“Stupid” Is Not Rated PG-13
So. Let’s talk about being stupid.
We all finish our days with having had to deal with at least one complete moron. This isn’t exactly news- or blog-worthy, but what no one seems to focus on is what this says about the status of our culture, or even our biological status as a species. I would think that you’d run in to at least five morons to any one person with a mediocrum of common senseon any given day. Even genuises do stupid things. I know a man who could do differential equations in his head, but couldn’t remember where he left his lunch. We have to deal with the complete morons on a daily basis, but the one factor that seems to be overlooked lately is now we have this thing called the Internet, and now we get to do this amazing thing where we carry it around in our pockets or purses. What the Internet does is give us access to people’s stupidity. It is replete with websites dedicated to showcasing just how stupid and completely dumb people can be. I’m sure we all feel better after watching the video of the kid who thought it would be a good idea to take his skateboard down the side of a parking garage or the beauty contestant who said, ” Fuck.”. And of course, there’s watching Rick Perry debate.
The crap on the Internetz is supposed to be funny. Most of what I run into, on the other hand, isn’t. It borders on depressing. People tend to think I’m mean or a jerk for laughing about the asinine idiocy I run into constantly, but really, what other choice do I have? Seriously, if I didn’t laugh about it, it would become this soul-numbing thing that would infect my state of existence. Let me give you an example before you wander off to the pictures of people who shop at Wal-Mart:
I’m standing in Foot Locker one day. Because sometimes I just hang out in Foot Locker. Anyway, a lady walks in, marches up to the employee, and demands to know, “What sizes of shoes do you have?”
I’m pretty certain this lady just didn’t arrive on this planet. She, along with the rest of us, is the product of thousands of years of biological evolution. You know, the same process that got us to stop eating certain mushrooms in the forest and to quit trying to pet rattlesnakes. Not only that, she’s living in a world so technologically advanced that we can take things out of one person and install them in other people. And we FLY! We goddamn leave the ground and SOAR AMONG THE CLOUDS! We have GPS technology on our phones so we don’t have to stand in front of Burger King and ask a complete stranger, “How do you get to Burger King?”. And we have this tech because we put a bunch of satellites in orbit around the Earth like some kind of badass planetary Christmas tree. Lady, you belong to the species that figured all of this stuff out! So why are you asking questions that the village idiot wouldn’t? THERE ARE NO VILLAGES ANYMORE!
Next example: Starbucks has so thoroughly and completely fucked with us as a culture. How? By being at least slightly original in their marketing because they call their sizes tall, grande, and venti. Here’s a simple chart in case anyone’s having or has had trouble with this concept:
Tall = small
Grande = medium
Venti = large
Short = so damn small so what’s the point
Trenta = so damn huge you’re gonna piss yourself five minutes after you drink it
Is this in any way difficult to comprehend?
But we’re just gonna deal with the first three. How many of us have been standing in Starbucks and heard a customer having difficulty with this concept? Their apology usually goes something like, “I don’t understand your sizes.”. PEOPLE, THE MENU ISN’T WRITTEN IN ANCIENT SUMERIAN! I’m sorry, but this should be the “Gimmie” question on an exam. I’m pretty sure, rather than debate, question, and expose your stupidity, if you said, “a medium coffee” to the server, they’d get it. But no, the customer has to stand there and bitch that Starbucks just HAS to make everything complicated. Lady, read the stupid tax code. Starbucks isn’t making anything confusing. And why do people think there’s a skim (low-fat) version of soy milk? PEOPLE, IT’S NOT REALLY MILK! GAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! I swear, people must think there’s a special farm out there populated with soy cows.
And despite us having all of this GPS technology, people still have no idea where they are or where they’re going. They can’t even figure out where the bathroom is in the building they’ve entered. Apparently it never occurs to them to wander around and look. Or smell. Sometimes that works. But they always know where they want to go; they just can’t figure out how to get there. I just don’t understand this. I can get on Google maps and look at the royal palace of the king of Thailand. AND I’M NOT GOING THERE! WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM?
