Stupidity: Its Uses & Abuses

Written by Robert Levin

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 embracingrepparttar 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 asrepparttar 118248 next man. I do. Stupidity is, after all,repparttar 118249 best solution we’ve come up with torepparttar 118250 mother of all problems itself,repparttar 118251 problem of being mortal. Enabling us to recastrepparttar 118252 grimmest of existential givens—making it possible to believe not only that we’ve seenrepparttar 118253 image of Johnrepparttar 118254 Baptist on two separate taco chips but that our sightings are proof-positive of a Second Coming andrepparttar 118255 prospect of salvation and eternal life—stupidity isrepparttar 118256 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, sincerepparttar 118257 origin of consciousness, a marvel of human resourcefulness. Indeed, as a response torepparttar 118258 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)repparttar 118259 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 discussrepparttar 118260 conduct of innumerable emotional shitheels who, in just this past month, used stupidity irresponsibly and, to grievous effect, tracked their slovenly handling ofrepparttar 118261 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 torepparttar 118262 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 onrepparttar 118263 register," andrepparttar 118264 other who demonstrated an appalling literalness.

Inrepparttar 118265 case ofrepparttar 118266 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 moverepparttar 118267 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, answerrepparttar 118268 phone or take any kind of nourishment.

No, I didn’t make those people up.

But of allrepparttar 118269 recklessly moronic lowlifes I encountered in this brief time frame,repparttar 118270 one that best personifiedrepparttar 118271 scourge I’m addressing wasrepparttar 118272 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 onrepparttar 118273 air anymore." And then announced thatrepparttar 118274 bill was counterfeit and that she’d have to confiscate it—without compensating me. (Apparently, having touched it, I’d technically been in possession ofrepparttar 118275 bill—and no, I SWEAR, I didn’t make this lowlife up either.)

Recycle THIS!

Written by Robert Levin

Recycle THIS by Robert Levin

Earlier today I received a notice advising me thatrepparttar recycling program in my neighborhood has been “rebooted” and that I will henceforth risk “serious fines” if I fail to sort and, inrepparttar 118247 case of jars and bottles, RINSE my garbage before leaving it out.

I hate to come off as a bad sport, but I’ve got to tell you: In all these years I’ve never once sorted or rinsed my garbage and there’s no way I’m going to start now. I mean, what exactly IS this shit? I don’t even sort and rinserepparttar 118248 stuff I keep!

Let me try to explain something here. I would never have had a problem withrepparttar 118249 chore we’ve been assigned if a vital need to conserve essential natural resources wasrepparttar 118250 given it’s assumed to be and ifrepparttar 118251 claim that recycling saves significant quantities of natural resources was true. Butrepparttar 118252 importance and value of recycling is dubious at best. Summarily ignored, a number of reports (including one in The New York Times) revealed early on that, in fact, we’re not running out ofrepparttar 118253 substances recycling is intended to save. What’s more—and this applies to nonbiodegradable materials that end up as landfill as well as to organic elements—evenrepparttar 118254 industry’s own published (and doubtless exaggerated) figures make it clear that whatrepparttar 118255 recycling process manages to salvage is of no real consequence. So while I’ll allow that self-immolation would constitute a disproportionate form of protest, I have to say that reacting with less than indignation to so gratuitous an imposition would also be inappropriate. (Particularly when you consider that nowhere inrepparttar 118256 notice was there mention of a tax rebate for performing what, if it’s to be performed at all, should properly have been a function ofrepparttar 118257 Department of Sanitation fromrepparttar 118258 beginning.)

It’s obviously not as dramatic, but this recycling business had always reminded me ofrepparttar 118259 so-called “oil crisis” ofrepparttar 118260 late seventies. Remember that? Remember how we were told flat out that after decades of witless gorging on a finite resource we’d all but depletedrepparttar 118261 world of fossil fuels? Remember how, to be sure that we gotrepparttar 118262 message, we were made to endure frantic weeks of gasoline rationing and reduced thermostat levels?

(I know that my senator then, Senator D’Amato will want to cut in here to tell me this was before “Jurassic Park” came out and that atrepparttar 118263 time we didn’t realize we could make more.

Yessir. That’s an...interesting...point. But, and with all due respect, SIT THE FUCK DOWN!—it’s besiderepparttar 118264 point I was making. Okay?)

The point I was making is thatrepparttar 118265 whole thing was a setup to get us to accept inflated petroleum prices. There was, it turned out, enough oil left under justrepparttar 118266 backyards of Kuwait’s Emir and Mobil’s CEO to run our quadrant ofrepparttar 118267 galaxy AND keep Pat Riley splendidly coifed for another century or two.

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