Another thing that fascinates me is that stupidity is driving the world - evident from where the world is headed with Dubya chauffeuring us. Nonetheless, in this piece, committed to proving Zappa’s hypothesis, I shant borrow from oft-repeated anecdotes or resort to bush-whacking. I merely state the inane questions that have been posed to me by random someones in my humble lifetime. Also, I have deliberately chosen to quote dialogues verbatim to retain their succinctness. I begin.
Contrary to popular belief, airplanes aren’t a safe way to travel; and coming from the survivor of a horrific crash landing, I do lend a certain amount of credibility to the statement. Brought up on a strict regiment of three-law theories of viz.
- If the tarmac is damper than the diaper of a toddler being forced to watch The Exorcist, do not attempt to land, particularly on the gravel beside the runway
- When the crash-landed aircraft is tip-toed on one broken wheel alike a helplessly inebriated ballerina, the air-stewardess can give the routine of vigorously flailing her arms, shrieking “Emergency, emergency!” a pass
- The emergency protocol of deploying an ambulance to the landing site, bearing only a strapping young driver with the therapeutic dexterity of a chipmunk, should be reconsidered
To prove Zappa’s hypothesis, the icing was spread on cake by the Reuters anxiously awaiting the ‘survivors’ at the arrival terminus. A reporter, whom I had presumed to be rational and intelligent, unexpectedly turned out to be unquestionably stupid when she enquired in earnest, “When can we expect the aircraft to take off again?” I smiled and asked her to wait for the day pigs have flown.
Spending life as a pseudo-cynic has rendered me incapable of enjoying joyous occasions like weddings as well. But sacrificing this pleasure hasn’t been futile. Economist Carlo Cipolla stated that the probability that a person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person, particularly beauty. Chancing upon living manifestations of Cipolla’s statement at weddings is a reward befitting the sacrifice.
Mother has always used weddings to her advantage, trying to introduce me to many unimaginably beautiful women in the hope that I might fall for one. I almost did but for two impossibly obtuse queries posed by the lady. Upon learning that her name was Camay, pronto came my quip – “How’s your sister Lux doing?” I had presumed that the experience of a lifetime with a name like Camay would have placed such ‘soapy’ remarks right up her alley. But she was befuddled silly by it and queried – “Are you sure you have the right person? My sister is Lovely” No pun-intended, her sister IS named Lovely.
Discussing banalities, like education and work, would help skirting away from the debacle of an introduction I thought. However, extremely disturbed to discover that only firms like McKinsey and P&G had chosen to offer me a position, she opined – “Oh! Why not Infosys?” I smiled and replied by blaming it on the system. She seemed content.
Student life in Mumbai was dotted with college festivals and it was as much annoyance, as pleasure to attend them. As if waiting for three hours in line to enter a ridiculous fest wasn’t torture enough, the organizers deemed it obligatory to discipline me as well. When warned against throwing paper-planes in the air, I requested to be granted permission for making paper-submarines. Emerging, from what appeared to be an emergency huddle of organizers to tackle the voice of dissent, a volunteer quizzed – “But how can you make the paper submarine fly?” I smiled and echoed Asok from Dilbert - “I’m from IIT. We can make anything fly.”
Considering the fact that nature limited man’s intelligence, it seems highly unjust that it did not limit his stupidity because I am gravely bothered by stupid questions bobbing their heads up in the least expected places. Stupidity is running the world; stupidity is ruining the world. Why do we seek answers to artificial intelligence when natural stupidity still eludes us? The blind are leading the blind. E.T watches us from outer space; he’s having a good laugh.
To end, the most half-witted question in the history of television from the series Blackadder. A dialogue between two officers about to set out to war:
George: If we should happen to tread on a mine, what do we do?
Blackadder: Well, normal procedure is to jump 200 feet into the air and scatter yourself over a wide area.