This is in response to multiple requests for shorter sentences. Re: previous columns, "People are stupid don't you think? I do." Well, that's about it in a nutshell. Join me, won't you, for bitter, curmudgeonly diatribes in the future, when T.G.I.F. will be brought to you in bite-sized, digestible little pellets of steaming wisdom for your consumption and enjoyment. But wait. Before we go, maybe we should discuss part 1 of the projected 13-volume leather-bound set, T.G.I.F.: Or, People Are Stupid, Don't You Think? I Do. First of all, it should be shorter. It will be, say, seven volumes. Some of you have suggested Morse code. Some have suggested no volumes at all. The publisher I have in mind has suggested another publisher. But I'm a man with much to say, and the first half of that is, "People are stupid, don't you think?" Let's look at that, shall we?
I will leave Carl's Jr. television commercials aside. I will leave all television commercials aside. Fish in a barrel. Instead, I will list reasons you might agree:
Tongue, lip, nipple, genital piercings;
Everyone on the #2 bus;
Everyone on the #7 bus;
The first five people you encounter when you walk out your door;
"Free Bird" is still a popular song;
If you listen to radio in San Diego, flipping the dial for 20 minutes, you are likely to hear "Stairway to Heaven" at least once;
(Long sentence, sorry. I'll wait.)
George W. Bush;
(I'm exhausted. We'll both wait. One more for now.)
We're at war with a few million delusional religious suicides. We could declare victory at any time and maintain that reality far easier than the war.
That one should be farther down the list so you can work up to it, but our children keep getting killed. We don't have all day.
The second half of my manifesto reads, "I do." A simple statement of fact that has more to do with my overriding prejudice against the militantly stupid, the aggressively dumb, than anything else. And it is a prejudice, a bias, and a kind of bigotry. Like a racist, for example, I see morons under my bed, just not blacks or Mexicans.
One might say they can't help it. I don't believe it. I'm not talking about IQ scores. I think intelligence is a matter of choosing what you are aware of, even if that is unpleasant. People are mostly timid, nervous, and fearful little apes. I know -- I'm one. I'm a bowel-quivering coward. I try to minimize its effect on my attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. I fail all the time.
Imaginary therapist: I hear you saying you don't approve of people's choices.
True. More to the point, really, it just doesn't sing in that anthem-like way, as does People Are Stupid.
Therapist: Your time is up.
So it's back to the drawing board. That is, as always, how to get on Oprah and do some real whining. As Art Schopenhauer said, "Ordinarily, people think merely how they shall spend their time; a man of any talent tries to use it." I'm not wasting my life. First I have to become famous for something. I could write a book. I've tried that. I'm trying it again. People who write books are smarter than everyone else. Everyone knows this. People like Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken and Jane Fonda. But the really smart people are the ones who write books that no one reads. Like Herman Melville and Marcel Proust. I've tried that too. No one read my books, I swear. It's a mystery. And that's one good thing about people. They're mysterious and not as predictable as I think. This evidence only pops up once in a while, but it does.
That could be a kind of epitaph for humanity: They were a dumb but mysterious race. Then I would add: They could think, but they couldn't think anything quite through.
But not to be Donny Down-in-the-Dumps, you've got to keep up your sense of humor. I could get all gloomy and doomy because some process server for a collection agency is getting closer to figuring out where I live, but why borrow trouble? Instead, I turn to Art Schopenhauer again -- that is, that irrepressible master of mirth. I recommend him for these Juny Gloomy days. He recounts that famous thigh-slapper of Myson, the misanthropist who worked the Borscht Belt for many years. "Myson was once surprised [by some dumb guy]... as he was laughing to himself..." Now Myson's response really puts a capper on this whole deal -- me, my gripe with people, my thwarted ambition to get on Oprah, my books, the whole wacky deal. Okay, get this. The dumb guy says to Myson, "Why do you laugh? There is no one with you." Then Myson -- oh man, excuse me -- Myson turns to him, all casual and everything, and says, "That is just why I am laughing."
You see, Myson's alone... there's nobody there...so why -- I mean, what could be so funny if -- you know -- Oh, forget it. People are stupid.