Archive for the ‘Well Meaning stupidity’ Category

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.


Insulting Stupidity

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I failed the bar exam my first try. I mistakenly thought I was such a genius, I didn’t need to study. Plus, I was paranoid that some undeserving law student would slip in and takeover my first real, highly important and much coveted job in the movie industry if I took time off to study.

I worked for a company boasting a solid group of Stanford Law School graduates who were oh-how-they-knew-it smart. I’d attended a small, private law school. I felt not so smart. The very day the bar exam results were unveiled, this is what I heard in the company conference room, when all were present, coming from a nasally, whiny voice befitting a dwarfish, three legged, blind rat with a cane, dark shades and thinning fur, limping around in search of her next morsel. The voice, if one can call it that, was completely devoid of warmth or charm, and belonged to a witchy attorney, Rodent, Rhoda, who was one of the Stanford grads (no, I am not bitter),

“So. Did you pass?”

I considered raising my dejected self up and lying through my clenched teeth, but I couldn’t do it. I blurted out the truth to which she responded with a hideous, I-knew-it smile.

I received many apologies for Rhoda’s behavior that day, from all the attorneys except Rhoda. I did pass the exam the second time after I took a short leave and was promised by my angelic boss that she would place her foot in the door until my return.

Revenge came later when two very agreeable, pleasant lawyers (not an oxymoron) and myself went to an ultra hip restaurant for lunch, as entertainment attorneys are wont to do now and then. Rhoda, at the last minute, invited herself to tag along. As you may imagine, inviting herself was Rhoda’s only means of leaving the office now and then, short of business meetings when her presence was absolutely required. At twenty-seven, Rhoda was only a year or so older than the rest of us, but you’d never know it. I don’t want to say that she was unattractive, because it was more than that. Misery, greed, selfishness and unbridled ambition can twist around a person’s features.

Rhoda may have made a point of using me as her subject of humiliation, but on our lunch day, it was her turn. And I didn’t lift a finger or say a word.  While the rest of us were carded as we entered the restaurant (you ladies out there can especially appreciate the significance of this small, but enormously complimentary action), the Maitre d’ told Rhoda that he didn’t need to see her ID. She was obviously older than the rest of us. Rhoda was none too happy.

Don’t believe for a minute that stupers ever get away with their sometimes cruel and always idiotic deeds and words. It always returns to hit them smack in the back of the head.  The proper response to insulting stupidity depends on you. If you should offer an insult in exchange for one, how would it make you feel afterward? Small, like your head is where your ankles used to be? In that case, an insult is not in order. However, if you feel the insult will put a stop to future acts of stupidity or possibly jolt the dolt into thinking, then by all means, indulge.

We shouldn’t expect too much from the meager mind. In fact, we shouldn’t expect anything. This would make it far easier to accept the presence of stupidity.

Keep thinking.


Slipping In and Out of Stupidity

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Some of us thinkers, despite valiant efforts to the contrary, may periodically slip into temporary states of stupidity. Inadvertent stupidity, one might call it, where we may say and do things that could immediately demote us to stuper (short, once more, for a dreadfully stupid person) status. Even me. Mind you, such bouts are increasingly rare for me, thanks to my herculean efforts to remain perpetually aware of all my actions and words.

If any of my dear readers should find themselves the accidental perpetrator of an inane word or deed, I can assure and reassure you that there is help. Here are a few simple tips for lifting yourself out of a stuper funk:

  • Apologize without hesitation for your guffaw. This creates unhesitating sympathy in your victim, making it clear to all that you are not a repeat offender since you caught yourself, if not on time, at least quickly thereafter and tried to make amends.
  • If it’s too late for apologies (meaning you left the scene of your idiocy and afterward realized you behaved like an imbecile), befriend an intelligent person. Study after study shows the company we keep impacts us greatly. If you hang out with a smart crowd, one whose members continuously use their minds in a positive fashion, some of it’s likely to rub off on you.
  • Take thinking up as a hobby. If you treat thinking as a hobby, like knitting or turning PCs into miniature greenhouses to better understand global warming, you can gradually expand thinking time so that it overtakes all else and soon is so ingrained that it becomes a natural occurrence. Second nature, if you will, which is as it should be. Stupidity will cease to exist for you.

