It’s time to take punitive action against an insidious and rapidly proliferating menace to our emotional well being. I’m speaking, of course, of "service industry" people who are embracing dumbing down craze too enthusiastically and who, doubtless incapable of even masturbating by themselves any more, regularly perpetrate nerve-rattling, mood-curdling, faculty-numbing and spirit-withering indignities against us.
Let me hasten to say that I value stupidity as much as next man. I do. Stupidity is, after all, best solution we’ve come up with to mother of all problems itself, problem of being mortal. Enabling us to recast grimmest of existential givens—making it possible to believe not only that we’ve seen image of John Baptist on two separate taco chips but that our sightings are proof-positive of a Second Coming and prospect of salvation and eternal life—stupidity is most effective means available to reduce terror and panic (the human default condition) to a relatively tolerable disquietude. So I respect stupidity. Okay? I think, in fact, that stupidity has been, since origin of consciousness, a marvel of human resourcefulness. Indeed, as a response to human condition, I think that stupidity is rivaled in its genius only by schizophrenia!
But while my regard for stupidity is equal to anyone’s, I also think it’s important to remember that (if for no other reason than simple decency) ancient Greek admonition, "anything in moderation," has application even here. I mean for all of its utility as a buffer against existential dread, stupidity is an unruly thing that can have—when it’s exercised intemperately, when no effort is made to confine it to its purpose—a very negative impact on people who are subjected to it. Yes, it’s crucial to our ability to function at all that we not always recognize too clearly that death is both inevitable and final. But if you’re a bank teller it can pose a major challenge to your customer’s medication when you’ve truncated your brain so drastically that you can’t be certain if it’s Ben Franklin or Tom Snyder who appears on a hundred-dollar bill. (Hold this last thought for just a moment.)
Now to illustrate my point I could discuss conduct of innumerable emotional shitheels who, in just this past month, used stupidity irresponsibly and, to grievous effect, tracked their slovenly handling of problem of living into my life.
I’m thinking of clerks, counterpeople and company representatives—AND NONE OF THEM FOREIGN BORN—who reduced my own circuits to flakes of carbon when they obliged me to restrict my vocabulary to dozen or so English words they were able to comprehend.
And remaining vivid in my memory are two cashiers, one of whom insisted that $42 for a quart of orange juice HAD to be correct because it was "right there on register," and other who demonstrated an appalling literalness.
In case of latter individual: After I placed some half-dozen items in front of him and was reaching for my wallet, he asked me (rhetorically, I assumed) if I was taking them. When I joked that no, I wasn’t, that I liked to go into stores and move stock around, he became irate, bellowed that I must be "some kind of weirdo" to do such a thing and demanded that I leave.
The orange juice jerkoff caused some nasty chemicals to spill in my brain that still haven’t stopped flushing through me. The second bastard triggered a twenty-four-hour period in which I experienced a profound reluctance to leave my apartment, answer phone or take any kind of nourishment.
No, I didn’t make those people up.
But of all recklessly moronic lowlifes I encountered in this brief time frame, one that best personified scourge I’m addressing was aforementioned teller, who, when I asked her to make smaller denominations of a large bill SHE’D just slid toward ME, took a long look at it, said, "Wait a minute, something’s very wrong here." Then said, "No, it’s okay." Then said, "This CAN’T be right—I don’t think he’s even on air anymore." And then announced that bill was counterfeit and that she’d have to confiscate it—without compensating me. (Apparently, having touched it, I’d technically been in possession of bill—and no, I SWEAR, I didn’t make this lowlife up either.)