The Stupid Files

9 May

My son grew up with better cartoons than I had. Oh, the Jetsons were ok and I really did love “Rastro,” but my son was lucky enough to be a ‘toon watcher when “Dexter’s Laboratory” was in its heyday on Cartoon Network. Dexter, the boy genius, was constantly vexed by his less intellectual sister, Dee Dee. In every episode, Dexter would tell her “Dee Dee, you are stupid. You are stupid. And don’t forget, you are stuuupid.”

I think I love that line so much because there is so much that is stupid in this world. As evidence, I offer the following. There is a road that runs east and west through Aurora and Naperville, crossing Route 59. On the Naperville side of 59, it is called “Aurora Avenue.” On the Aurora side, it is called “New York Avenue.” If you go north on Ogden Avenue from my house and you keep going north, you have to turn right to continue onto Ogden. Continuing north, without turning, will not keep you on Ogden. You will find yourself on Raymond as if you had entered an alternate universe. And, while turning east to stay on Ogden keeps you on Ogden, turning left does not put you on the westbound part of Ogden. A left hand turn will put you on North Aurora Avenue.  The Naperville area is not alone in street naming stupidity. There is a sign in Palatine, I’m told, identifying Meacham Road that reads: “Meacham Road road.”

Massive amounts of stupidity emanate from the myriad fast food drive-thrus in our area. I just adore those disembodied voices that don’t even say “hello” or “welcome” before diving into a guess as to why I drove up there in the first place. “Would you like to try the Triple Burger Death from Hell?” they ask. I am always polite and say “No, thank you” to their gracious suggestion. Some day, though, I’m going to say “Wrong! Guess again!”

A friend recently visited a drive through to order three two-cheeseburger meals, one cheeseburger and two shakes. Well, of course, the little video screen beneath the disembodied voice (let’s call it “DV,” shall we?) showed that my friend ordered two cheeseburgers and two shakes. My friend corrected DV; the order became three cheeseburger meals. My friend corrected DV twice more and the order was finally correct, but that is not the most egregious incidence of DV’s stupidity. No! Each burger had to be decorated with the proper condiments, so DV asked, “Do you want cheeseburger number one with everything: pickles, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup?” “Sure,” said my friend. DV went on to cheeseburger number two. “Do you want it with everything: pickles, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup?” “Sure,” said my friend. Cheeseburger number three got similar treatment. Finally all of the cheeseburgers had been decorated and accounted for. DV forgot the shakes.

My kids can do some stunningly stupid stuff. My son, for instance, can stand within arm’s distance of the back door. Should he open it, he could step directly out onto our deck. No stairs required and he’d be outdoors. Instead, he shouts to his father, “What’s it like out?” Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I wanted nothing more than to sit in my gazebo with a cup of tea and scan the news on my iPod. I finally got my wish and was glorying in a beautiful morning when my son appeared at the patio door. He looked at me pleadingly through the glass. I got up and went into the house, hoping for a “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” I got, “What do we have for breakfast?” Now, this is the child who went with me to the grocery store the night before. He himself selected two boxes of cereal and a half-gallon of milk and placed them in the shopping cart.

The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard come out of my children has probably come out of every child in the world at some point. Hell, I’ve said it. “Are we there yet?” they ask. Every time the car has been moving more than 15 minutes, one of my children will ask it. They will repeat it. I have always said the same thing: “No, not yet.” I have, in short, been patient. The last time I was asked if we were “there” yet, something broke in my good-mommy brain segment. Smart Ass Mom replied.

“Dear child,” I asked, “what happens when we get where we are going?”

“We’re there,” said the child.

“Yes. And then what happens?”

“I don’t know, Mommy. What?”

“Well, the same thing happens every time. Mommy parks the car, I turn it off and we all get out. Now, has Mommy parked the car? Have I turned it off? Are we getting out?”

The child was silent. A few miles later, she said, “Mommy are we getting close to being there?” No child of mine is stupid for long.

The most consistent sources of stupidity in our lives, though, are the administrators of our children’s schools. They truly shine at registration time. Each year, for the past four years, I have been asked to complete the forms contained in a registration packet. Even though the first page of the packet is a computer-generated form, printed front and back, containing all the information that is necessary for my child’s continued presence at school, I am required to fill out five additional forms with the same information. I write my daughter’s name five times. I write my own name five times. I write my husband’s name five times. I fill out the same information on the new Emergency Card that I supplied in prior years. Ditto with the health card. One year, I pointed out that the school had all of the information on the cards I completed the prior year and that nothing had changed. Ah! But something had changed. They threw those cards away. They sent the un-completed cards back and threatened to exclude my daughter from classes until they received the completed cards.

Now, all of that sounds pretty darn stupid, doesn’t it? But, it’s not the dumbest thing that has come out of one of my kids’ schools. Not by a long, long shot. No, the dumbest thing that has come out of their schools—maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen—came from my son’s principal. Apparently, the staff at my son’s school spent too much time delivering stuff students had forgotten to the forgetful little buggers’ classrooms. Henceforth, Mr. Principal announced, the staff would no longer deliver such items. Nay, he said, they would be reserving their efforts for “more poignant responsibilities.” Yup. He said it. All I can say is “Mr. Principal, you are stupid, you are stupid. And, don’t forget, you are stuuupid.”

© 2011 by Janice Lindegard. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to “The Stupid Files”

  1. Beverly May 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I just went through the kids’ backpacks and found a really cute little booklet they each made me for Mother’s Day. The title page is printed out (not written by the child). It says: “Mom I love you so much! You’re little angel.”

    I don’t even know what to say to that. Four weeks of test prep for standardized tests by an adult who doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re.

  2. jmlindy422 May 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Robin would come home with some of the most unbelievable stuff. One assignment sheet had so many errors that I gave up trying to proof it to send back to the Principal. Of course, it was from his English teacher. She was fired, thank the gods.

  3. anjobanjo22 May 10, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Sometimes I wonder about these people that work at the schools. So far we’ve been okay, but there are definitely times that I think these people should find another job.

    • jmlindy422 May 10, 2011 at 10:02 am #

      Amen. Sad truth is that I had hoped to work in one of these schools. I still believe in public education, but I’m starting to believe that we need to nuke it to save it.

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