Stupid Deaths

There are many options to choose from, but don’t.

A friend of mine just posted footage of some people on a beach in Lake Tahoe. Bucolic enough, until I add that there was a mama bear and her three cubs walking straight toward them. And they see that, and don’t seem to care at all. They’re too busy sunbathing to worry about minor details like their imminent demise. When in doubt, save the freakin’ beer.


I was just telling dear husband the other day that when I die, I hope it’s not because I’m being stupid about something. There are so many stupid death options out there to choose from. Most intelligent people value their lives too much to “take advantage” of those options.

For example, you won’t see me driving while intoxicated. I’m also not going to cross train tracks when the traffic gates are down. Nor would I ever jump an opening drawbridge. But you’d be amazed how often these things happen.

I’m also not going to eat something that can kill me if it’s not prepared just right. Fugu can’t taste good enough for me to risk my life or it. Nothing can. I’m also never going to ingest something without knowing what it is, even if everyone says the high is awesome.

I also have zero desire to play with explosives or fire or deadly weapons. I think a lot of stupid deaths are caused by youth and arrogance. That whole, “It can’t happen to me” thing is ridiculous. If it has happened to someone, then, by definition, it can happen to you.

I’m not saying that people should be so cautious that they don’t live their lives. If that were the case, no one would ever walk across a street, even if the traffic lights are red. We’d all be paralyzed with inactivity.

It’s a statistics thing, really. If I want to enjoy the redwoods, I’m not going to cancel my trip to see them because one person was crushed by a falling redwood. I just won’t wander amongst those trees during heavy winds or rains, and will heed all warning signs that I come across. Calculated risks. That’s the ticket.

Currently, 95 percent of the COVID-19 deaths are by people who refuse to get vaccinated. The fact that this whole issue was ever politicized is a travesty. Going without a mask while unvaccinated is not living free, it’s living stupid, and potentially dying stupid. It’s entirely preventable at this point. There’s absolutely no valid excuse.

So if you’re thinking of juggling chainsaws while walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon, I’d urge you to think of the consequences and consider how much you value your life. Because there’s nothing quite so pathetic as having someone stand over your grave, shaking his or her head, saying, “what a stupid, unnecessary waste.”

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library!


The Current State

Okay, so I have several theories about our current Grabber-in-Chief, and each one is scarier than the last. Specifically:

  • He’s a little boy who delights in kicking ant hills so he can watch all the little ants scurry around in panic and fury. Why else would he change his views so radically, from one moment to the next, without any reasonable explanation? Even his own staff does not know what the heck he’s going to do, or who he will fire, next.

  • He is so far gone, mentally, that he doesn’t have a clue about what he’s doing. He’s completely unhinged. He’s loopy. Mad as a hatter. He’s off his nut. Brace yourself, folks, because there’s nobody flying this here plane.

  • He’s the purest, most distilled form of stupid on the face of the earth. He makes W look like a genius. He has absolutely no concept of the consequences of his actions, and is utterly incapable of seeing that he needs to rely on expert advice. Never before has this country been expected to bask in the murky waters of such unprecedented incompetence.

  • He is evil incarnate. He doesn’t care who or what he destroys, as long as the end result is personal profit. He has no moral compass whatsoever. We are doomed.

Duck and cover, people, because my worst fear is that the real answer is: all of the above.

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The Tasteless Tale of the Innocent Sexpot

My least favorite movie on the face of the earth is the Fifth Element. And that’s disappointing to me, because the cinematography and the special effects were amazing. It depicts a fascinating future world, and I’m usually engrossed by that. But along with all the good things about this movie, it crams a cliché down your throat to such an extreme degree that it can’t be overlooked.

I recently watched this video on this very subject, and while it’s 18 minutes long, I highly recommend it. You’ll never see this cheap writer’s device the same way again. I’m talking about the trope which the video aptly calls “Born Sexy Yesterday”.

Basically, it’s the overused theme of a full grown woman with the mind and inexperience and innocence of a child. That is exactly why I hate the Fifth Element. It is the most extreme example of this trope that I’ve ever seen. She speaks a childish language, like Betty Boop on steroids. She strips naked in front of men, not realizing that she shouldn’t do so. She has to be taught the most basic life skills. And yet she can kick your butt.

Once you know how to spot it, you see this theme everywhere you look. A classic is Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch. What woman with sense God gave a goose is going to stand on a metro grate and let her skirt be blown up and have no idea the way that is impacting people around her?

