Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Feeling Stupid

          Have you ever felt, really and truly, well, stupid?  Hopefully such moments are infrequent, and are interspersed with wonderful moments of feeling wise and brilliant, or at least able to fake it.  But I think we all have those creepy times when we say or do the absolute wrong thing, and there’s no back-pedaling.
          I have many of these, but my stupidity stops short of sharing all of them in one blog post.  Since most kids are going back to school now, I’ll tell you just one of mine.  It happened during my first semester in college.  I had signed up for a psychology class (okay, I figured I would ace it since my dad was a psychologist).  One of the requirements for freshman peons is that they volunteer to help senior psych majors with lab experiments.  I signed right up for a two-hour meeting with an uptight coed I shall call Merda.  I have chosen this pseudonym because by the end of the experiment, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have minded murdering me.
          She sat me down and began explaining the binary system to me.  This was before everybody had their own home computer, and decades before we all had them built into our cell phones.  Also, mind you, math is not my strong suit.  Math with alphabet letters standing in for the numbers is such a pet peeve of mine that my brain digs in its heels and resists what is clearly Language Larceny.  But Merda was on a roll.  She explained the entire binary language, then asked me a series of questions about it, to see if I had understood her.  I failed miserably and with every wrong answer she became more and more irritated.  It was as if I were proving her teaching methods wrong.
          Just as an aside, I would like to add that this aversion to such matters is not genetic, apparently.  I gave our eldest son a binary clock when he was in high school and he was THRILLED.  Nobody else could read it, so he was now DOUBLY THRILLED.  Or BINARILY THRILLED.
          But back to Merda. By the end of our session, she had progressed from irritated to incensed to fully angry. She accused me of not trying (I get that a lot, but it’s usually in sports), and of not taking school seriously. Little did she know that I was very likely the most serious taker of school she would ever meet.  Finally she said something about my not being adept, period, and for some INSANE reason I thought about horses.  I thought about how much I loved to ride, how I first learned on skittish Shetland Ponies, and how I knew how to saddle one up and take off, something most kids at my college in Los Angeles would find utterly miraculous.
          As she dismissed me, I decided to defend myself by pointing out that not every praiseworthy skill relates to the binary system, and I said, “Do you know how to housebreak a horse?”
          She stared at me, incredulous.  “No,” she said.
          “Well I do,” I snapped, and with that final “touche” moment, swept out of the room in moral victory.  I got about twenty feet away before I realized I had said, “housebreak,” not just “break.” So now, not only did Merda think I was the dolt of the century, but a squalor-dwelling nitwit who keeps horses INSIDE her house.  Potty trained or not, this is truly not a good idea.  
          Yes, folks, you cannot make this stuff up.  And now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to look at pictures of horses on Facebook.  What the hay.
I’ve blogged about other embarrassing moments; scroll through and you’ll see many.  Be sure to subscribe, so you can feel brilliant every single week.

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