I have discovered, or rather admitted, I have a potentially life altering allergy. They say the first step in addressing a problem is identifying the fact you have one.
This condition is potentially life altering because of the reaction to the allergen. Since I can’t control my exposure to the cause of the reaction, I am at the mercy of my symptoms. I do try to be careful not to expose myself, but living in this world, being a part of society is a choice I make and will continue to make. The alternative is unthinkable. Living life removed from society would be akin to living a life unexamined, a cure that would be worse than the disease. I like the term disease because at its most basic definition it is the antithesis of being at ease, which perfectly sums up my condition.
I don’t know when or exactly from where I developed this allergy, but it has become acute and is developing into a chronic condition the older I get. Interestingly, being a writer and choosing to spend varying portions of my time blogging when not actually writing, while not a cure, does have a palliative effect.
Being a blogger can be a full time job, and there are those who have chosen this path in life and have been successful with their endeavors. Often, those who have achieved some level of success, or those who edit bloggers, have written copious amounts on how to attain something like the level of success they enjoy. The first piece of advice, usually delivered as a requirement, is to be nice. Or at least to take care not to intentionally offend too many people with your opinions. They say that if you want to develop a brand, which means making people want to click on your blog regardless of the topic, to not be too controversial, not be too blunt, and never insult your readers, as they are the key to your success.
I say bullocks to that. I also say that both defeats the purpose of a blog, which is in my opinion to make people think of things in a way they may not have before and if possible be entertaining in the process, as well as being counterproductive to me personally. While it is a very small part, blogging is if not a cure, than at least a temporary treatment.
To be blunt, and at the risk of offending some people, my condition can be best summed up as an allergy to stupid people. If an allergy is described as an uncontrollable reaction to environmental stimuli, then I have a text book case. My symptoms are a quickened heartbeat, a simultaneous flushing of the neck and face, shaking hands and a significant cooling of the blood. On the plus side, my brain goes into overdrive, which is I think a good thing, but my imagination also jumps to hyperspeed, often not a good thing.
When confronted with the profoundly stupid, I am often shocked at how quickly my mind comes up with creative, if sick and usually illegal ways to respond. The worst part of all is the sense of frustration I end up with at the end of the mental perambulations of the macabre visualizations I have for what I’d like to say, and sometimes do to those who with an electrical cord gripped firmly in their teeth while they step into a bathtub would be doing the world a favor by removing themselves from the gene pool. I’m frustrated because I know that what I envision will probably never come to pass, or at least not at a time and in a way in which I would be granted the pleasure of seeing the only spark of activity that has or will ever pass through their brains.
To be clear, I don’t judge others who are simply born with a less than average IQ. I look at that as no different than being born with red hair and freckles. It is the hand we are dealt, and we do the best we can with what was given to us. In all seriousness, some of the smartest people I know are barely able to function in a classroom. They are not stupid or dumb or learning disabled, they are simply not as intellectually gifted as others in that way. Yet, these people more than compensate by displaying the kind of intelligence most often referred to as common sense, which is the most important use for the human brain.
The truly stupid are rarely defined as such by their IQ’s, and are actually often tested and proven as quite intelligent. They hold mentally challenging jobs, for which they have successfully completed many years of post-secondary education. They are occasionally erudite and eloquent, though the ones I think of as profoundly stupid I also tend to think of as, to use an unfashionably and to some an unpardonably politically incorrect term, idiot savants. They can be brilliant in their chosen field of endeavor and astoundingly stupid when it comes to the most important role any of us can have, which is simply being human. In this area their true idiocy shines with a frighteningly blinding light.
This is where my condition, this allergy from which I suffer, becomes dangerous. Depending on the severity of the stupidity of the behavior and the otherwise relative intelligence of the person, I have a nearly uncontrollable desire to do harm. Thankfully, I have so far been able to if not reverse than at least not succumb to this most extreme reaction. But, as with all allergies, repeated exposure to this substance that is stupidity, the reaction grows more severe and the onset of symptoms is both quicker and more fierce.
To prove I’m neither just a grumpy middle aged woman nor a sociopath, an example is called for here.
There was a local news article about a fatal accident involving a car, an SUV and a motorcycle. If this had been a print story rather than an online news article, the print would not have been dry when the genetically damaged peanuts in the gallery began making their presence known. Keep in mind that the initial report did not call it a fatal accident, as the man who succumbed to his injuries was still clinging to life, at least as far as the public knew.
The only known facts were that a car was sitting on a two lane country road that has a posted speed limit of 55 mph, waiting for a break in traffic to make a left turn onto a secondary country road. Even though both of these roads are fairly well traveled, the only traffic control device is a stop sign on that secondary road.
