I’m not stupid but I am incompetent, though hardly more than the average person, which is worrisome.
My problem is I don’t know anything about how the world works. A short list of things that bewilder me would include almost everything, but let’s get specific:
I don’t understand how an airplane flies, or a bird. I have no idea how a radio sends voices through the air, nor how old telephones did it with wires and poles. I can’t rebuild a carburetor, I can’t play poker and I’m not sure where the fusebox is.
I understand nothing digital, nor what a low pressure system is on the weather channel, and I also don’t know how the TV works that carries the weather channel. How does paint come out of spray cans? How does the oven get hot and stay at 325 degrees? Be grateful it wasn’t up to me to invent bread because we’d still be chewing hardtack.
What is a transistor and why is it important, unless it isn’t. Maybe digits took over. How do Apps work? I never knew ROM from RAM or a floppy disk from a hard drive. I know how to type but never learned to change a ribbon.
I know nothing about grammar. I don’t know an adverb from a gerund, can tell you nothing about an adjective or a pluperfect pronoun, and could no more diagram a sentence than diagram the interior of King Tut’s tomb. I don’t know what iambic pentameter is, or isn’t. My understanding of satire is hazy.
When it comes to math I can spell the word Algebra. After that, nothing, including long division, astrology and geometry. I can’t do Instagram or read a sonogram or send a telegram. I do know a gram of cocaine isn’t very much.
I’ve no clue how a vacuum cleaner sucks cigarette butts off the living room rug and I couldn’t put half a sentence together on how air conditioning blows cold air at us.
On a De-Evolutionary Index Scale I’d rate myself as functionally incompetent, unable to care for myself or others unless everything is provided for me, including a bib at feeding time and big buttons to push for heat and air conditioning.
Full Disclosure: I AM A COLLEGE GRADUATE.
And be assured I’m smarter, more knowledgeable and better-read than today’s college grads, which means they are even higher (lower) on the Stupid Meter.
My Point: Here in the midst of a national election, smug TV commentators and sharp newspaper columnists tell us that smart people, which is to say college educated people, all vote for one Presidential candidate. Stupid people, without at least a bachelor’s degree, vote for the rube who appeals to their stupidness.
Remember, media noise will keep telling you I’m real smart and have impeccable skills in choosing political candidates because I spent four years in college.
Meanwhile, ignorant oafs, farmers and factory workers in Nebraska and Kentucky will trudge to the polls to “vote against their own interests.” Why?
Uneducated dullards often don’t understand the need for adult men and little girls to share public restrooms. Lacking college degrees, they sometimes go days without pondering gender fluidity, and are rarely paralyzed by guilt from racist acts their ancestors never committed. Many don’t yet realize America is a failure.
Plumbers, roofers, mechanics, bookies and ranchers are too stupid to know what’s good for themselves, but teachers, poets and social workers are smart, and well understand which side of the bread the butter’s on. Right now they’re busy helping themselves to another loaf, with jam.
College grads learn to think like other college grads, which means they don’t learn to think at all. Almost no one I know with a degree has much knowledge beyond a smattering of the superficial. They look for government jobs because they’re timid and insecure, then happily spend entire careers going to meetings with other smart people.
Many hold jobs where it’s impossible to determine if they do a great job or a lousy job. A terrible teacher gets by because what do third graders know? A lousy therapist whose customers keep committing suicide goes undetected so long as she shows up looking grieved at their “Celebrations of Life.”
But if you are a lousy roofer you will be sued, chased down the road and made to eat shingles. A bad NASCAR driver will never get to be a NASCAR driver.
A terrible poet will be laughed at but the New Yorker will still print his silly poems. The worst social worker in Mendo County will merely be tied with all the others.
Instead of being educated, most college grads are simply credentialed. A diploma tells us they have completed Diversity Studies programs and are sufficiently Woke to be unleashed on society with degrees in Sociology, Modern Dance, or Artistic Theory.
1) You’re on a sinking yacht in the middle of Lake Mendocino, with an island a half mile away. Who might best help you to safety?
A) A Harvard linguistics professor
B) A retired Green Beret officer with two combat ribbons
2) Which three people would you hope to find living on the remote island?
A) An art historian, a film critic and the San Francisco mayor
B) A construction worker, a plumber and a comedian
3) You have to hack across 50 miles of jungle to get back to Ukiah. Who would you choose?
A) Someone with a Master’s Degree in Interpretive Dance
B) A logger
Now that you’re home and we know how smart you are, go mail in a few ballots.
(Tom Hine lives with TWK, his pet monkey. He purposely left doctors and lawyers off the “educated” list; they’re beyond such categories, plus he’s married to one. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)