Monday, January 9, 2012

The Stupids

Yesterday I was in Wal Mart, my home away from home, when a rather round woman in the very long line ahead of me turned and said, “This is so stupid.” As I searched her cart overflowing with potato chips, steaks, high fructose corn syrup drinks, ice cream, candy bars, and a plethora of Diet Cokes, I wondered if she really understood the concept of stupidity, or at the very least the dangers of a high fat diet. I walked out of that store, my cart overflowing with animal food and squeaky dog toys, and wondered if anyone truly comprehends stupidity. Because we are inundated day in and day out with so many examples of stupidity, has it in fact become the norm to be dumb? And is the rise of reality television, where stupidity is almost a mandatory requirement, helping to aid this celebration of stupidity? I have heard of school-aged children who are afraid to get very high grades because their classmates will ostracize them. Or individuals who choose to under perform so as not to garner the hostility of less than ambitious coworkers. Then there are the almost daily mindless acts of our own United States Congress. Stupidity seems to be everywhere. And if stupidity is so common, when do stupid people know they are being stupid? For this is certainly not a question of intelligence, because we can test for that, but how do we test for the root cause of stupidity, which I believe is a lack of common sense. Can we teach this in schools, offer scholarships for it, or even get federal grants to develop a new program to encourage it in our young? It has always been said that the monumental achievements in any society rests on the shoulders of a select few. But do we praise those achievements that the whole of society has benefited from? In his early days, Steve Jobs’ out of the box ideas were considered by many higher ups in the technology sector to be stupid. All it took was a little time, a lot of money, and a man who believed in his vision to show the world that sometimes the most wonderful things can come out of someone’s “stupid” ideas. Perhaps one man’s stupidity is another man’s attempt to be heard above the din. Bravery has often been mislabeled as stupidity by many in the past. So perhaps I should redefine my own prejudices when it comes to jumping on the bandwagon and defining something or someone as stupid. But just when I am about to give the world another try, I see a reality TV contestant eating worms so they won’t be voted off some God forsaken island, and I think, now this is really stupid.      

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