Friday, April 25, 2008

Stupid People, or Moments of Stupidity?

Sometimes it takes a minute or two to decide if someone is truly stupid, or if they're simply doing something stupid during a momentary lapse of judgment. An incident this week made me ponder this, and caused me to reflect back on some of the indicators that I have seen in the past in other people*. Here's a few:

-A man stands on the soft convertible top of his car to hang a Christmas decoration on the edge of his roof. He's a large man. What do you think happens? If you guessed that he ripped through the fabric of the car top, you get a cookie! Stupid man, or momentary lapse?

-A man changes the oil in his truck. After draining the oil from the oil pan, he begins adding quart after quart of new oil to the engine. He cannot seem to figure out why it's taking more oil than usual...and eventually notices the oil running down his driveway into the gutter. If you guessed that he forgot to reinstall the drain plug, you get a cookie. This same man dumped his pan of used motor oil in his front lawn, and was shocked (shocked I tell you) that it made a big dead spot in the lawn. Stupid man, or momentary lapse?

-A man is preparing to grill some steaks. After firing up his gas grill, he waits a few minutes, only to have his wife ask him, "Is the grill hot yet?" He checks by placing his hand directly on the cooking surface of the grill (yep, it was hot). Stupid man, or momentary lapse?

This week's incident was much less dramatic, but still cause for head shaking. I'm currently attending (as mentioned below) the Staff NCO Academy Advanced Course. They make us buy nifty looking green t-shirts with Gunny chevrons on the back to wear at PT (physical training, aka: legal hazing). In order to make things simple, we passed around a roster with everyone's name on it, and we were told to put the quantity, style (cotton or mesh), and size of t-shirts that we wanted on the roster. When the roster came around to me, I couldn't help but notice that one individual had simply written "green" next to their name. No quantity, no style, no size. Granted, all of our t-shirts that we wear to PT are indeed green, so I suppose it was a good guess on his part, but it was still a keen indicator of possible stupidity.

*Disclaimer: I have deliberately left out incidents of my own stupidity. Rest assured that there is no shortage of them. That simple fact is what causes me to ask whether it's true stupidity, or a momentary lapse in judgment. In addition, did anyone notice the error in the graphic above?

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