Stupidity is Relative

“Stupidity is relative,” wrote Scott Adams in The Dilbert Principle, and I happen to agree.

Now, before you start tagging your bosses and their immediate relatives with the idea that stupidity may somehow be a genetic trait, what Scott meant is that people who are relatively intelligent in one field will somehow act incredibly stupid in another.

The thing is, this lunacy happens every day, to almost every one. Fortunately for the continued existence of civilized society, this stupidity is kept in check by others pointing out your own idiocy just in time.

These stupid acts are done, not because people intend to be stupid, but because they seem rational at the time. I know this from personal experience.

In college, someone I met in online chat told me that she would sleep with me if I drove all the way to her doorstep. The catch was she lived in Lucena and I took my residence somewhere in the middle of Pasig City. Intrigued at the opportunity to prove that no woman sleeps with a man just like that, I took a car early one Sunday morning and, sans cash, drove three and a half hours to a small Jollibee near the city cathedral. I told no one where I was or where I was going.

(Un)fortunately for me, she proved me wrong. Apparently some women do sleep with men just like that.

The past can’t haunt you if it wasn’t there, right? Wrong. I found my girlfriend at my door when I got home. Her eyes were bleary from crying. Not only did she know, but every single female in the house knew of my shenanigans. I get shit from them to this very day.

Sometimes, one’s relative stupidity ends up as a legend oft retold as a warning to otherwise brash youngsters who have yet to learn their place. Such is the case in this story of a friend dating from the mid-1980s.

According to my friend, a provincial warlord’s son was ruling the roost at a fancy discotheque, when he crossed paths with another who felt similarly entitled. The warlord’s son immediately launched into a tirade, and demanded that the other ought to know him. After all, he was the son of an untouchable man who had put away his political foes in his own backyard.

I don’t know who you are, the other man replied. I’m Jackie Enrile.

The fate of that warlord’s son is not known. I imagine he did not sleep well that night. Now whether or not that other man was really Jackie Enrile is immaterial as the point of the story was to drive home another point – pick your fights.

Sadly, this aberrant stupidity can end in tragic results (i.e., these people get nominated for the Darwin Awards). Take, for instance, the fate of the late Delmar Redota.

Just last March 15, Redota, a nine year old student from Upper Bicutan died from food poisoning exactly a week after her teacher, identified in the Philippine Daily Inquirer as Brenda Elmabuena, allegedly ordered her and a fellow classmate to eat pencil shavings that her classmates had thrown in the air, as a disciplinary measure.

While the classmate who instigated the fracas faked eating the pencil shavings, Redota chowed down on the tasty treats with gusto – in other words, just as she was told. Of course, I need not pontificate on the nutritional value of pencil shavings once found on the floor of a public school.

It is an indictment of society when the innocent, in this case, Redota, die for the seemingly small transgressions of miscreants in their midst.

Redota was later found to have died from a throat infection, but I wonder if the microbes on the floor of the public school did anything to exacerbate the situation. Also, if this was so, then I wonder why Redota was made to eat the shavings as someone that sick – being a week away from death – must seem to be the least likely person to throw pencil shavings in the air in a fit of mischief.

Finally, we are told that Proclamation 1017 and Executive Order 464 are valid by the Executive, and that we should waste no time politicking and immersing ourselves in legal gobbledygook. After all, these issues are moot, what with Proclamation 1017 lifted, and with rumors afloat that the High Court is all set to dismiss the petitions to hold them unconstitutional as they have become for all intents and purposes moot and academic.

These administration toadies add insult to injury by venting their fury on the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. They seem to have forgotten that the PCIJ’s reports were instrumental in bringing down Hitlerita’s predecessor, and now they take delight in calling them anarchists and whatnot. Now that the PCIJ’s guns are trained on them, they’re trying to do something that Erap couldn’t: shutting down the truly critical press. The sad part today is that they seem to be winning.

Of late, the object of their ire is Ateneo’s Father Bernas. Apparently, when you’ve run out of FPJ’s and Eraps to roast, you go after the intelligentsia that tells it how it is – that this administration is running on fumes.

To paraphrase Mystery, a noted pickup artist, if you’re as stupid as that, evolution should unapologetically weed you out of existence.


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