Dec 20 2004


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“Hey, get this,” said Greg, calling over the top of his newspaper. “According to government experts, there’s a stupidity shortage.”

“What?” said Brigid.

“Government sources say there’s a massive decline in people walking out in front of cars, honking car horns for no good reason, and calling tech help lines because they couldn’t be bothered to read the manual or even just reboot their computer from time to time.”


“Let’s see … zooming through red lights is way down, and waiting until you actually get up to the counter before deciding what you want and standing there going, ‘Uuuuuhhh, uuuuuhhhh…’ for ten minutes is practically a thing of the past. Government officials are very worried, according to this … most of them depend on extremely high levels of stupidity to keep their jobs. One senator, who asked not to be named, says, ‘Well, we’ve spent the past century force-feeding substandard public education down everybody’s throat in a tremendous, carefully-orchestrated bipartisan effort to make sure that basic reasoning skills and common sense were eliminated whenever possible. Pliant, idiotic sheep make for good citizens, so naturally this Stupidity Crisis is going to get our immediate attention.'”

“I knew it!”

Greg turned the page, folding the newspaper over. “Stupidity experts were at a loss to explain the mysterious rise in the average intelligence level; one hypothesis is that so many idiots have wiped themselves and each other out in car wrecks, household accidents, and bids to get onto ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ that only the relatively smart people are left. Critics of this theory denounce it as ‘being thought up by a bunch of meanie-meanies.’ However, these same critics called in their opinions via cellular phone while they were driving.”

Brigid snickered.

“‘Unfortunately,’ said the anonymous senator, ‘stupidity, like intelligence, requires a certain critical mass to sustain. Once too many people get a clue, it becomes very hard to get back to the preferred state of general idiocy. The good news is, if we can arrange to keep the smarter people down, stupidity has a tremendous capacity to bounce back. Our traditional methods, such as ostracizing, beating up, and generally mocking anybody with half a brain, are very effective when implemented on the very young, and so we ask parents to go home tonight and tell your children ‘Don’t get smart.’ It’s a matter of national security!'”

“Lovely,” said Brigid. “Almost poetic.”

“A loaf of wine, a jug of bread, and tho,” Greg replied.

-The Gneech

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