(Please note: the fact that I'm writing about stupidity guarantees I've made some sort of ass-hatted typo in this post, so I'm asking your forgiveness in advance. Thank you!)
Every time someone rockets into rush-hour traffic like a happy-go-lucky, dumb-ass Starsky and Hutch or uses the word "anonymous" when they mean "unanimous" or insists that Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt are the same interchangeable person, I ask myself the following question: are stupid people happier? And if so, how do I sign up?
Now, I'm no brainiac. Science makes no sense to me and I'm half convinced that physics is some kind of voodoo magic. The only foreign language I ever mastered was a dead one. And math, in my opinion, was something invented by a cruel man with an overfondness for parentheses. The elitist in me, though, does think I'm smarter than the average bear.
I used to think this was a good thing. Being smart meant I could do crossword puzzles and answer questions on "Jeopardy" with enough accuracy to make Alex Trebek choke on his own mustachioed smugness. It meant I could boast about my SAT verbal scores and secretly nursean esoteric crush on William Seward, way-dead secretary of state for Abraham Lincoln. My smartness made me feel special, different from the rest of the herd. (Moo.)
My brand of braininess, though, has yet to earn me a six-figure salary or the ability to figure out the difference between a stock and a bond. (One's a thing you make soup with and the other's played by Daniel Craig's abs, right?) And it hasn't really made me any happier. In fact, it's just given me more things to worry about. Will an asteroid hit the Earth and annihilate us like the dinosaurs? Stupid people don't worry about this -- mostly because they don't believe in dinosaurs. What if climate change kills our crops but someone forgot to close the door on the Doomsday Seed Vault? What if J.D. Salinger was just sitting on his ass all these years and never, ever wrote another story about the Glasses? Stupid people aren't stressing out about this stuff. They're putting quarters up their noses.
I've observed a lot of stupid people in my time, like the guy across the street who can amuse himself for hours by jumping up and down on his doorless car and then chasing the ice cream truck with a baseball bat. (That really happened, by the way. I'm pretty sure our local ice cream truck driver is some sort of pervert, though, so who knows who the bad guy was in that scenario.) There are people who don't even know the Holocaust happened or that Stalin starved millions during World War II -- their brains are untouched by these downers of reality, leaving more room for memorizing Daughtry lyrics. (Sorry, Daughtry fans. And when I say "sorry," I'm apologizing to your ears on your behalf.) And I have to wonder, are these ill-informed people happier than those of us who pay attention to the world around us?
I'm starting to think they are, and it hardly seems fair. Did I study hard in school and read book after book just so I could learn enough to bum me out by middle age? Would I be a more gleeful bunny if I just stopped paying attention and dumbed down? For example, today I found out that NASA is retiring the space shuttle at the end of this year and after that, anyone who wants to go to the International Space Station has to fly in one of those Russian Soyuz spacecrafts, which I'm pretty sure is like being rocketed into space in a Fiat with the windows open. Now, if I'd just remained ignorant about this fact, I'd still be under the impression that space shuttles were flying around in space like perky ten-ton ponies. But no, now I'm wondering if the Soyuz has seatbelts.
So what do you think? Are stupid people happier? Are we brainy types just making life harder for ourselves?