  • If you missed out on making the world a better place by behaving stupidly, worry not. Transcend your dumb deed or words by doing good for some one else, thereby continuing to improve the human condition and making up for your idiocy. It’s a balancing act of sorts.

In this way, bona fide thinkers may continue with their mission of ridding the world of stupers (or at least ignoring them).

Just think.


Stupidity, the Captive Audience and the Tatooed Man

Friday, November 7th, 2008

 Gatherings where large groups of people are present often prove fertile grounds for stupidity. Intermingling with idiots is virtually guaranteed in these settings. If stupers (short, as most of you know, for unaccountably stupid persons) even remotely detect the presence of a captive audience, watch out! They will blurt out particularly ridiculous and rude remarks to quench their insatiable thirst for attention. Captive audiences = stuper heaven, which means the rest of us may be placed in a holding cell in purgatory while the idiot is yammering.

My pal, Calvin, recently joined a Rotary Club that presents weekly guest speakers who offer enlightened talks on topics ranging from Hypnotherapy to Cuts of Meat. Last week’s speaker was Henrik, owner of a tattoo parlor as well as human exhibitor of multiple tattoos. Calvin stated,

“I’m not into tattoos myself, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well-spoken, poised and intelligent Henrik was. He told us about the history of tattoos and explained their place in the military, saying that soldiers traditionally wore tattoos to deflect the element of fear and show their toughness.  After Henrik finished talking, an audience member stood up and said, quite pompously, ‘No disrespect intended, but disfiguring your body is going against God’s will. We’re on a slippery slope today as it is. Morality is shot; no one takes responsibility. In my day, the only ones with tattoos were pimps, whores and sailors.’  There was total silence afterward. Then Henrik responded, ‘I’m a veteran of the Marines, I’m a patriot and I agree about the slippery slope. But I’m not here to promote or speak against tattoos. I’m just providing information.’  Henrik looked really uncomfortable. Don’t you think the guy who slammed Henrik was a stuper?”

When a stuper starts out with, “No disrespect intended,” rest assured four freight trains full of disrespect are rapidly plunging your way.  It’s best to hurl yourself into the nearest clump of thorn-free bushes. And lumping sailors with pimps and whores is like categorizing aspirin with heroin and cocaine. Please. Stupers with opinions can be hazardous.

Calvin informed me that there was more to the story.

“After Henrik finished speaking, another audience member, Rose, got up. She said she didn’t have any tattoos and always advised her kids against getting any. But she said that after her Pappy (Dad) died, her twenty-year-old got a tattoo ‘in loving memory of Pappy.’ Rose said, ‘I am completely against tattoos, and I told my son not to ever do it again. But really, my son is happy and he’s not a bad kid. I think there are more important things to attend to, like making sure our children know how much we love them. Who are we to say what others should do?’   I felt the same as Rose. After all, it’s not like Henrik was promoting Nazism. He wasn’t promoting anything.  And it wasn’t like Henrik was speaking before an impressionable audience. Plus, he was our guest!”

There are always going to be people who present disagreeable opinions. It’s okay to assert yourself, but not in an abrasive manner. We should be able to stomach an afternoon of strong coffee when invited to do so, and if we feel we must make our opinions known, it’s best to do so privately and courteously.

Making compromises and adjustments is part of reality. Expending precious mental energy on negativity and criticism is draining and prevents us from focusing on the more important aspects of life. Stupers lollygag, fiddling with their minds with nonexistent or dwindling dedication. To maintain sanity when faced with the stupid among us, we must fortify our thinking with positive thoughts.

Your greatest secret weapon is your mind.


Stupidity and the Almost Attempted Suicide

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

I was asked to write this letter by this lady who tried to kill herself today. My name is Irv and I’m a gasoline tanker truck driver.