For reasons that are still unknown, at least to the general public, reasons that were certainly unknown at the time the report was released, an SUV plowed into the back of the stationary vehicle, causing it to then crash into a motorcycle that was traveling in the opposite direction. The motorcycle was merely one in the line of traffic that was preventing the car from making the turn. That’s it. That is the sum total of what was known of the causative factors.
Yet, the comments from the local village idiots were instantaneous. The driver of the motorcycle was assumed to be at fault for his own death, a piece of the story that was updated shortly after it was first written. The reason he was to blame for his own death was that he had chosen to not wear a helmet, something which is perfectly legal to do in the state of Illinois.
The next assumptions were that the driver of the SUV was distracted, texting or somehow impaired as evidence by the fact that he had been ejected from his vehicle since he was not wearing a seatbelt. Immediately on the heels of these assumptions were the speculations that the car had stopped suddenly, did not have a turn signal on, or somehow or other was to blame merely for attempting to make a left turn at an intersection that did not have a traffic light. This then quickly devolved into a conversation on whether or not a traffic light at that intersection would have prevented this accident.
Remember, all these speculations and worse were bandied about by people who were not there, had seen neither the accident nor the aftermath. Worse, many of these comments were left by anonymous users, or at least by those who were posting under fictitious and or what they seem to assume were pithy screen names.
All this happened in a relatively small town, where many who read these articles would come to find out they were personally acquainted with the victims. One brave soul posted that the motorcycle rider was a family member, and asked for respect and consideration of the family who was not yet even grieving as they were still in shock. The immediate response to this plea for decency was to ask if he had been wearing a helmet. No condolences offered, not even a token of sympathy for the family, just the insinuation that this victim was somehow responsible for his own death because he did not wear a helmet.
As the story unfolded, and it is indeed unfolding still, it quickly came to light that the accident was solely the fault of the driver of the SUV, who was incidentally critically injured himself. Also in critical condition were a mother and a child, who along with the father and another child had to be extricated from the remains of their vehicle. Thankfully, they are all expected to live, even the driver of the SUV, though the mother is not yet out of the woods and is still listed in critical condition.
More of the local brain trust by now was chiming in, making wild accusations about why the victims were taken to different area hospitals, a decision it was said to be controlled by insurance companies. Others were still harping on the fact that the motorcyclist had not been wearing a helmet, even though the story was quickly fleshed out with the fact that the motorcyclist had been side-swiped, or as it is commonly termed, t-boned.
Even if the motorcycle rider was merely sideswiped, the human body is not designed for the impact that would have occurred as he hit the ground. Interestingly, as the story and comments continued to be updated, it was learned that the rider was somehow both conscious and talking at the scene. He was asking about the others involved in the accident, wanting to make sure they were being attended to first. This fact should have told the stupids in the crowd of posters that it was not a fatal head injury that caused the majority, most serious and ultimately fatal injuries. In other words, a helmet would not have saved his life. The human body is simply not designed to be able to survive the insults to the flesh he sustained at meeting the pavement at speed after having been smashed into by the several thousand pounds that is a car.
John Adams famously said “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Of course, the truth that the facts weren’t yet known and those that were said that a helmet and full body Kevlar would not have saved this man’s life did not alter the opinions being offered by the readers who were commenting, speculating and blaming.
The full truth is still not known. If the driver of the SUV was distracted, under the influence, speeding, or merely another victim in an unfortunate series of events is a piece of information that if known, has not yet been shared by the police.
Some of the only speculative comments with which I agree are those that state if the SUV driver was somehow negligent or distracted while driving, he should be prosecuted. Hopefully, he falls into the same category of stupid as many of the clueless, insensitive and downright cruel commentators. Otherwise, this man will live with the guilt that he is responsible for an accident that took one man’s life and forever changed the lives of the family that was in that car. The most common symptom of stupidity is a lack of personal responsibility, so I actually hope this driver is stupid, as an intelligent, thinking man will suffer even if he is responsible yet not really to blame.
Reading these comments, even merely knowing people like this are out there not just in the world but in my own community, is it any wonder I am having an extreme allergic reaction? I can’t help myself, my mind is imagining magically having the skills required to hack into the real identities of these anonymous, hateful posters and doing them harm. At last count, there were over one hundred comments in this thread. Too few of them even mention the grieving family and the horrendous injuries to the other victims, much less contain kind words of support or compassion.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the man who was killed, and with the loved ones of those who were so grievously
injured. These types of thoughts and comments are the only appropriate ones to express at the reporting of such a tragedy. Blame, fault and responsibility will all come when the facts are known. Until then, try not to advertise the fact that your gene pool was over-chlorinated.