Through Thom Tinted Lenses

April 5, 2010

WHO’S YOUR DUMMY? by Thom Reese

Filed under: culture,entertainment,humor,media,society,Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 5:26 am
Tags: , ,

Ever just sit back and notice an oddity of culture?

As you might have guessed, I have.

It occurs to me that despite our civility, despite our quick, “Oh, thank you,” and “No, no, that’s perfectly alright,” at the core we somehow think of one another as idiots.

Sure we do. Admit it. Here, I’ll give an example.

You’re in your car. Some guy goes zipping past at some ridiculous speed. (Ridiculous speed is defined as any speed above the speed limit that is greater than the speed above the speed limit that you are currently driving.) You:

A)    Smile and wave.

B)    Think, “Wow, why hadn’t I thought of that?”

C)    Call the guy an idiot.

If you’re of the human variety, the answer is most likely “C”. Though you might well throw out a few colorful expressions in addition to idiot. (I’m thinking, “Gosh,” “Golly,” “Darn,” something along those lines.)

Scenario #2: You’re driving in your car. Some guy in front of you is driving too slow. (Too slow is defined as the speed limit.) You:

A)    Smile and wave.

B)    Think, “Wow, why hadn’t I thought of that?”

C)    Call the guy an idiot.

Once again, “C” is our correct answer, though the words “Grandpa,” and/or “four doors and a hat” might be added to the exclamation.

Scenario #3: You’re driving in your car. Some guy is driving the exact same speed as you, thus inhibiting your ability to zigzag through the lanes. (Exactly the same as you is defined as exactly the same as you – only stupid.) You:

A)    Smile and wave.

B)    Think, “Wow, why hadn’t I thought of that? Oh, wait! I did.”

C)    Call the guy an idiot.

Again, “C” is the answer of choice.

Other similar life situations include, but are not limited to:

Standing in a checkout line behind the one person on the planet (there are millions of these) who still pays by check AND cannot seem to find his/her (most likely her) checkbook buried deep within his/her purse.

The pimply-faced fast food kid that gets your order wrong.

Any situation involving your boss wherein you’re not offered a raise.

Any situation involving an ex.

Any situation where you’re quoted a price greater than the unrealistic minimal amount you had intended to spend.


But this phenomenon is not limited to other persons. We American types are often just as hard on ourselves as we are on others.

An example:

You’re late for work, rushing out of the house, you get halfway to work and realize you forgot to turn off the iron. You:

A)    Smile and wave at the driver next to you.

B)    Think, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t done that.”

C)    Call yourself an idiot.

Yep. “C” is once again the answer of choice.

So, why are we so down on ourselves? What brings about these inner hostilities?

As I’m an idiot like everyone else, I have no answer. But, there’s got to be a scapegoat around here somewhere. Let’s see, the government? Nah! Too easy. My mother? No, too Freudian. G. W. Bush? Nope. Too long out of office. Ah! Got it.

The publishing industry.


Yeah, let’s go with the publishing industry. Think about it. What type of book dominates the bookshelves while subtly degrading our self image and the image of those around us?

Dummies books.

You know the ones. They cover every imaginable topic, crowding the bookstore shelves with their yellow and black pronouncement that you, me, all of us need a simplified explanation of even the most mundane topics. I walk into Barnes & Noble and it looks like attack of the killer bumble bees with all of that yellow and black.

They have “Car Repair for Dummies,” “Cooking for Dummies,” “Dating for Dummies!” Now, I get to thinking, I’m in this store, does that make me a dummy?

They have “Law for Dummies.” Who goes to a lawyer that needs a “Law for Dummies” book? Only a dummy.

Oh, and here’s a good one: “Sex for Dummies.” (Yes, it really exists.)

Who buys this book? Seriously. How secure does a guy have to be in his sexuality to walk up to that little check-out girl and buy “Sex for Dummies?”

And they’ve got a sequel!

“Pregnancy for Dummies.” Which I see as a cleverly devised marketing ploy geared at insuring that there’ll be future generations of dummies to by these books. I hear they’re running a special on dummies books. Buy two, get the third full price.

Yep, this is our scapegoat. This is the reason for all of our social ills. So, what should we do? When next confronted with the urge to by a book specifically designed to lower our very self concept, should we:

A)    Smile and wave.

B)    Think, “Wow, why hadn’t I thought of writing that book?”

C)    Call Thom an idiot for writing this drivel and buy the book anyway.

Yep. You guessed it. The correct answer is “C.”

See you next time.

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Cute analogy, and right on in most cases. Thom, I give you credit, you think of all the little things to write about. I enjoy them. And nodd through most of them.
    Keep up the great work.
    Love and blessings

    Comment by Rita Hestand — April 5, 2010 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  2. LOL so funny!!!! I totally agree w/ driving and calling people Idiots. I literally call everyone an Idiot! however when it’s me in a hurry driving in the fast lane and the asshole in front of me is blocking the lane……I calm myself & I think back to the day before when I was not in a hurry and I was just cruzing and enjoying the ride.

    Comment by Kelli — April 8, 2010 @ 1:11 am | Reply

  3. I’m not sure if I agree that books should be our scapegoat, but I do agree that most people are conditioned to label others (and themselves) as idiots rather than rationalize lapses in judgment in more productive ways. I think it’s the lack of communication skills that plagues our nations. Think about how most people argue. Most people will resort to name-calling rather than discuss the real issues at hand. Being objective takes practice–and it is not a skill we are born with. As usual, great post, Thom.

    Comment by L. Lane — April 9, 2010 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  4. I once got one of those Dummie books… Didn’t quite understand it.

    Comment by Jeffrey Arce — April 12, 2010 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

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