Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dumb Dilemma

You shouldn’t hate someone for something they can’t help, meaning race, gender, place of origin, etc.  This is easily apparent to anyone born after the 1800’s.  Being a bigot has fallen out of fashion, which is most likely for the best.  But I haven’t seen any research on that idea, so I guess I can’t really say for sure either way.

Why bring up such a mundane point?  Good question.  But shut up.  I bring it up because I find myself bigoting all over the place every day I leave my apartment (which is almost every day).  Race, age, gender, none of that shit matters to me.  You could be a baby Chinese girl or a Chilean grandfather (which, I believe, are opposites), it really doesn’t matter to me. 

What group do I bigot all over everyday?  Stupid people.  Dumb, stupid idiots that seem to follow me around like the sun.  To be clear, I’m not classifying someone as stupid because they don’t read non-fiction books, or might not know the specific years of the Civil War, or how to divide fractions, or how to change the oil in a car.  When I say “stupid,” I’m talking about the people that look like they have glass eyes when you talk to them.  A vacant stare of non-comprehension.  A failure to possess a basic grasp on the way the world works, how to interact with other people, and how to conduct themselves in accordance with an everyday situation.

Also, the scale of stupidity slopes with age.  You can get away with being stupid when you’re young.  I’m not going to fault a six-year-old kid for walking in traffic against the light, or asking for directions to the store that sits directly behind him.  But if you make it to be sixty years old, you better have your shit figured out.  I’ve met stupid, old people and it blows my mind every time.  How can someone survive in the world that long and still not know how shit works?  That deserves a medal and a kick in the face at the same time.

This is a highly contested issue between me and me:  Are stupid people worthy of hate?  Should you hate someone just because it doesn’t occur to them to turn their phone on after they tell you to call them?  Should you treat someone with contempt because they try to pay for an item costing twelve dollars with two five-dollar bills?  That depends.

Viewpoint One states that they are stupid people.  From day one, they were stupid.  No teachers sparked their interest in learning.  Maybe their supply of oxygen was cut off for a minute while they were still in utero, leaving them with limited brain capacity.  Maybe they just got whacked on the head and haven’t been the same since.  No matter what the cause, the person is irrevocably stupid.  Nothing they can do will change that fact.  In such a case, hating these people is a contemptible act along the same lines as hating people with Down’s syndrome.  It’s not their fault. 

Viewpoint Two states that they are people that are stupid.  There’s a difference.  These people have simply never cared enough to figure shit out.  They are stupid not out of lack of resources or the physical ability to enhance their mind, but out of sheer laziness.  They never bothered to learn how to speak English in a clear, coherent manner because people have been able to decode what they were saying in the past.  They never bothered to learn the rules of the road because they’ve gotten to their destination in the past.  Why take the time to learn how to do things in the correct way when you can just wing it and get by in a barely acceptable manner?

I waver back and forth between which viewpoint I believe.  Mainly, I side with Viewpoint Two.  I’m sure there are people out there that fall under the umbrella of Viewpoint One, and it sucks for them because I’m going to treat them the same way as I would treat Viewpoint Two-type people.  Telling them apart is impossible.  The same slack-jawed demeanor is present in both types, so the irrevocably stupid will just be lumped in with the lazy.

I believe that’s all stupidity is:  Laziness.  But at the same time, laziness is what holds everybody back from being a professional hockey player.  It’s true.  If everybody practiced hockey all day every day from the time they could stand on skates through college, we’d all be hockey players.  The thing that sets professional hockey players apart from the rest of us is the intense desire to become a hockey player.  Anybody can do anything (besides shit like jump over the moon) if they work at it for long enough.  Did Wayne Gretzky become the best hockey player because he was born with the knowledge of how to control a puck while skating around 200 pound maniacs while dealing with the pressure of having thousands of people watching his every move?  No.  Of course not.  He had to work long and hard to get to that point.  And he had to really want it to stick it out for that amount of time.  It wasn’t Gretzky’s natural talent (well, maybe some of it was) that set him apart, it was his work ethic.

It might be the same way for stupid people.  They might not be interested in being smart.  Some people like oranges, some people like apples.  Some people like learning shit and growing intellectually, some people like watching TV all the time and smashing a full sentence into one word.  They might be okay with watching Jerry Springer every day and working as a Wal-Mart cashier until they die.  If that’s the case, fine.  That’s okay.  But they should at least have the decency to figure out how to exist in a society without driving people insane.  This means they would have to stop being selfish, but that’s not endemic to stupid people and is also an entirely different conversation. 

Is it right to hate stupid people?  I’m not sure.  Maybe chronic stupidity is nothing more than a physical handicap that is more worthy of consolation that hatred.  I don’t know.  But I also don’t know why I like fruit snacks.  I just do.  I do know that I can’t stand talking to a stupid person.  I don’t know why, but that’s okay. 

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