Another one is I Dream of Jeannie. She can’t grasp the trouble she causes. And she absolutely adores her “master”, even though he spends the bulk of his time berating her. That’s another part of this cliché. The men involved are really nothing special. In fact, many of them are outright jerks. And yet these women adore them, mainly because they’re too stupid or sheltered to know better. Talk about every man’s fantasy.

I also have to grit my teeth during the scenes in Pulp Fiction where several of the women are as dumb as a box of rocks. One is madly in love with her criminal boyfriend, but nearly gets him killed when he has to retrieve his heirloom watch which she accidentally left behind when they’re running from killers. Another is a sexy cab driver who seems imbued with so much sexuality that she apparently can’t function on any other level. And then there’s “Honey Bunny”, who paints herself into a Mexican Standoff of epic proportions.

Oddly, the video I mentioned above does not cite any of these examples except the unavoidable Fifth Element. Probably because there are so many more to choose from. Tron: Legacy. Splash. My Stepmother is an Alien, Forbidden Planet, pretty much every Japanese Anime movie ever made, The Time Machine, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, Demolition, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid.

This theme is all about power over helplessly innocent women. It allows average men, despite all their flaws, to be viewed as the most amazing, most adoration-worthy things on earth. It remove’s men’s fear of rejection. Men are the experts, the leaders, the wise ones. They are to be admired. Women are sexy yet mindless machines, innocent objects, and passive, unjudging, idiotic worshipers who need to be rescued and protected.

In the Me Too era, this concept is particularly hard to take. And that annoys me, because darn it, I’ve loved the Forbidden Planet and Pulp Fiction and Seven Year Itch and Planet of the Apes and… sigh. Writers, please come up with some new ideas, will you?


Read any good books lately? Try mine!

Humor Expires

I used to know someone who would tell the same jokes and bad puns over and over and over again. They were funny the first time or two. But as the years went by they kind of got irritating. Then I started feeling sorry for him, because I’d see the looks on people’s faces when he’d trot out the same hackneyed quips.

I guess he figured that if they worked once, it was best to stick to the tried and true. But trust me: humor has an expiration date. Especially topical humor. I’m sure there were jokes about Abraham Lincoln, for example, but who would laugh at them now? And some humor stops being socially acceptable with time. (“I beat my wife up every morning. Ha!”)

The most annoying thing is that I can still hear him telling these stupid jokes in my head when the circumstances are right. That makes me grit my teeth. It’s like I’m stuck in a bad joke feedback loop and I can’t get free no matter how hard I try.

So here’s my advice for people who like to make others laugh: change your material frequently. The funniest people have creative minds. They are in the moment. They adapt to circumstances. If you stick to one never-changing routine, people will get sick of hearing it, whether they admit it to you or not. Predictable isn’t funny. Just saying.

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Yes, There ARE Stupid Questions

I have a friend who likes to say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” That always makes me cringe. I know what she’s trying to say. Don’t afraid to ask questions. It’s important to communicate. And I agree with that, wholeheartedly.

What I take issue with are those people who ask questions without thinking first. Some people have no filter whatsoever. It’s offensive.

For example, never ask a question you wouldn’t want someone to ask you. I once heard someone ask a transgender person, “So, do you have a dick?” I wanted to say, “Do YOU have one?” I mean, seriously, no one has ever thought it was appropriate to query me about my sexual anatomy, especially a total stranger in a public place. That simple courtesy should be extended to everyone.

Someone once asked me, “What is that THING on your face?” (Apparently I have a tiny patch of slightly darker skin. To be honest, I had never noticed until that point.) Thanks a lot.

Here are few questions one should ask oneself before opening one’s pie hole: Will the person’s response benefit me in any way? What purpose does this question serve?

Tact is a quality I value greatly. Tactful people are usually also discreet. And they generally have the ability to think of others as well as themselves. All of this falls within the realm of emotional intelligence. You might want to make sure you’re at least within shouting distance of that neighborhood before asking your question. Just sayin’.


Here’s a good question: Have you checked out my book?

“No, it’s because you’re a jerk.”

A few years ago, I was downtown in a large crowd of people, anticipating a huge fireworks display. The weather was mild, and everyone seemed to be in a festive mood. One guy was a little too festive. Extremely intoxicated, he started screaming and cursing at his family. And this was a big guy. Everyone was intimidated by him.

There were no cops in sight. His horrible behavior was putting a damper on everyone’s spirits. It was as if someone had poured toxic waste into an otherwise crystal clear pond. People actually started moving away from this guy, even though there was very little space left.

The matriarch of his rather large family finally said to him, “You are embarrassing us.” And the guy looked around at the staring crowd and paused. But full of liquid courage and liquid stupidity, he shouted, “What? You got a problem with me? It’s because I’m _________, isn’t it?”

