Stupid Is As Stupid Does

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Editor:

You know a problem with the editorial page of the newspaper?

Smart people and stupid people get equal ink.

And since stupid people tend to shout longer and louder than people who have acquired wisdom and judgment, ignorance often prevails.

Is that a bit too cynical for you?

Stupidity is not a function of capability; it's a choice.

OK, so what's the point? The point is, stupidity is cheap and plentiful. With stupidity, your options appear to be endlessly open.

Wisdom is scarce and expensive and usually involves up-front commitments.

You decide between the two, every hour of the day.

In the 21st century the #1 successful life skill -- a skill that NOBODY ever seems to talk about -- is discernment.

dis·cern·ment (d_-sûrn'm_nt) n. Keenness of insight and judgment.

How do you teach someone discernment? That's a million dollar question. In no particular order, my own observations of wise men vs. fools:

  • Stupid people proudly step forward and identify themselves. They self-select.
  • Smart people read the Roundup to read compelling articles and letters. Stupid people only read the Roundup to find something to complain about.
  • Wise people research history and read original sources. Fools simply watch Fox News and never check the facts.
  • Wise people know that education costs money. Fools think that the future generation is somebody else's problem.
  • Wise people protect the Earth, knowing that we have only one planet on which to live. Fools have no concern for the consequences of their actions.
  • The wise make time to do things right the first time. Fools never have time to do it right the first time, but somehow find the time to do it over again... and again... and again.

I don't know that anyone can just sit down and teach you to be wise. However, you can:

  • Associate with wise people, and distance yourself from people who always seem to be screwing up their life with bad decisions. You can't fix them anyway.
  • Seek and accept sound advice, even when it's uncomfortable, negative or embarrassing.
  • Watch the "Jerry Springer" show, pen and paper in hand. Write down every mannerism, expression, motive and impulse you observe, and... expunge those habits from your life. And then... don't ever watch "Jerry Springer" again, or hang out in places like the local Laundromat where it's on all the time.

Larry Brophy

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