I was sweaty and tired. My itchy uniform didn’t help any. I was cursin’. My feet were about to explode outta my boots like in those Bugs Bunny cartoons. I coulda really used a cold beer. But I don’t drink on the job. Anyways, there I was, kneelin’ in front of Betty, she’s my truck, attachin’ the hose to an underground tank at the gas station when I looked up and see this good lookin’ woman about to fall into one of the holes toward the back of my vehicle. I’d placed cones all around that area that were so bright, you’d have to be blind to miss them. This lady was blind cuz she missed them. I yelled at her. She stopped, turned around, said she was sorry and asked me to write this note, describin’ what happened. She wanted to be sure she wouldn’t do it again, she said. I told her I was sorry for havin’ to yell at her. I’m just thankful she didn’t fall in or I’d be in big trouble.

Irv Steppenhouser
Okay, dear readers, I’m afraid I told a bit of a fib today. First of all, I added the vernacular to the above note, but more importantly, I asked Mr. Steppenhouser to write the note not for my benefit, but for yours. I wanted you to know and understand the person behind the stuper (short for an often deleteriously stupid person). Together, we are going to step inside the head of a random stuper and see what was going on. Here’s what really happened:

I left Son #2 at the gas pump and proceeded towards the mini-mart to make a rather large, mortgage style, payment to support the billion dollar oil companies; my tank was almost empty. This particular station swarmed with cars. At $4.07 per gallon, it was the cheapest gas in town.

In order to avoid being run down and plowed over by hyperventilating drivers, I briefly stepped into a coned off area as I made my way.

While walking, I paused for .0005 seconds to peer into a hole the size of a dinner plate. Said hole was not gaping open and in fact, the lid was on the part reserved for the oil hose. During that brief interlude, I heard,


It was Irv, the tanker truck driver. I turned around and was informed,

“You almost killed yourself, did you know that? You almost fell in!”

I stopped and looked around. I was a safe distance from the frenzied motorists, thanks to being within the cone perimeter. I consider myself slim, but even a two-year-old couldn’t fit down one of those gas tank holes, had it been open. And if I had wanted to commit suicide, wouldn’t I have chosen a more suitable method? I wouldn’t want to try to leave the world in such a manner so that all people could say about me was, “What an idiot! What was she thinking?”

I apologized to the concerned Irv. Perhaps from his vantage point, the hole appeared substantially bigger, and I much smaller. And maybe he’d not been certain whether he’d properly closed it. I said,

“I’m sorry!”

Then I asked him to write the note so that we could read through his words and attempt to understand from whence he came. He was hot and weary, not overly fond of his job and likely hallucinating from the noxious fumes. What he was really saying to me was,

“I feel like killin’ myself right now, and I’d rather be in a hammock somewhere, preferably out of the sun and this gosh dang uniform and sipping pina coladas.”

Okay, maybe not sipping, as Irv hardly resembled a sipper. Probably more like slurping. Nonetheless, even though at first I thought, “Yet another stuper has crossed my path,” I realized that under different, happier circumstances, Irv’s reaction could have been less off target.

Before deciding to get yourself upset or distressed over the antics or words of a stuper, dear readers, try to step into his/her shoes and understand whether the stupidity is momentary and/or a product of a certain situation. Also, remember, before you can step into another’s shoes, you have to take off your own.

Think about it.


Walking Stupidity Time Bomb

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I’ve agreed to assist a class AAA, advanced stuper (short as you may guess, for an abominably absurd and asinine stupid person) only if he publicly declares his stupidity right here on my blog. He is a golf dad I see now and then who has a tendency to speak in rapid, run-on sentences for as long as thirty-three minutes, barely taking a breath, and blurting out ridiculous statements with the convoluted aim of a dysfunctional machine gun, startling and offending all within a ten foot range. His e-mail has been edited greatly. Here goes:

Dear Keli:

My name is Bertram Weidermeyer, and I am a recovering stuper, at least since last week. Okay, two days ago. So maybe it was this morning. You gotta believe me, I didn’t mean anything when I told the chubby kid on the driving range that he’d put on too much weight and should look into Sumo wrestling instead of golf. I quickly caught myself and told him I meant it in a good way.

