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As Forrest says: Stupid is as stupid does

27 Jul

When do we stop making excuses and hold people truly accountable for their actions? When do we stop and say, ignorance doesn’t give you the right to be incompetent? It really bothers me when people butcher the English language in ways that are almost beyond comprehension. Add to that how texting is a language unto itself. It’s a more rudimentary phonetic form of English that has made its way into places where it’s simply not appropriate. Texting language doesn’t make me think you’re clever or cute, it makes me wonder if you know how to spell.

Is it truly too much to ask for someone to take responsibility for their errors? Is it necessary for you to make your problem mine too? It’s no secret to those who know me that I can become easily annoyed. As I get older it’s harder and harder to disguise this. I do believe that there are stupid questions and that when asked they sometimes require an honest answer. Generally when that’s the case the person on the receiving end of that answer will not like it or me. Here’s a basic example. A person walks up to a machine that clearly indicates “coins only” and the person proceeds to ask if it takes dollar bills. A tame example but I’m sure you get my point as you consider other similar acts of stupidity. Really, it’s not a matter of simply being absent-minded, it’s just stupid that so many people frequently do such nonsensical things.

So you think I’m griping, being too judgmental and too mean. Maybe. I think, based on my life experiences thus far, that people often only truly pay attention to things when they’re about to smack them in the face. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes do it too. I have my moments where common sense escapes me. But I do try to be more diligent in not acting like a fool when my oversight comes back to bite me. We’ve all had instances where we’d wished we paid closer attention or read the fine print. However, those who seemingly float through life without regard for consequences as it pertains to them or how their carelessness affects others anger me. Just because you aren’t prepared for a test you’d long known about or aren’t willing to use common sense when completing a task, it doesn’t mean I should pat you on your head and hold your hand.

Actively seeking out the answer, learning, and growing is most certainly high on my list of commendable traits. Just because we’re Americans it doesn’t mean that we’re exempt from learning how to be an informed and productive member of society. This point often comes into play for those who think voting is a waste of time and complain about the very system they don’t even take part in. In the same vein, stupid isn’t just reserved for ‘regular’ people. Stupid certainly applies to politicians who have learned nothing from the humiliating disasters that have been played out on the public stage by their predecessors. It’s obvious that they’re being stupid as they senselessly behave inappropriately, get caught, and then say they’re sorry. Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, you’re only sorry because you got caught. There’s a Caribbean saying that translates to, once is an accident, twice is on purpose. Typically in their cases it’s always more than twice. And let’s not get started on our glorifying some superstar athletes and actors, placing them on unrealistic pedestals and expecting them to behave in a manner befitting of a role model. It’s our own stupidity to believe that they are anything but mere humans with bankable qualities.

Again, I realize that some may find the word “stupid” to be too harsh, that you are somehow angered or annoyed by my opinion. As a matter of fact I will say that according to Webster’s Dictionary, stupid does mean, “acting in an unintelligent or careless manner.” I must also admit that I recognize that using the word stupid is far more sensational than using words like obtuse or vacuous. Regardless of how you may feel about my opinion it only goes to reinforce what is commonly accepted, we’re all entitled to our opinions, no matter how ignorant or stupid they may be. Or, as so eloquently stated by Tom Hanks in the movie Forrest Gump, stupid is as stupid does.

This article appeared on page 5A in the 7/27/11 issue of The Union-Recorder.

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