Saturday, July 13, 2013

Everybody thinks everybody else is stupid

Not long ago, one of our little dogs died.  Don't worry, this isn't a retelling of that but this story starts there.  After it was all over, I took the microchip tag from her collar & put it in my keychain.  Since then I have lost track of how many people tell me that the tag should be on the dog's collar.  Not one of them has been snide.  They are all kindly, patient even, obviously trying to help the silly woman who doesn't know how the whole ident-a-chip thing works. 

The whole thing puts me in mind of something that happened decades ago.  I was in a car; I was not the driver.  The driver was cursing & shaking his fist & in general behaving like an idiot because the guy in the car in front of him was going the speed limit i.e. too slow.  & I do mean dead on the speed limit, because this was the cause of some of the upset (the posted limit being more of a guideline really & +5 being the actual limit).  Eventually we got to a point where this car could be passed & the unhappy driver looked over at the other car & saw a radar detector on the dashboard.  He cursed some more, hit the horn, hit the gas & flew on by, actually saying something like "look at that idiot, he even has a radar detector & he is still driving slow". 

You probably don't need me to tell you who got pulled over for speeding moments later.  What was interesting to me then & interesting to me still was the driver's complete conviction that the other guy was just too stupid to...I don't know what.  All the evidence that the other guy might have information he did not was right there.  He even acknowledged it & yet he never put together the information the other guy had access to & the way the other guy was behaving & came up with what in retrospect was painfully, expensively obvious. 

This has been on my mind lately as I watch the news, & not just the political coverage which is universally asinine (except NPR, I love NPR.  & by the by I think Gillian Flynn is supposed to be on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me this weekend so I must set my alarm).  Where was I?  Right, Idiocy.  I guess what I am wondering is if we wouldn't all be better off if instead of seeing some one doing something stupid & immediately jumping up & down with laughter, indignation, pity (& now I really want to see someone jump up & down with pity) maybe we should all stop for a moment & consider maybe there is more to the story.  I know it isn't the human way, but it is an option.

Finally, I think I should point out that while the people explaining to me how ident-a-chips work mostly work at the grocery store (it is pretty much the only place I pull out my keys & put them down where they can be seen) & are pretty much teenagers, the driver who got the ticket is a practicing attorney & graduated from a law school that is famously harder to get into than Yale.  So you don't have to be stupid to be stupid.

No comments:

Post a Comment