The Woodssong Blog
3Dec/110

Still Stupid After all these Years

I am not greatly educated, just so you know that.  And I am not that street-savvy, either.

I have to start this entry with those statements, otherwise you’ll think that I'm full of myself, and I'm really not. But I am smart enough to see that many of the people that I encounter in life do some real stupid shit, ya know?  This is not just me ranting about some incident that I was subjected to recently, although I have many, but a question that has plagued me for a long time;

Why are people so stupid?

I mean, my friends aren’t stupid, and I have quite a few friends. Most of the townsfolk that surround me aren’t really stupid, and these guys make up the majority of people that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. And I see and read about a lot of smart people every day, too. So it’s always driven me crazy to see so many stupid things from so many stupid people happen all the stupid time! A fellow citizen taking up the last 2 parking spots by parking diagonally. A gal stopping in the middle of a narrow grocery store aisle and standing there blocking the way like it’s own her personal shopping day in her own personal shopping center as you try to get past. A driver puttering along for 20 miles at 40 mph on the hiway with a line of 10 cars behind them. Or some Talking Head on the tube saying something like, "the vast majority of the country is conservative," when every poll out there shows that it’s a fairly close mix of both conservatives and liberals moderates. And never mind about some of the outrageously stupid shit that you can find people doing on YouTube (don’t get me started).

You see, this stuff bugs the hell outta me! I stew over this stuff, I lather over it until I'm steaming, I am actually embarrassed by these sensless acts of my fellow Americans, and I can’t seem to ignore these lapses in reasoning like everyone else does. This is my problem, my shortcoming, I know this. But knowing this doesn’t seem to help me to get over it. Hell, it makes me feel lame that I can’t just accept it! And so I ask myself, and even other people, why this is so, why are people so stupid?

Well, after spending half the evening on a newly discovered website last night, PrettyFedUp.com, I am beginning to understand it a lot more, why so many people can be as dumb as a stick. I don’t know who the author of this site is, but she’s got a pretty good grip on why there’s so much stupidity around us, and I want to enumerate a few of her points so I can refer back to this entry and, well, frankly, get over it. After all, I spend way too much time trying to answer it. And her answers make complete sense!

So here’s the crux of her answer in a few bullet points, ‘cause I know that we all love bullet points…

  • Stupidity is something that is inherently built into us all
  • Stupidity is a product of our genes, a trait that helps us to survive and reproduce
  • Stupidity only seems stupid to the people that have different life circumstances that we do, meaning everyone
  • People themselves aren’t stupid, but their stupid acts manifest themselves only in how we interpret their actions

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that we all do Stupid Things at times (well, you guys do, anyway), but the website explains that what we think of as Stupid People is really normal people just doing Stupid Things, or at least things that we interpret as Stupid. And oftentimes these acts aren’t stupid at all to the person committing them. This is a revelation to me, a freakin’ epiphany! Something that I should have discovered a long time ago if I wanted to save myself some grief.

These are important concepts that she points out and you should read what she has to say about it. It really helps me to keep my frustration level to a minimum. Let me try to flesh this out a little better…

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you have a person driving in front of you at 40mph in a 55mph zone, and has been for 20 minutes with no passing lanes for you and the half-dozen cars behind you to get around them. To me, this is as bad as having an entire nest of wasps crawling around in my tightest-fitting Levis. So you’re grumbling inside, verbally promoting the driver to the highest and most sought after levels of Stupidness, probably bitching to your mate about it, even considering calling 911 and reporting him/her as drunk just to get them off the road.

Well, what if it turns out that they have a very good reason to drive at 40mph? You might not know what that reason is, because, hell, you don’t have them on the cellphone or CB or anything like that, and even if you did , you might not agree with that reasoning and just hang up after informing them that they are supremely Stupid and should just pull over, get out and leave the keys in the car and walk slowly across the adjacent field and never look back. But nonetheless, in their mind, their driving at 40 mph is perfectly normal under their circumstances, and they, of course, think that anyone else under the same circumstances would drive at 40 mph. Maybe they have a dozen distracting kids in the car with them. Or maybe their girlfriend in the passenger seat is constantly screaming at them that they’re driving too fast. Or possibly they just left the scene of their own hit-and-run accident and they are thinking hard of going back and turning themselves into the authorities and/or getting the shit kicked out of them/having their license suspended/having to put out their joint. Who knows what their reasoning is, but the point is that it doesn’t matter. They just might have a legitimate reason for driving at 40 mph even when they know that everyone else wants to drive faster. We only think that it’s stupid because we aren’t in their circumstances. Think about it. This makes total sense, and, if it’s true, it takes away our reasoning that makes us know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that person is stupid all the time and in any circumstances starting from when they get out of bed in the morning.

This theory is maddening to those of us that have gotten used to thinking that we are surrounded by Stupid People, and to justify their stupidity by saying to ourselves that we’re not stupid, but that it’s everyone else that’s stupid. I mean, really hard to swallow, ya know? Hell, I was kinda enjoying walking around thinking that I wasn’t as stupid as them. I mean, we were (sorry, baby).

So much for that.

If you believe this philosophy, which I myself  think I'm gonna try out for a few months to see if it gives me any blisters, then you at least have to stop grumbling and pissing and moaning about all the stupid shit that you see around you and all the stupid-ass idiots that seem to follow you around. You have no choice but to see these asinine episodes of Stupidity as nothing more than part of the human condition, something that we’re all capable of doing. Argh.  And you also have to face the fact that you yourself do things that make you look really stupid to others. I don’t think I'm gonna like this…

Anyway, I'm going to try, at least. Try to guess what on Earth would make someone do that next irresponsible and thoughtless act of supreme Stupidity. At which point I will calm down, take a chill pill and simply laugh it off as another unpretentious and forward-thinking act of my fellow man who just happens to be stuck in a preposterously funny set of circumstances that I can only begin to fathom. Don’t expect me to keep from rolling my eyes, though.

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