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“Teh stoopid” is simply an internet term for those who get ticked off at you and in their sputtering attempts to insult your intelligence….. they misspell all the insults. It has evolved to capture this elusive idea where the seemingly intelligent cannot seem to behave intelligently at all.

I have a guy friend, a brother really, who has dropped some amazing wisdom on me over the years. He is sharp-tongued, brutally honest, and known for his complete unwillingness to consider people’s feelings. Believe it or not, I actually value that in people sometimes.

So once in the grocery store we passed one another and he asked how I was and I said, “Fine, except people are driving me nuts,” to which he replied, “have you considered the possibility that they are just stupid?”

I suppose one must share my dark sense of humor to find that funny, but I did indeed laugh, quite surprised to realize that no, actually I had never considered that possibility at all. That’s quite impolite! Why would I even consider such a thing?

Ahhh, but as usual there was great wisdom to be found in his words. People had been driving me crazy all week because surely they should know better, but what if they didn’t? What if I were actually expecting too much of them? What if they were actually just stupid, as in ignorant, unaware, naive?

Soon after, God’s perfect synchronicity placed a test right in front of me. I was at the beach, beautiful, pristine, when these kids suddenly pulled up and began throwing the trash out of their car,  McDonald’s bags, pop cans, newspapers, now scattered across the parking lot. Being a mom, I was instantly on the warpath, with one of those roaring, “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” I was met with instant surprise, doe eyed innocence, and flickering hurt, as if to say, why isn’t she proud of us for cleaning out the car?

Oh, teh stoopid, it will just take your breath away sometimes and while I was cursing like a sailor in my head, my friend’s wisdom came back to me, his words floated by and I heard, have you considered the possibility that they are just stupid?

No, no I cannot bear to consider that possibility, I just cannot accept that any human being that can operate a motor vehicle and tie their own shoelaces can be this stupid. That just defies all reason, and yet?

And yet there I was staring right into the doe eyed wonder of teh stoopid and it did not even see itself for what it was.

There I was making myself crazy, indignant, annoyed, taking the entire thing personally as if they had just trashed my entire beach out of spite, because that is far preferable to confronting the truth of the matter. The truth of the matter being I am actually trapped on a  planet full of stupid people, doing stupid things.

So I sighed, and with my best mom voice, the one usually reserved for small children and not 20 years olds, I employed the simple cause and effect clause, the “when and then” of our lives.

When we place the trash in the garbage can, then our beach stays clean.”

That was actually news to them, a great revelation, rocket science that they had never pondered before, and so they got out of their car and began to pick it all up.

It’s quite terrifying, isn’t it? Teh stoopid, I mean, it walks among us, the harsh truth of moral ambiguity, the inherent danger behind our own moral relativism, the false belief and totally subjective view that people are just inherently good, the cold fact that we truly do not know, what we do not know.

My father was a crazy guy, but he imparted some great wisdom on me too, and taught me about the music to be found in math, the rhythm and the reason to be found in the universe, the order that reaches through our chaos. Even when you cannot really see Christ in people themselves, He is still there in the synchronicity and timing of events, the way the bits of wisdom come to you right before you’re going to  need them.

Happy birthday to my father out there tripping the light fantastic. You are missed today.