Suffering idiots

The word “suffer” is immediately connected with pain. One might read the title above and think of fools in pain. Today I consider a different meaning, “allow” or “tolerate”, as in “He does not suffer fools”. Although the allowance of fools is indeed painful, the word does not necessarily imply pain.

As much as I enjoy Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, one of their songs has been abused by fools for over forty years. Yes, I am speaking of “Teach your Children Well“, a song that might be sub-sub titled “I am an idiot for using these lyrics as justification for my ignorance”. The song does not suggest that children are wiser than their parents, it suggests that all generations need to strive to understand each other. I once lived with a woman who would pair this song with the phrase “From the mouths of babes” to explain why she thought her daughters opinion was superior to hers. Not on occasion, but always. Yes, I have loved morons.

When the same daughter received academic scores in the first percentile, not only did I have to explain percentiles to this woman, but I was asked not to explain them to her daughter, because she didn’t want her to “feel bad”. When the daughter expressed an interest in becoming a brain surgeon, she was encouraged in order to spare her feelings. I lost track of them soon afterward, having never bitten completely through my tongue, but on occasion I wonder whatever happened to them, the daughter would be closing on thirty now, if she survived the crushing blow to her ego that was waiting for her.

Another woman I lived with shortly thought that the music video “Land of Confusion” by Genesis was real. Not just true, but real. She based her political opinions on muppets. In fairness, this may not have been true stupidity but was more likely brain damage. I can’t recall a three hour interval during which she did not smoke marijuana. We eventually parted ways because she felt I was not adequately terrified of a hurricane we weathered in Antigua. Of all our differences, that was the one that annoyed her.

So you don’t think too poorly of me (or maybe this makes it worse), there have been many women in my life, and I am not attracted to idiots, I just tolerate them and am able to weed out inspirational jewels from their unusual viewpoints. A mind that is free of the ravages of intelligence can be quite refreshing. A martini can be refreshing as well, neither should be the center of a healthy diet.

It often comes to suffering, feeling mental anguish, but if I only sought out people exactly like myself, I would be very lonely. Not because there are few people like me, but staring at one’s reflection must be isolating.

The two edged sword of technology is that with universal access, there is no filter. The viewpoint of the genius and the moron stand side by side on the internet. You have no way of knowing my credentials, if I am intelligent or just egotistical, from a single article. Over time you most likely realize a constant tone, and you either agree or disagree with the point of view, and it is my hope that you find a reason to reference me as a reliable source of information. I come from a long line of teachers, and it is always my desire to inform and educate. I don’t expect to be profound every day, just often enough for you to keep coming back.

My tone can be acerbic, there was in fact a time it was my only joy, the “inside joke” with myself as I worked in a field surrounded by fools I had pledged to assist. One client was in the habit of calling me “Doctor House”, after the television character portrayed by Hugh Laurie. The nick name fit well enough that my wife gave me a cane with flames painted on it. Although I rarely need to use the cane anymore, I do carry it when traveling, “handicapped” people get preferential boarding on aircraft, and do not stand in line at security checkpoints, so I consider it one of the few positive aspects of multiple sclerosis.

We all have our place, and our value, in society. It is not up to any of us to judge the relativity of that value, as without all of us, none of us could enjoy a full existence. It is through understanding a spectrum of viewpoints that our own has any validity.

2 comments on “Suffering idiots

  1. Alice Sanders says:

    Remember the old adage “you can learn something from every one you meet?” It is true, but who is going to yak away two or three years to find that jewel?

    Let us remember, we judge other people by our standard. Blake, you have an exceptionally high standard; therefore, it is rather difficult to find that balance of being able to communicate intellectually with someone of your calibre. I think it would be a great conversation, but always from what I have observed of life is that one is going to have one-up over the other.


  2. Mari Collier says:

    I much prefer my method. One man that when we were together could finish each other thoughts, enjoyed many of the same things, and we could look at something out of the ordinary and laugh together. Yes, we did separate things also. He preferred his western novels to my history and archaeology books, but he also knew a great deal of the Native American history. He did make punny puns, but how I miss that now.


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