Posted tagged ‘dumb decisions’

Why Would You Put Gum In Your Armpit?

September 22, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    September 22, 2018

                             

Middle school is a time of discovery as eleven, twelve, and thirteen year olds enter a new land of educational challenges, physical awkwardness, and unwise decisions. Like the frightened character in the horror movie who decides to open the door to the room where the strange sounds are coming from (and the theatre audience is yelling “Don’t do it!”), middle school kids do things and say things that make us shake our heads in dismay.

Like the boy last year who told his teacher, “I’m getting tired of looking at your face!” It did not go well for him!

Or the eighth grader who thought it would be cool to body surf down the concrete wall in the stairwell! He got about five feet into his journey and then fell over the side, landing on the steps in the lower half of the stairway! 

Ands then there was yesterday when a boy decided to put his chewing gum into his armpit…underneath his shirt! Just as gum gets stuck on the underside of desks for eternity this boy’s armpit was stuck with some Dubble Bubble!

As with the actions of many middle school students the first question that comes to an adult’s mind is “Why?” Why would a student who can understand algebra put bubble gum in his armpit? Was he trying to keep it moist? Did he not know where else to store it and his armpit wasn’t doing anything anyway? Was it a class where the teacher doesn’t allow gum and he thought he could sneak a few chews in from time to time?

And what did this boy, who by the way did have some armpit hair to help create a situation that gives new meaning to the term “bubblicious”, tell his parents? Where did he get the idea that putting gum in his armpit was a good idea? Did he see his dad do it once in the midst of an elk hunting trip?

Is an armpit gum crisis a disciplinary problem that requires the security guard to be called; or a medical situation for the school nurse to handle; or a custodial situation with some stain remover; or a wood shop problem solved with a little bit of sawing…kind of like cutting some small trees down!

It happened on Friday afternoon. For some middle schoolers Friday afternoon is when they get a distorted understanding of American freedom and think anything is okay. For teachers and school administrators Friday afternoon is like the end of a marathon race. Energy is low, muscles are cramping, their cardio system in at its max, but the finish line is in sight! They are stretching for the tape just about to break it and throw their arms up in triumph…and someone comes into the room or office and says “Jimmy wanted to see if he could fit in his locker and now he’s stuck inside it!”

There is the urge to respond with “Well…he will still be there on Monday when we come back!”, but…then the teacher or administrator remembers that their job description includes something like “rescues students from themselves!”

Being An Idiot Requires Idiocy

July 17, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      July 18, 2018

                             

I’ve done a few things in my life that required me to be a citizen of the land of Stupid! They were words uttered “dumbly!” Or actions that were void of all intelligence! 

I remember telling one young lady, who I was enjoying a first date with, that she was nice…that she was small in certain areas of her body and nicely shaped in others. She took it that I meant she was small breasted and then okay in other body proportion. It was our last date together! I still slap myself as I think of how my words of flattery floated like a lead balloon!

We all have memories of our journeys to Stupid! Most of the time no one gets harmed in the episode, but sometimes stupidity leaves its mark on us. Like a few years ago when John Smoltz, who was pitching for the Atlanta Braves at the time, tried to iron his team jersey…while he was still wearing it! Can you hear the sizzle? 

Or the young girl who thought Nair was a kind of hair shampoo! Oops! Can you say “Nice shine”?

There are some people in this world, however, who seem to enjoy living in Stupid. One gets the impression that they stay up late at night pondering how they can look like idiots the next day. 

Every time you think LaVar Ball has moved to a room without a Stupid view he reemerges with something to confirm he’s still a resident. Last week he said that he could have beat LeBron James one-on-one back in his hey day. He said LeBron was too weak! Ball played one season of college basketball back in 1987-88 at Washington State, where he averaged just over two points a game. 

