we should forgive and forget them…immediately.

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret…if you have any sense….And if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid. ~ Katherine Hepburn

Thinking is a precious asset.


Puff Daddy or Stupidity is a False Witness

Friday, July 11th, 2008

People often ask me where I’ve learned so much about stupers and how my stupidity studies started. I explain that I lived with a world class stuper (short for a mystifyingly stupid person) for many years.

I seldom mention my father. In fact, I prefer never bringing him up. In my youth, I was so certain that the man I called “Dad” was an impostor. I believed my real father would show up someday. And he’d be loving, kind and wise. But alas, many blood tests later (our blood types are the same and uncommon), and the poser is definitely the real thing.

From my earliest memories, I realized Dad excelled in lying and bending the truth so out of shape that it lay in a helpless heap on the floor, panting and out of breath. Besides telling falsehoods, Dad’s other greatest weakness lay in his perception of himself in relation to others. He believed everyone was stupid but him, including his wife and children. Hence, he lied freely.

Without revealing too many unpleasant details, I offer two examples of his wayward mind:

First, after my parents’ divorce (I was sixteen at the time; the year my life began), my father commenced telling everyone within earshot his perceived reason for the split between my mother and himself. He even had the audacity to explain his faulty reasoning to me. He said,

“My friends wanna know, why did you get a divorce? I told them it was because of my damn in-laws…”

If one is going to lie, it is important to ensure that the person on the receiving end of the lie either has amnesia or a very short memory. Even more important is for the liar him/herself to have instant recall and/or an impeccable memory.

I took a deep breath and reminded Dad of who used to answer the telephone in our home during the hours in which my mother worked and only father and kids were at home. Me. Then I reminded him of who had been on the other end of the line when I answered said phone. His latest mistress/tramp/floozy. He quickly changed the topic.

Dad had numerous flings during his marriage, and assumed we were blind and deaf. We were not.

The other example occurred just a few days ago. My father called me to say that his doctor discovered that he has an enlarged thyroid which could be cancerous. This doctor wanted to know whether my father’s children (my sister and I) had a history of thyroid issues. At that moment, I placed the receiver down on the kitchen counter as he spoke, and bit my lips and blinked my eyes in utter frustration. Decades have passed, and my father has not made a shred of progress. Since when does a physician ask about your children’s medical history in such a case? They ask about parents’ history, when applicable, for heaven’s sake.

I picked up the phone again. Now he was saying that the doctor insisted that if he doesn’t have an operation immediately, the cancer will grow. It went from “could be cancerous” to a sure thing in two minutes flat. And this ingenious general practitioner physician, according to Dad, had determined all this from a first visit. As we know, stuper doctors do exist, as stupers may be found in every vocation. However, here undoubtedly, all fault lay in my father’s story.

A few years ago, mad at myself for losing my temper over a trivial matter, I complained to my then fourteen-year-old son. My father had a penchant for flying into rages, so I stated that my temper and any failings I had were because of him. My son, being far wiser than myself, said,

“What about all your good qualities? They come from him too. He taught you exactly how not to act.”

Something we should all learn from the stupers among us. How not to behave.

I was exceedingly fortunate when growing up, to have a saintly mother and extraordinary grandparents who more than made up for my father’s shortcomings. I’ve stayed in touch with Dad off and on over the years (off whenever he had a new family; on after each divorce, which happened about three times that I know of), and often wondered why. It would be a lot easier to kiss stupidity goodbye as far as he’s concerned. But the answer is simple. I have so much, and he has so little in his life. And I’ve honed a (mostly) even temper and other desirable qualities, thanks to him.



Stupidity is Blind, Deaf and Dumb

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The most important activities in our lives occur in the same place, day after day. Yet stupers (short, yet again, for those disagreeably stupid persons) perpetually ignore this site, behaving as if it was nonexistent. For the meager mind, it is in fact, nonexistent. Where is this place? In the six or so inches between one’s ears.

Case in point: I have two aunts, Fay and Tori. Both are gorgeous women, around sixty-years-old; both exude health and wealth, thanks to husbands who are not just physicians, but specialists in their respective fields. And each aunt is the parent of three, wonderful adult children with bright futures. So what’s their problem? Stupidity.

