A Path to the Peaceable Kingdom

This is a message of peace. Stupid people, as a wise man once reminded me, are everywhere. There are more of them than there are of us. Stupid people come in two types: 1) the group who knows they’re stupid and are simply trying to scramble along like the rest of us and 2) the ones who, God only knows why, think they’re smart. And they’re everywhere. At every level of society and achievement.  Every race, culture, creed, national origin, age, gender, physical ability, and educational attainment. Talk about equal opportunity! Uncaged, they roam the streets on a daily basis.

I wish to address today’s post to the topic of learning to manage when you are confronted with Type 2 because you cannot escape them and must, somehow, find a way to coexist with people who, unbelievably, have cultivated a sense of arrogance and entitlement when they lack any cognitive abilities necessary for the task at hand. The consequences of not adopting a coping mechanism of this sort will nearly always result in either you being dragged off to jail for some unspeakable act of violence or a heavy regimen of pharmaceuticals. Give peace a chance!

Please note that my wisdom is hard won—I have the scars on my behind to prove it—and my quest continues to be a work in progress. However, Type 2 stupid people are unflaggingly resilient (somewhat akin to a cockroach) and will show up in all corners of your life at the least apropos of times: think bank clerks, development officers, our elected officials, IRS representatives. But don’t stop there, include your new boss or work colleague, your brother-in-law, or fellow board member. People with whom you must interact on a regular basis about something you actually care about or who hold your financial fate in their hands protected by a 1-800 number that requires a genius to override in order to speak with a live person. Yeah, those people.

So, here’s the formula for sanity that I have devised (please let me know any alternative approaches that have worked for you). First, you have to realize that this individual is stupid and then understand that they are unaware of their stupidity— unfortunately, sometimes this takes more than one interaction. Second, you must then prepare yourself in advance for the inanity that will reliably be directed at you as part of this person’s Standard Operating Procedure. Preparation is key because, otherwise, you will respond with reasonable yet increasingly frustrated responses which will only make things worse. Remind yourself to practice calm and say as little as possible. Do not roll your eyes. Third, be prepared to gently and cleverly spoon feed a solution to this idiot. Caution! If you employ sarcasm or start to act like General Patton all their defenses will be deployed and then you’re screwed. Fourth, you must, whenever and as soon as possible, practice detachment. Do not get emotionally involved with this person or the situation as morons like this are sure to leave you with a broken heart over whatever it is, bleeding in the metaphorical street. Love ‘em and leave ‘em. Seriously. Disappointment comes to him who insists on treating arrogant idiots like normal people. Handle with care!

According to my scientific study, if you follow this prescription, you are way more likely to survive this interaction with a minimum of upset and stand a fair to even chance of getting what you want out of it. The annoyance comes when you realize that you have to deal with them on a repeated basis! But, if it isn’t one Joe Idiot it’ll be another because there are more of them than there are of us. Remind yourself of this. It behooves you to master these coping skills because you’ll have a lifetime of opportunity to practice these behaviors. Who knows, maybe one day in the future you’ll be so skilled that dealing with an arrogant idiot will no longer enrage you.

Ah, wouldn’t that be nice? Talk about a peaceable kingdom.

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One Response to “A Path to the Peaceable Kingdom”

  1. Steph Rakowski Says:

    The irony is that, of course, they will think they are the ones dealing with someone who is not the sharpest tool in the shed… and what if they are? 😉

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