LaVar Ball, however, has a way of convincing people to join his trek to idiocy. His Big Baller Brand sneakers were priced at $495. The Better Business Bureau, however, has given him an “F” rating on how he has handled the selling of those shoes. His Junior Basketball League for young men who seem to have been convinced to bypass college has been an expedition based on ambitious dumb ideas. 

LaVar runs for re-election to be Mayor of Stupid about once a month!

What’s funny about idiots is that they often try to convince people that everyone else is an idiot except them! A friend of mine recently was offered temporary lodging by a family. He needed a place to stay, and a free place was even better, but the people who gave him a bed were “flat earth people!” They were staunch believers in the idea that the world is flat. All evidence to the contrary, including astronauts circling the globe, was seen simply as a government conspiracy to cover up the truth. My friend weighed the options: finding a place and pay rent or being provided a free bed tagged with the obligation to listen to the flat earth people. He could stand listening to it for a month and then he had to get out of there to save his sanity.

Idiots have their own version of what is true and what is reality. Don’t bother them with the facts and film footage!

There’s a difference between a dumb idea and a dumb belief. Years ago I had a carton of Coca-Cola stolen out of the backseat of my car. I hadn’t locked the car, so it was stupid of me to forget to do so. A former neighbor of ours, on the other hand, never locked his car or rolled up the windows. His reasoning? If someone was going to steal it he didn’t want them to break the glass and get it all over the inside of the vehicle! I stood there with my mouth wide open as I heard the reasoning!

I’m sure I’ll visit “Never Never Intelligent Land” a few more times before people stare at me in my casket, but I try to have my visits remain brief. Kind of like the Cedar Point Amusement Park ride, Top Thrill Dragster! Always reconsider getting on an amusement park ride that has bleachers alongside it for people to be able to sit and watch. It was stupid to ride it, but at least it was only 13 seconds long!

The Loudness of Stupidity

August 13, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    August 13, 2017

                                 

While visiting my dad in Ohio recently I drove him one morning to a doctor’s appointment across the river in Huntington, West Virginia. The waiting room for the physician was “intimate”, meaning that there were about eight chairs positioned in a way so that you could see everyone else, whether you liked it or not!

Two men unfortunately became part of this setting soon after we arrived. They were loud! Now, my six year old granddaughter is also loud, but she’s six! We remind her to use her inside voice! These two men, however, were loud and…stupid! They trumpeted their stupidity to let everyone know that they were “life stupid!”

I know, I know…you’re thinking that I’m being very judgmental here. I guess I am. Yesterday morning when I sat down to eat some scrambled eggs that had been sitting on the counter for a few minutes I made the judgment on the first bite that they were cold. Sometimes judging a situation is easier than deciding on a score at an Olympic diving competition. In this situation the two waiting room individuals made it known to everyone in the same zip code that one of them was about to enter into his eighth marriage, while the other hadn’t followed simple pre-visit instructions that were going to result in his sharing his life wisdom for the others around him for the next four hours. A woman who was evidently related to them kept referring to them as “Dumb and Dumber.” They seemed to take it as a compliment. These two did nothing to change the stereotypes that people have about West Virginians!

The problem in our society is that some forms of stupidity are disguised as how things should be. People don’t see their prejudices and bad behavior as ignorance. They think that’s how the world should be.

And so racism gets portrayed as natural, and white supremacists LOUDLY proclaim that their warped view of the world is normal. Last week someone or someones who were committed to being stupid in life defaced the outside of a Jewish synagogue in Colorado Springs. Stupidity doesn’t just happen east of the Mississippi or in a Huntington physician’s waiting room, or at a Charlottesville, Virginia rally. People do stupid all over the place loudly!

We could go to the bottom line of the Christian faith that says that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but, quite frankly, that often gets used as an excuse  for deep-seeded evil and deliberate cruelty.

Stupidity finds a comfortable home in a number of people, snuggles into their decision making, and reveals itself with a blow horn!  There is nothing rational or reasonable about it, and yet multitudes seem to follow it’s enchanting call.