For the past almost four decades, Aunts Fay and Tori have persistently loathed each other using great pretense. By pretense, I mean when together in public, they’re all strained smiles and overly gushing compliments. Meanwhile, they’re stewing over perceived insults, invisible to all but themselves. When away from each other, much hand wringing, bad mouthing and nose wrinkling goes on about the other. Don’t worry; thanks to the wonders of Botox, all symbols of stress are as nonexistent as their brainpower.

We all complain sometimes about other people. Authentic humans know when to stop. Counterfeit humans do not. They’re so busy watching others, there is no attempt at self improvement. In fact, the self is buried alive beneath the reckless ravings and perpetual fixation on others.

Besides complaining about each other, these aunts also waste their energy trying to outdo the other. Aunt Fay told everyone that her college age son was at Berkeley, leading all to believe he was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, he worked at a photo shop. Aunt Tori’s daughter just got married. Tori made a point of telling all that her new son-in-law graduated from Yale. True or not, who cares? Does that make them better people? Did I mention that both women appear constantly unhappy?

Certain creatures are blind at night while others can’t see in the daytime. Stupers are blind, day and night. They’re so busy watching others, they forget about eradicating their own weaknesses first. Nonuse or negative use of the mind is a great character flaw.

I don’t believe either of my idiot aunts is capable of harboring kind thoughts toward each other. The habit of loathing has gone on far too long. So instead, if they sought my advice, I would suggest that in order to maintain sanity, they focus their thoughts and energy on all they have to feel grateful for in their lives. Such focus would instantly jump start the empty mind, filling it with worthy thoughts and gradually generate the missing puzzle piece of happiness. Perhaps it would even soften their harsh feelings toward each other to such an extent (eventually anyway) that all such feelings would disappear.

Think first, last and always.


The Stupid Relative

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

No, I’ve not been overcome by stupidity and therefore, unable to write a post. I’m in the middle of traveling with my younger son to junior golf tournaments. Can’t you just see me, keeping one eye on my child, while walking the golf course and fending off inane stupers (short for unbelievably stupid persons), one arm on my hip, the other slashing with my razor sharp sword and similar wit? That’s me on the right:
I’ll be back in a few days. Meanwhile, I leave you with an empty headed blast from the past:

Ah, the stupid relative, of whom, single orphans aside, most of us have, whether by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship. The worst part of this type of relationship is that it’s pretty much carved in concrete, albeit, at times, wet concrete. Even if you attempt to bow out, circumstances or milestones, such as weddings, graduations, funerals, holiday gatherings and non-refundable monetary disputes, may force a person into sharing space or being around the stupid relation. Here is one such ridiculous relative example taken from my own personal experience:

My infant son, only five days old, tiny, pink and cuddly, simply beautiful, lies sleeping in his bassinet, wrapped snugly in a yellow blanket. An in-law stops by to see him.

“Does he have jaundice?” she casually asks with about as much concern as one discussing the life cycle of the turnip.

Freeze frame. First I laugh lightly, too happy to let the words jar me.

However, later, when her question settles uncomfortably in place, I feel annoyed; in fact, at this very moment, recalling the scene, I still feel mildly irritated.

Words that were said over a dozen years ago!

In all fairness to this in-law, her husband is a podiatrist, so perhaps by virtue of co-habitating with a doctor, she felt sufficiently learned to make an immediate diagnosis (inaccurate as it was), and possibly considered that she was doing me a favor. Or perhaps the yellow blanket threw her off and caused her to misdiagnose.

What should I have said or done?

A. Slapped her silly;
B. Demanded to see her medical degree;
C. Replaced the yellow blankie with a blue one to see if it changed her diagnosis; or
D. None of the above


This stuper came from an antiquated, narrow-minded culture where boys were revered over girls for their gender instead of valued equally. She only had daughters. Perhaps it was stupidity’s wicked cousin, envy, speaking through her.

The correct answer is D. By refusing to respond to her insensitive remark, I did not acknowledge it, and consequently, refused to permit this idiotic relative to have any sort of impact on me. Just being a stuper was punishment enough.

Besides, there were witnesses present.

Thinking is an art.