I know. I like to talk, but it’s the New Yorker in me. What I said to the older kid on the putting green about his game being way better in the past, I meant that he probably still could get a golf scholarship to a college in Kalamazoo or Fargo. And when I asked Coach’s wife if she had a good time at her fortieth birthday party, how was I supposed to know she’d just turned thirty? Weren’t you flattered when I told you you’re pretty smart for a woman? Now stop practicing those Tae Kwon Do moves you’ve learned on me!

I promise will try not to act like a stuper, at least for a whole day. Or an afternoon or something. I can do it. Really I can. But I’m pretty sure I’m not even all that stupid. If at all.



Denial may be a good thing, as it means that a stuper is possibly exercising thought. But Bert is unfortunately delusional in stating the possibility of his not being an idiot, which makes him denusional.

I cannot recall ever seeing Bert’s mouth closed for longer than a few moments during daylight hours. Thankfully, I’ve never shared his company pre dawn or post dusk. He is indeed a walking stupidity time bomb. I can practically hear him ticking when he’s quiet for a second or two. I’ve heard his wife wears earplugs at night. But I’m not here to criticize. I told Bert I’d try to help him and would start talking to him again and stop using him for my Tae Kwon Do dummy if he took my suggestions.

I met Bert four summers ago. The first year, I tolerated him; summer #2, I ignored him. The following summer, I threw him dagger-like looks and, if he dared approach me, open-mouthed, I made sounds, mimicking the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach which my younger son had thoroughly studied in Biology that year. By this summer, I’d taken to practicing round-house kicks over his head, as well landing the reverse spinning hook kick to his backside any time he approached a youngster to make a pronouncement. Needless to say, I’m close to getting my black belt, thanks to Bert.

Another parent suggested he talk to me about his stupidity problem. Bert asked for my help. Hence, the e-mail.

For Bert and anyone who equates speaking without thinking on par with breathing: take careful note of what you are saying. Think about your words before you hurl them out of your mouth. Think before you speak simply means to slow the rate of talk so you know your own thought before it’s expressed. Whoa! How novel is that?

Thoughts controlled mean words controlled. The tongue is supposed to be your servant, not vice versa; it should be incapable of running off on its own. To do this, Bert must engage in quiet time, daily. He must give himself time-outs and keep his mouth closed. It’s okay to start out with five minutes, twice a day. Then extend the time.

I’ve found Bert a partner to help him with his daily quiet time. Remember the Sumo wrestler kid Bert befriended on the driving range? He’s agreed to stay on top of Bert.

Just think.


Do Not Be Ashamed of Your Own Stupidity

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

We all slip up once in a while by either saying or doing something stupid. This is nothing to be ashamed of. I say this, recalling that when I was a neophyte attorney, I once asked a seasoned lawyer an irregular question. The mere recollection of my query still makes me wince; it was so prodigiously stupid of me. Don’t ask me to repeat it because I won’t. (However, rest assured, that for a small fee, I can be convinced).

The more we speak and act without thinking, the greater the risk of appearing, and actually becoming, stupid. Sometimes, words or situations escape our grasp. We may be distracted, tired, naive (as in the case of my own wayward question) or otherwise mentally distraught, causing us to act like stupers (short, again, for soberingly stupid persons).

Authentic humans should acknowledge their own stupidity. But we rarely see this practice in action because of the fear of being permanently branded a stuper under the rules of polite society. Being viewed by others as a stuper can imperil our self-image as well as the image we convey to others. I plummeted several feet in the eyes of the seasoned attorney upon posing my idiotic question, and never again regained my footing in his eyes. I know what I’m talking about.

Words and actions depict us, furnishing the elements of our personalities. These same words and actions can also deform us, if not properly presented. I experienced a near miss yesterday while volunteering at the library. I was placed in charge of tracing missing books, a task for which I seemed to have an uncanny knack. The head librarian gleefully patted me on the back because I’d located books they’d been seeking for weeks.  I became known as the Book Hunter.

