The Theory of Relative Stupidity
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My fellow friends, colleagues, and members of the scientific community, after many years of study, research, supposition, postulation, conjecture, and a lot of late-night dictionary diving to find a bunch of really big words, I hereby present to you the sum of my life’s work in thesis form titled, “The Theory of Relative Stupidity.”

But before we can thoroughly explore this subject, it is first necessary to examine and define certain terminology used in this Theory in order for us to approach the subject with commonality. I have no idea what any of that just meant, but it sounded smart.

First and foremost is the word “Theory”—a noun used to indicate a hypothesis, a conjecture, speculation, or more plainly, a guess. Anyone can have a theory about anything. I once had a theory that if I constantly told my brother he was stupid, he’d turn out that way. My theory was wrong. Plus, he punched me in the eye to prove it.

  
 
Next is the word “Relative”—a word that means comparative and qualified, but it could also be used to describe my Aunt Edna in El Paso. A lot of English words have more than one meaning, and that’s why most students hate their English classes.

Finally, we have the word “Stupidity”—a word that pertains to all things foolish, idiotic, foolhardy, inane, and plain silly. Most people use this word without really knowing its origin, but this thesis will not deal with origins; to do so would be lengthy and downright stupid.

The words “of” and “the” are extra words we don’t really need. Think of them as additional government employees—the ones who just stand around watching the others work.

Now that we have defined a common terminology, let’s take a closer look at “The Theory of Relative Stupidity.”

In plain English, “The Theory of Relative Stupidity” postulates that any form of inanity will, when placed at specific coordinates upon a timeline in a third-dimensional space-time continuum, be viewed upon as sensible until it is viewed from a different set of coordinates along the same timeline. In even plainer English, some ideas seem good at the time, but usually turn out not to be. To prove my point, I present these three examples:

Example No. 1: You would never stoop so low as to get your hands dirty while replacing the head gasket on a vintage Jeep. Your brother, on the other hand, loves everything mechanical and would prefer to repair the engine himself than take it to a “professional.” You think it’s your duty to tell him he’s being stupid. He slaps you in the ear with a monkey wrench, causing you to forget everything since last Tuesday. Weeks later, your brother has a working vintage Jeep that didn’t cost him an arm and a leg to fix. You, realizing that was a stupid thing to say to your brother, just want your ears to stop ringing.

Example No. 2: You think it is reasonable to tell your brother that it’s a stupid idea for him to move to Montana to become a sheep herder. As he pulls out his bullwhip and chases you around the barn, you realize telling him was a stupid idea. He goes to Montana without your blessing and becomes the Sheep King of the West. You, thinking that he might be on to something, buy some goats, but it’s just not the same.

And finally, Example No. 3: You, being the oldest, believe it logical that you should also be the strongest, tallest, fastest and most witty. You also believe it is your right to tell your brother he will never amount to much. When he finally catches you, picks you up, throws you down on the ground and makes a joke about how you now look and sound just like a chicken that didn’t quite make it across the road, you realize it was pretty stupid to say anything to his face when you could have used e-mail instead.

In conclusion, “The Theory of Relative Stupidity” describes how we humans are more perceptive of our own stupidity after the fact than before the fact. But that’s a good thing, because without it, we wouldn’t have the ability to laugh at ourselves or the absurdities of living. So, to echo the words of that famous American, Patrick Henry, I say, “Give me stupidity, or give me death.” On second thought, that was a pretty stupid thing to say.

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