I am intentionally leaving that space blank because I’ve seen this play out before, and any word would fit. Young, old, black, white, male, female, Lithuanian, Laotian, Christian, Islamic, short, fat, ugly, straight, gay, left-handed, French speaking… it could have been anything. It would have been just as stupid.

We all have qualities that set us apart from the people around us. Sometimes when people react negatively toward you, it’s not because of those characteristics. It’s because you’re acting like a fool. Unfortunately, bad behavior transcends race, creed, religion, gender and orientation.

So next time people look at you with disdain, before you go there, ask yourself if you’re in fact being a jerk. Yes, prejudice exists in the world, and it’s wrong. But often the most simple answer is the correct one. There’s every possibility that you’re just an a**, plain and simple.

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That’s the Ticket

Okay, I don’t normally do this, but I’m strongly encouraging you to leave this page right this minute. You have GOT to see this. Seriously.

Just when you think people can’t be more insane, gullible, or stupid, you hear a story like this. And it has everything. Crazy looking people. Bizarre ideas. Jesus. A baby alligator. And best of all, it totally reinforces why I couldn’t wait to leave Jacksonville, Florida!

What are you waiting for? Click, already!

American Alligator, baby Photo No. 3 660

Passive Aggressive Stupidity

If you ask me, one of the most annoying habits on the planet is acting stupid when you aren’t. I see people do this all the time. Is it because you don’t want responsibility heaped upon you, or are you trying to manipulate someone into doing the heavy thinking for you?

I particularly want to shriek when I see women doing this. Many of us are taught that this behavior is cute or that somehow it will make us seem less threatening. You almost never hear a man described as silly or ditzy or flaky. It’s bad enough that this stereotype is so firmly embedded in our culture without our actively confirming it.

When I hear someone say that they’d never be able to learn something, my gut reaction is to say, “Don’t be ridiculous. Of course you can.” You may not want to take the time. You may not enjoy it. It’s possible that it will take more effort for you to grasp than it does for the person sitting beside you. But you are capable of learning anything. Anything.

So don’t get into the habit of inviting stupidity in when it’s not already present. Before you know it, it may just make itself at home.


Ignorance is NOT Bliss

There are few things in life that annoy me as much as an intelligent female who acts stupid because she thinks it’s cute or expected of her. There are women in this world who think people will like them more if they avoid being seen as the smartest people in the room, which indicates to me that they probably aren’t the smartest people in the first place.

I suppose this behavior bugs me because I prize intelligence over just about anything else, and I can’t imagine giving that away. I also can’t imagine wanting to be in the company of someone who would prefer that I be less than who I truly am. And I would have a hard time respecting someone who would actually fall for an intelligent person who is dumbing herself down.

Ladies, there are plenty of people out there who are going to assume we’re not very bright just by virtue of your gender. If you doubt this, walk into 9 out of 10 mechanic’s garages and ask a question and see what happens. There’s no point in taking part in the reinforcement of that categorization by acting the fool.

If anything, being a strong, independent, intellectual woman means that you shoulder quite a bit of responsibility. Just by being in this world and interacting with others, you are setting an example of what women are capable of, and how they should be perceived and treated. Each day you are making a small impact, and chipping away at a stereotype. Future generations will benefit from the impression you make every single day. Whether you know it or not, you are blazing a trail. For God’s sake, do it with pride, dignity, and intelligence.


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The Thing About IQ

I know a boy who despairs because his IQ isn’t as high as he’d like it to be. He thinks he’s doomed to failure. He thinks he’s stupid.

I heard in passing on NPR today (sorry, couldn’t tell you who said it or on which program) that IQ is not as good an indicator of academic success as discipline is. Someone who has a lower IQ and perseveres, gets his or her assignments done on time, and doesn’t put off studying ‘til the last minute is bound to do well. So, boys and girls, don’t let that IQ number get you down.

The reason I feel comfortable even discussing this without an adequate citation is that I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen people struggle and plug away at various disciplines and come out on top because they really apply themselves. Their success is hard-won, but it’s still success. I’ve also seen people with genius IQs fail miserably in the working world because they may know their stuff, but they are incapable of communicating with others.

I truly believe that it’s much more important to be well-rounded than it is to be at the top of some arbitrary scale. I’m much more impressed with someone who has a lot of life experience than I am with someone who is so high up in his ivory tower that he cannot see the landscape.

So live your life. Take advantage of any opportunity for a new experience that comes your way. And most of all, don’t let some number dictate who you are or who you can be.


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