Would you like to know WHY there are certain safety recommendations on products you buy? Like on the side of a hair dryer, it says, “Do not use in the shower.”. Um, yeah, you’ll get electrocuted. But who thinks they’ll be able to dry their hair while there’s water falling on it from above? The reason why we have those warnings is because somebody did it. Some stupid human being did it and now the lawyers have to tell us not to do something stupid with it. That’s what all the warning on paper coffee cups are. The ones that say, “THIS BEVERAGE IS EXTREMELY HOT” really mean “Don’t be a fucking moron and dump this in your crotch.”. Containers of Play-Doh say “Not for human consumption.”. WHO THE FUCK IS EATING PLAY-DOH???? Trust me, someone opened a can of Play-Doh, saw that gummy, clay texture, smelled that rank pungent sharpness, and went all Cookie Monster NOMS on it. Then the Play-Doh lawyers went, “Holy shit! Call the printing department!”
Do you see why I have to laugh at stupid people?
I have seen people unable to figure out how a revolving door works. I have seen people completely mystified by a pay-parking machine. People can’t figure out voting ballots. People don’t understand how parking lots work. There are people who think, “That cop won’t tase me.”. People that spend two thousand dollars on a computer but don’t know what a browser icon is. People who think they can pay with foreign currency in an American business. People are still sticking knives into toasters. People that don’t understand what a crosswalk is for. People who can’t figure out which way to swipe their credit cards. I stood outside one winter, after a huge snow storm. The sidewalks were completely iced over. Across the street and up the block, a woman in a electric wheelchair was coming my way. Sideways. You see, she’d powered out onto the frozen concrete, hit the ice, and her wheelchair turned on the slick ice. At the top of a hill. So there she goes, still upright and headed downhill, with a look of complete surprise on her face as she slides over the ice.
My problem isn’t that I expect some higher demonstration of intelligence from people. I run into these people, have my indignation and laughs, but I walk away wondering how they’re able to function in their lives. How did they manage to find a job? How do they manage not to burn their apartments down? I’m not trying to be glib here; I think it’s a valid question. If the royal king of Thailand was in your bathtub, you’d probably be a little curious as to how exactly he wound up there. And these people vote. They reproduce. They share the highways with us. It causes me a little concern. These are the people you get on airplanes with. They’re making your food at Applebees. Some of them might be teaching your children. They make up the species that YOU belong to. And are we seeing any improvements? I seriously don’t think we are. People are simply not getting basic concepts. The other day, I stood and watched two college students trying to figure out a lunch menu. They were Americans. The menu was written in plain English. And they were having the hardest time understanding how much everything cost and what exactly the specials were. I stopped because it was obvious from first glance how simple the menu was. I had to watch simply because of how mind-numbingly stupid the whole situation was, so I wanted to see how long it took the two girls to resolve it. Fifteen minutes later, they gave up and went to Subway.
Every single day, I see examples of this. People blame Republicans or Democrats for the state of our country. Others say it’s because we’re not religious enough or we have too much religion. People blame the Chinese for taking our jobs. We’re not moral enough. We pay too many taxes. There’s a ton of complaining out there about how our country is getting along, but no one’s talking about all of the stupidity out there. Are you really going to stand there and tell me that Obama is really the reason why our country’s so messed up when we have people that don’t understand the ordering process at a deli when there are SIGNS TELLING THEM WHERE TO ORDER AND WHERE TO PICK THEIR ORDER UP? Yes, there are people who went to kindergarten, grew up, and don’t understand the concept of a line. I don’t think Obama is the problem.
The problem is, when you (nicely) try to point this out, you’re accused of being some kind of elitist asshole that thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Well, if being an elitist asshole who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else means I tied my shoes this morning without getting my head stuck in the washing machine, if it means I can order a drink at Starbucks without turning the experience into some kind of half-assed school board meeting, if it means I drank my coffee instead of washing my pants with it….then yes. I see your point. Now try to see mine instead of being too afraid to admit that you did something stupid. And please, for the love of God, try to understand what the sizes at Starbucks are before I have a seizure and start foaming at the mouth.