In the midst of our culture’s shouts of lunacy I keep repeating to myself the words of the prophet Amos, “…but let justice roll on like a river, righteous like a never-failing stream.” (Amos 5:24, NIV) In reading those words I envision the thundering sound of a rushing river drowning out the loudness of ignorance!

That is my prayer more and more these days!

Seventh Grade Peer Pressure…Er…Influence!

April 8, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                April 8, 2017

                                 

I substitute taught Health class for 7th graders one day this past week. There is something about 7th grade that resonates with me. Maybe it’s because it was such an awkward year for me back in…1967! Lord, help me! That means that this is the 50th anniversary of my 7th grade year! (I should make a Chef Boyardee pizza tonight and relive the memories!)

In the Health class we talked about peer pressure. Or, put in a more positive term, peer influence! I don’t know about the students, but I enjoyed it. The discussion was interesting, as we identified different ways our peers influence us…positive and negative. I don’t remember “drugs” as being one of the conversation pieces when I was in 7th grade, but kids today are feeling the pressure to experiment.

Social media was not a temptation back in ’67! We passed notes that shared information like “Bobby wants Jenny to be his girlfriend”, or “Fred told Mr. Smith he was full of crap and he’s in the principal’s office now!” That was our non-verbal information system. 7th graders today are a little more sophisticated, and becoming wiser. They are increasingly knowledgeable about the advantages and dangers of social media. They know about SnapChat and texting, have heard the situations involving sexting, and the ripple effects of comments that people have made on Facebook.

The encouraging thing for me was that many of them identified the peer group they “hang around with” as being the most important decision. Wise choices flow much easier from a student who has friends who also make wise choices.

That is one factor that has not changed in fifty years. I remember one of the friends I had back in my Williamstown, West Virginia 7th Grade year was a boy who was fun to be around, but prone to “doing stupid!” I laughed a lot around him, but “did stupid” a couple of times when I was with him. Like when one of our teachers heard him utter a curse word and told him to watch his language. As she continued down the sidewalk from the school I hollered after her, “What are you going to do about it, you old bag?”

Dumb, dumb, dumb! Five minutes later I was in the principal’s office along with my cussing sidekick. That was back in the days when principal’s still had paddles in easy to retrieve places in their offices.

I went from dumb, dumb, dumb to my butt being numb, numb, numb!

I tended to make unwise decisions when I was with my cussing friend. Our family moved a year later to a new town, and as an 8th grader I hooked up with two friends who tended to make wiser choices, Terry Kopchak and Mike Bowman. Funny…as I think back on it now I realize I never saw the inside of the principal’s office that year!

Two years later we moved again and I connected with another positive peer group of Mike “Fairboy” Fairchild, Tommy Douglas, and Dave “Hugo” Hughes. They rescued me from a couple of other guys who tended to “do stupid” and seemed cool! Fairboy and Hugo were both groomsmen in my wedding, and I officiated the wedding ceremonies of Dave and Robin, and Mike and Carol. I’m increasingly thankful for these friends who rowed the boat with me in positive directions.

Most 7th graders today understand the positive influences of their peer group and the negative peer pressure of those who like to live dangerously. They know that we all make bad choices and dumb decisions, but also are acutely aware of the fact that a positive peer group will tend to minimize the number of poor decisions.

I asked the class the question “If you could put percentages on how much of the peer pressure you experience is negative and how much is positive what would be your assessment?” Several of them said it was 50-50, but one wise and intelligent young lady said 90-10! I assumed she was saying that 90% of the peer pressure she experienced was negative, so I asked her to explain her 90-10 assessment. That’s when she indicated that the 90% was positive, and it came down to the friends she hangs around with. I loved her simple solution: “If your friends tend to make stupid choices you need to get some new friends!”

Put another way, if your friend is very familiar with the furnishings in the principal’s office…and even has his name on one of the chairs…you need a new friend! Don’t abandon him, but don’t do a Friday night sleepover at his house either!