STUPIDITY

We’ve all seen them. They seem to come with the territory. The territory of being human.

The debate as to who is responsible for these acts is gaining momentum. The arguments are sincere and often quite passionate but the truth is we cannot assume the responsibility for all of them. I remember,  years ago, my husband and I on a beach on Oahu witnessed, swaggering out of the brush and onto the beach, some young sailors off Bill’s sub. One of the guys, the toughest, the biggest, the leader of the pack, had a heavy Aqualung strapped on his back, huge black flippers attached to both feet, a mask  and a breathing tube stuck in his mouth. With great courage, and utter stupidity, he strode out into a heavy surf, his friends, tagging along behind, cheering him on. Bill and I took off running, waving and shouting, trying to head him off, but to no avail. The first wave he encountered picked him up like a flounder in a tsunami and planted him so deep in the sand we despaired we’d ever be able to dig him out. All of us got busy, risking our lives as the waves crashed in on top of us to haul the guy out. If he hadn’t had the hose stuffed in his face he’d probably have died of suffocation.

Who’s to blame?  The publisher who printed the ad about Aqualungs in the paper? The guy who sold him the lung? He no doubt had to take a course, maybe in a pool, on how to use the thing, but who, in his right mind, would think the kid would try to walk out into crashing surf with the thing strapped to his back?

Bill was an excellent sailor, a yachtsman, first class, and, after he died, I sailed with guys on their big fancy yachts. I saw dollar signs instead of seamanship.  I  admired their yachts and assumed they knew what they were doing. How could I know, until I got out there, they didn’t know a halyard from a sheet, the bow from the stern, a jibe from a tack or starboard from port? Should I have sued them for putting my life at risk? I don’t think so. My answer was, I think I’ll stay ashore and watch from the bar to see if you make it out the harbor.

Today’s big fuss about obesity, diabetes, heart disease and diet is almost as stupid as the people who indulge in the fat feast. Maybe we should sue every four star hotel for those magnificent all you can eat buffets they sometimes serve.  Some of the plates their diners carry are heaped so high with expensive calories one could suffer a heart attack just looking at them. With some people  the fat around their middle seem to match the fat inside their heads. They seem to think these profuse and elegant  gastronomic events are nothing but pig outs.

It’s a sadness in our country today  that people have become so stupid. Who shall we blame? Who shall we sue?

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