Friday, December 06, 2013

Dummies are getting dumber

There really can't be any more doubt that we are getting dumber as a society and as a species, can there? I mean, we're aggressively pursuing stupidity now. Forget that we haven't invented anything really significant (produced variations, yes; invented, no) in at least 50 years. We used to cure diseases; now we give out ribbons to kids who finish in sixth place. The kid that gets a ribbon for being a Good Participant may have the self-esteem of a champion but is not going to grow up to cure AIDS. And I'm not just beating up on America and our shortcomings. The whole world is getting dumber. For years, we've worried about how the Japanese are so much more technologically advanced than we are. A valid concern, except the Japanese have used that edge to design vending machines that dispense fresh lettuce. This is a global "We" that has hit bottom and decided to respond to that by coming up with more efficient ways to keep digging. In the 1870s, we invented the telephone. Today, we have beer cans that tell us whether the beer inside is cold or not. Also, yesterday a guy used a telephone to ask me if he should bring a 3 1/2 month old baby to a hockey game, after his doctor said it would be a bad idea.
Yep. Smart enough to seek the informed opinion of a licensed physician; not smart enough to follow his advice without getting MY opinion on the matter.
"Well, how old have you seen babies at a game?"
"Sir, I see people bring babies to hockey games all the time. But just because I've never seen one obliterated by an errant slap shot doesn't mean it couldn't happen. I've also seen people with infants at baseball games sit right behind the dugout where junior could be rendered a pulpy mass by a screaming foul ball. But just because I've seen people do that, doesn't make it a good idea. I don't know, you said you talked to a doctor. Exactly what did the person with the actual degree in medicine say?"
"He wasn't worried about the baby getting hurt. He said it would be too loud, bad for his ears."
"Okay then. There you go."
"I don't know. I really want to bring him."
"You don't think it might be a good idea to follow the doctor's advice and maybe wait a couple of years?"
"Yeah, I don't really feel like doing that."
"You know what, don't do that then. Go ahead and bring him. Bring him on a motorcycle with no helmet. Stop off for a father-and-infant-son steak dinner on the way. Not because any of those are good, smart ideas. No, do that because with you as his father, he's pretty much doomed anyway and you might well cram in some good times together before you get him killed. It's not like he would have grown up to cure AIDS or anything."

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