People never cease to amaze me. Never. The bounds of their stupidity are limitless.
I watched a news program after hurricane Ike passed through Galveston…the city in which more than 8,000 people had died in a similar hurricane in 1900. They were interviewing a couple who had just been rescued the day after the storm. They had refused the mandatory evacuation order, since it obviously hadn’t been intended for, and therefore equally obviously didn’t apply to, them. As the waters surged into their home, they had called 911 for help and were instructed to tie identification around their ankles so that their bodies could be identified if found after the storm. They were completely outraged that the police, whose salaries, they made clear, were paid with their tax dollars, had refused to come drag their sorry asses out of harm’s way. And similar stories emerge from every hurricane.
I feel I have the right to speak contemptuously of the stupidity of others because I have worked long and hard in the field of Advanced Stupidity, and continue to hone my skills in it nearly every day. Though I cannot claim the same level of stupidity as the guy who reaches into the tiger cage to pet the big kitty, or decides to save time by blow-drying his hair while still in the bathtub, or robbing a bank and writing the stick-up note on the back of one of his own checks, I do what I can.
I never pass up an opportunity to speak before thinking, or to lose my keys or my cell phone or glasses while seated in my chair, or to write a series of up to four e-mails, each one apologizing for some dumb mistake made in the previous one. I get a note from Bethann and reply to Bertram, which necessitates an embarrassed note I invariably begin: “I’m so sorry, Beth Anne…,” and from there things just naturally seem to go downhill.
I am with a good friend when another friend, who has never met the friend I’m with, approaches. I have known each of them well for a number of years, and I start to introduce them. Suddenly, I cannot remember their names. The worst example of this was when I lived in Los Angeles and, with a friend, ran into a guy with whom I had…uh…a pleasant encounter…the night before and hoped to see again. I totally forgot his name. Needless to say, I did not see him again.
I never reread e-mails before hitting “send,” even though the instant my finger lifts off the “send” button, I see that I have typed several words or even a full line with my fingers on the wrong keys. Or I hit “send” when I intended to hit the space bar.
You do the same thing, you say? Well, that’s okay. You are, after all, human, and therefore allowed to make mistakes. Unfortunately, this magnanimity does not extend to myself. Every glitch, every error, every slip, every faux-pas is inexcusable simply because I damn well should have known better before I did it, but I went ahead and did it anyway.
I love stories of the legendary feud between Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Time Magazine founder Henry Luce, and poet Dorothy Parker. Speaking of Mrs. Boothe, a friend said to Ms. Parker: “You know, Clare is her own worst enemy.” To which Dorothy replied: “Not as long as I’m alive, she’s not.”
Alas, I am Clare Boothe Luce with no Dorothy Parker to take the heat off.
This blog comes from Dorien's ebook Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads an Amazon. It's also available as an audio book from Amazon.