Soon after, I found yet another missing tome, and then did something that could have smirched my reputation. I put the damn book down somewhere and suddenly found myself a victim of ROA (Rapid Onset Amnesia). I retraced my steps (or what I thought could have been my steps), and thankfully, the matter of my stupidity remained private; I’d inadvertently shelved the book while pausing to skim a few paragraphs of another. I do that sometimes; just enough to give me an opinion of the book so I can converse intelligently about it. Anyway, I emerged untarnished.

Stupidity happens. But if we train ourselves to learn from stuper moments and not repeat ludicrous actions, we have nothing to be ashamed of.

Think first, last and always.


Stupid Little Habits

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Some of us have developed the habit of completing another’s thought during a conversation by finishing the sentence for him/her. Although this is not a telltale sign of stupidity, it is an indicator of impatience and an attempt to rush the speaker along.

I’d like to share this letter with readers:

Dear Keli,

I am thirty-four years old and consider myself intelligent and a good listener. But I have a quirk that I think makes me look like a stuper. I have a tendency to finish other people’s sentences for them. I never noticed it until I sat in the doctor’s office. I finished a couple of Dr. M’s sentences for him, and he nearly had a fit. You see, I’d finished them all wrong. He practically blew up. He told me to stop it, or he would stop treating me.

That was two days ago. I haven’t spoken a word out loud since. I’m scared that I will try to finish other people’s sentences. This problem is not big enough to see a shrink about (at least I hope not). What should I do?

Somewhat Out-of Control in Leawood, Kansas

First of all, for new readers, I’d like to point out that stuper is short for an obviously stupid person. Here is my response:

Dear Somewhat:

I have good news: finishing other’s sentences is a simple habit, easy to break, and not stupidity. I’ve done it myself in the past, thinking it demonstrated understanding and support of the speaker. Not necessarily so. It can be annoying when the sentence is completed wrong.

If you should find yourself about to finish a sentence for another, start counting instead. Not out loud, but silently. Count to six, making sure you allow the speaker to continue. Holding your breath during the count is not necessary.

You may believe that finishing another’s sentence shows interest in what some one is saying. And you may wonder, how else can I show this? Come up with comments or questions to ask once the talk is done. Also, you may knit your brows during the conversation to indicate presence of thought; smile, nod, or frown at appropriate times to demonstrate active listening skills. These simple techniques will keep conversations flowing.

Take time to think.


When Stupidity Gives Advice

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I’ve been receiving a recurring complaint from readers expressing their unmitigated frustration at presumptuous stupers (yet again, a term for uncontrollably stupid persons) who insist on giving unsolicited advice. These stupers believe there’s only one right way to live: their way. Here’s a sample e-mail (shortened for brevity):

Dear Keli,

My sister-in-law, Hortense, is a complete stuper. You see, we have boys the same age. Whatever activity her son, Herman, participates in, she insists mine do the same. Herman loves soccer. Hortense says that if I don’t enroll my child in soccer, I’ll be making a huge mistake. I keep telling her, we tried it and didn’t like it, but Hortense just shakes her head at me like I’m crazy. She does this with everything. She discovered religion three years ago and now her family goes to church every Sunday. We don’t. I’m constantly reminded that we’ll be going to Hell. She makes me feel like I’m a bad mom and a bad person. I’m so upset!


Can’t Take it Anymore in Cincinnati

Concern TrollStupidity can be annoyingly meddlesome. At the risk of causing offense, I believe some stupers have a knack of making going to hell sound like a pleasure trip. Mainly because they won’t be there. Hortense may have discovered Jesus a few years ago, but it appears she misplaces Him at her convenience. Tolerance is not part of stupidity’s itinerary.

