Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Stupidity is not a legal handicap.
Park elsewhere.

I swear I'm going to go alpha dog on the very next friend or family member to tell me, "I'm too stupid to figure that out." Or, "I can't do that, I'm stupid." Or, "You know how stupid I can be." Or, the very worst, "I'm just stupid."

Yes, we are all capable of doing stupid things, but that's entirely different. The gods know, I've done enough stupid things in my lifetime to be fully aware of that difference. However, nobody that I choose to associate with is, by any stretch, intrinsically stupid!

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt."
~Bertrand Russell

I have so many friends who have so much to give the world, but they're stymied by their lack of belief in their own intelligence. Y'all know who you are - knock it off! I've had not a few people say to me, "If I'm so damned smart, why can't I figure out a way not to work for a living?" Well now, that is a stupid question. It takes more than smarts, it takes opportunity and perseverence, pals o' mine! Back in the early 80s some intelligent person decided to take a few rocks from his garden, paint eyeballs on them, and the Pet Rock craze was born. Hundreds of thousands of truly stupid people spent money to buy a rock.

Being an inherently intelligent person is like winning a lottery. Fritter it away, and you'll end up with nothing. Invest it, nurture it, and use it, and you'll end up with something more in this life than just a lot of knowledge. I've known some (so called) extremely smart people who haven't got the brains the gods gave a lemon - they're the ones who are smart because they figured out early on that they can read a book and memorize a lot of verbage about a lot of different subjects. I worked with PhDs who couldn't, for the life of them, figure out how to unjam a copy machine. I used to edit papers for these same people, because they couldn't form a complete sentence to save their souls. Sure, they used big, fancy words and high concepts, but they didn't have the tools to get their points across. So, they handed the papers to me, the girl with no college education, for rewriting. Yeah, sure, it made me feel smug as hell. Still does.

"Unfortunately, common sense is the least common of all the senses."
~Mark Twain

David likes to say that he's "just a dumb blue-collar worker," that he's stupid because he can see a word 10 times and still not know how to spell it, and because he's not college educated. I've threatened him with unending torment (and I'm not talkin' about the fun kind!) if I ever hear him say such things again. He's very highly intelligent - he wouldn't have captured and held my attention if that weren't the case. He didn't go to college because, like me, he was busy living life. He can't spell well because there's a glitch in his brain between seeing a word and applying it in writing - but he sure as hell has a huge vocabulary. Conversation with him is never dull or filled with mono-syllabic utterances; it is full of wit, insight, and a wild sense of humor that (in my experience) only appears in highly evolved individuals.

My sweet little Hungarian Grandma had, at best, a third grade education. Her grammar, both hungarian and english, was pathetic. Was she stupid? Fie. Perish the thought! The amaZing Grandma Schmutzer was full of insight and intelligence. Stupid people never possess the humility that she always wore like a crown.

"Stupidity has a certain charm - ignorance does not."
~Frank Zappa

There's a lot I'm ignorant about, but I'm not stupid. I know how to research. I know how to learn. I'm also self-aware enought to know that I learn best if I can immediately apply new knowledge. Guess what? I don't always know how to spell everything. I actually do have to look things up (looking things up and knowing where to look things up is a sign of intelligence, by the way)! I know. You're stunned - you all think I just have a wealth of stuff in my head. Well, I do, but I don't know everything... not quite.

"...As if there were safety in stupidity alone."
~Henry David Thoreau

Some people are afraid of knowledge, afraid of their own intelligence. Now that's just stupid. Knowledge is power. Foster it. Harness it. Use it! Read something (besides my brilliant blog postings, Silly!). Do something. Challenge yourself. Challenge your own intelligence every day. It will keep you young, and it will keep your brain nimble and quick.

Let me know what you learn...

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