Monday, June 20, 2011

Stupid People: The “I Fail To Learn My Lesson” Person

A mechanic I know told me a story about a woman who came in to have her passenger side mirror replaced on her car. The thing was… it wasn’t the first time. This woman had the same mirror replaced four or five times on a car she had owned for only a couple of years because she would continually break it off while backing out of her garage.

Now I can accept someone breaking off a mirror… I even did something similar once myself while trying to squeeze around a car parked in the middle of the driveway. I might even be able to accept someone doing it twice when they failed to learn the lesson the first time or maybe were driving a different vehicle. However, if you break off the same mirror four or five times in a span of two years, how smart could you possibly be? How many times do you actually need to do something stupid before you stop and ask yourself how you can prevent from it happening again?

Since hearing this story I often have wondered what someone like that does for a living. What if she was a doctor or a dentist or worse – a politician. I’m not sure stupidity is isolated to only one area of the brain, so needless to say if this was my doctor I’d be finding myself a new doctor, and if this was my politician… I’d probably move to a new district as I would be embarrassed to be represented by an idiot.

I also see stupid people who get married and divorced time and time again. You see celebrities who have been married seven or eight times and they end up divorced over and over again. Don’t you think that after your fourth or fifth failed marriage you might stop to think – hey maybe this whole marriage thing isn’t for me because I clearly suck at it? Sure you can blame a few marriages on the other person, but when you are filing for your seventh divorce I think it is safe to say you haven’t learned your lesson and likely never will.

I fully realize we all do stupid things, but most of us learn from our mistakes and hopefully do our best to prevent making those same mistakes time and time again. However the more and more I look around me, the more and more stupid people I see. This is precisely why tax preparation companies are so popular during tax season, because if a person can’t manage to back out of their garage without breaking off their mirror time and time again, or if they can’t manage to have a successful marriage after six or seven attempts, they aren’t very likely to be able to fill out a tax return even if they only need the 1040EZ form.

You often hear people say that people are smart but they just do stupid things. I have to say I totally disagree with that. There was a Seinfeld episode where Jerry asked Elaine what percentage of people she thought were good looking and she answered twenty-five percent. Jerry then said “Twenty-five percent, you say? No way! It's like 4 to 6 percent. It's a twenty to one shot.

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say 4 to 6 percent is the magic number, but there is no way I would claim that more than 20% of the human race is considered smart. I’m not even going so far as to say you have to hold a PhD or understand advanced level thermodynamics or quantum theory here… I’m merely talking about the amount of people who don’t do or say stupid things on a regular basis.

I hate to sound negative, but I’d estimate 80% of our population is comprised of stupid people, which probably explains the popularity of things like the Snuggie, vaccine-causing-autism conspiracy theories, Jersey Shore, and the belief that there really is such a thing as Bigfoot.

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