This is my response:

Dear Can’t Take It:

I’m sorry to hear of your stuper troubles. I have a relevant question for you: What would you do if you’d just lay down to rest and from nowhere (as stupers are wont to do) appears a rough, itchy, heavy blanket that lands right atop your resting body? Would you continue to lie there or fling off the worthless burden, leap out of bed, and possibly, if so motivated, tear said blanket to bits? Of course, this can be done in a more placid manner as well, meaning you may calmly get up and remove the ponderous blankie, then return to your repose and more important matters.

If I may borrow a few words from a speech by Churchill, there’s no room for the “…weakling, for the shirker, or the sluggard” when it comes to stupidity. I feel certain Hortense empties the contents of her meager mind because you appear to be easy prey.

I suggest you use your words, and as few as possible, to tell Hortense to buzz off. You are at an advantage since you seem to know what to expect from her. If you don’t feel like speaking to her, nod your head and smile (smile is optional) when she offers her so-called advice. She’ll get bored and stop. If you give her a reaction, she’ll continue, as stupidity loves attention.

I’ve found most stupers really do talk too much. They are clueless about the power of their words. Even thinkers who take advantage of the telephone, the internet and other modern everyday luxuries, usually take the words they utter for granted. Why not take advantage of our words? Stupers don’t use them well which is all the more reason why the rest of us should. There is a great power behind words. They shape our circumstances – and our lives.

Watch your words. And watch out for Stupers giving advice.


When Stupidity Gets in the Way

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I saw it leaning against a shelf, forlorn and forgotten, getting colder by the second. Cheerful employees maniacally buzzed to and fro right in front of it. I knew the generic plastic white bag, and all its contents, belonged to me.

Meanwhile, I helplessly watched, vying for the title of most neglected customer. I needed attention. I tried waving my hands above my head in the crowded shop; lying stomach down on the stainless steel countertop and flailing my arms and legs; displaying a whopping white flag and shouting “Excuse me!” none of which offered solace or garnered assistance. The grapefruit size silver hoop earrings worn by the man behind me got more notice.

We were on our way to a movie theater; I had ordered take-out from a popular burger place. As is customary when my family attends movies, I carried a handbag the size of the state of Rhode Island; perfect for filling with our own delectables. Who needs Skittles, Raisinets or the standard vat of school-bus hued popcorn?

Damn! All I wanted was my already paid for order. A projected fifteen minute wait had stretched to thirty, and I was on a schedule. Stupers (short for unfeasibly stupid persons) stood between our theatrical feast and me.

I’d been waiting for the customer before me to get her pecan pie order and leave. Slicing a piece evidently required as much preparation and clearance as securing a taxi for Mr. President. The worker in charge of cutting the pie polished his knife so carefully, that when he paused to view his image in it, he smiled and stated, “I could practically count my nose hairs on this thing.”

The actual slicing and dishing out took a solid three minutes. I could wait no longer. I felt bitter and alone. Visions of screaming uncontrollably danced in my head.

Fortunately, the bitterness didn’t last long. While grousing about the shop’s imperfections, I came to an understanding. All the employees looked happy and hard working. They were doing their best. Granted, I was in a rush and my order was only six feet away from me. So what if the hamburgers and fries were lukewarm? They’d hardly stay hot on our trek to the theater anyway. Would I be happier if I threw an enormous tantrum, demanded my money back and gave a lengthy lecture on the care and handling of waiting customers? Maybe. But I knew that if I took their lack of prompt, efficient, attentive service in stride and displayed kindness instead of madness, I’d feel happier.

I lassoed the dedicated latte-making employee and asked her, very pleasantly, to hand over my order. She said, “I’ll have to get someone else to do that for you.” But when she realized that all she had to do was grab and pass, she gave me my bag. (Oh, don’t worry; I untied her before I left).

As with most relationships, you take the good with the stupid. I knew I was right. It was no great challenge for any one of the four employees to pause a few seconds from taking an order or a payment or to reach out between creating cappuccinos to give me my order. But I also knew that sometimes, it’s better to be kind than right.

I sincerely hope that I’ve set a good example of tolerance and patience for my dear, intelligent readers. Happy New Year and my very best wishes to all!

Keep thinking!