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Posted on Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Dave!You often hear "Youth is wasted on the young."

Less often you may hear "Wealth is wasted on the rich."

Something you don't hear very often is "Intelligence is wasted on the smart." And that's probably because smart people are smart enough to put their intelligence to good use.

But not always.

I've seen a lot of stupid people do a lot of stupid shit.

Most times it's relatively harmless... like when somebody gets drunk, decides they can fly, then jumps off the roof and breaks their leg. So they end up in a cast for a while and learn a valuable lesson. Which they will immediately forget the next time they get drunk. Because they're stupid.

Sometimes it's tragic... like when somebody gets drunk, decides they can fly, then hijacks a plane and crashes it into a football stadium during playoffs. So they end up dead for a while and learn a valuable lesson. Which, unfortunately, took their life and the lives of thousands of other people to learn. Because they're stupid.

But whatever. There's no sense getting too worked up over it because it's stupidity and that's what stupid does.

No, it's when I see smart people doing stupid shit that I fly into a rage. They should know better. They're smarter than that. They have the ability make better choices.

Today I had to deal with the consequences of somebody who is incredibly smart doing something mind-bogglingly stupid. They made a horrible decision which is not only going to destroy their own life, but is going to affect a lot of people in a bad way for a long time. And the more the situation sinks in the angrier I get and the more I want to know why. Why did you do it? What could you have possibly been thinking? How could you let this happen? Why? WHY? WHY? WHY?

And so, against my better judgement, I asked them.

Their answer?

"I don't know."

You don't know?!? Really? BZZZZZZT! WRONG ANSWER! That's the answer a stupid person gives. That's the answer that comes from somebody who never bothers to think about what they're doing or what the consequences might be. That's the answer from a person who just doesn't give a fuck and has resolved to live their life free of responsibility. That's the answer you get from idiots who "don't know" because they never know anything. They don't know and they don't care that they don't know, so they never make the effort to know, and THAT'S what makes them stupid.

You often hear "Even smart people make stupid decisions".

I know first-hand that this is true.

But if you're a smart person making a stupid decision that's going to ruin lives, you'd better damn well come up with a better answer than "I don't know."

The people who cared for you and trusted you deserve better than your playing the stupid card.

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  1. LeSombre says:

    My kids do this all the time. They don’t understand how infuriating it is to ask them “Why did you do this?” and get “I don’t know” for an answer.

    Hopefully, they can understand this before they get kids of their own. :-/

  2. Catherine says:

    Irrational thoughts & behavior can happen in any human of any intelligence level. Even if your query was delivered with kindness (as I’m sure it was), it may have felt accusatory, especially if he could see himself and/or the situation from your perspective. I bet he has even been in your very shoes at some time prior (as have we all, pretty much).

    I’m sure he felt that no reason (for lack of less Spock-y word) that he could have given you would have worked for you; no rationale would have felt rational enough for you. And, very much like LeSombre’s teenagers, in order to have even begun to offer you such answers, he may have had to sort some shit out first that he wasn’t yet equipped to sort. In other words, he may well have, in sympathy, and possibly yet baffled by his own self, given you the most honest reply he was able to articulate. Maybe in the future, maybe even very soon, he’ll have enough time on the decision to look back at it and apprehend the ‘reason(s)’, or part of it/them, such as the psychology behind it, or a motive that was strictly/overly emotional, and that may have been secret (read: none of your business) even unto himself at the time.

    Who knows?

    In any case, if I could make a little request, as an arguably intelligent person who has done some inarguably stupid shit: when tempted to ask why, as you were this time, either go with your better judgment and don’t, or get your head into a very open, exceedingly forgiving and understanding place before you do (even if it requires a big leap & some fake-it-til-you-make-it effort); genuinely want to hear whatever the answer is with judgment suspended until the person is finished talking. Prepare for an answer that does not qualify as a reason, that is not rational, and for crying out loud do not spit contempt at them if they don’t know or can’t articulate beyond ‘I don’t know’. Ask honestly, if at all; don’t set a trap, and be patient.

    People are weird.

    My humble thanks for making it all the way through this missive. 🙂

  3. Catherine says:

    P.S. If he is a fundamentally kind person, he likely can’t meaningfully see how the decision will ripple out to cause damage or harm to others. It may help if this is spelled out to him. But this is me in default mode, presuming the best in others til proven otherwise. If it turns out he could see how he’s being hurtful, then he’s got bigger problems than a bout of stupidity, and so does everyone in his life.

  4. Dave2 says:

    Without being able to go into details, it’s impossible for me to respond to this with anything but generalities. But my thoughts are more with the people who have to live with the consequences somebody’s thoughtless, reckless, utterly stupid decision, and “I don’t know” is a pathetic cop-out of an excuse. It’s dismissive and clearly shows that no thought went into it… as if the people they’ve destroyed aren’t worth consideration. Like when a financial advisor embezzles all his clients money and spends it on hookers and cocaine leaving them destitute. “You’ve destroyed my future, everything I’ve been saving for my entire life is gone. All I’ve ever worked for has been stolen from me. How could you do this to me? How could you do this to my family? Why?” – “DUUUUHHH! I DUNNO!” Sorry, but that’s pathetic. When you’ve cause this much misery to somebody, dig a little deeper and show some fucking respect. NOTHING you say is going to make the situation better, but at least don’t be a thoughtless, dismissive turd. Even if you don’t have an explanation, you can acknowledge what you’ve done, own up to having made a terrible choice, and offer an apology. Anything less is just stupid. But that’s the point, I guess.

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