It’s a timeless line from Forrest Gump, a must-see movie that holds up well over time. The statement also makes me think about the stupid people who I’ve encountered in my life.
Growing up, “stupid” was one of the worst insults you could give someone. I’ve never called anyone “stupid” though I’ve known some prime examples in my time who begged for the name. Being older, I’ve also done my share of “stupid” things in my day, so I feel somewhat qualified to make a few observations on stupidity in general.
Now there are some stupid people you absolutely, positively cannot help…
The stubbornly stupid: People who absolutely, positively refuse to listen to anything that differs from their own view/belief/lifestyle. Anger and accusation are their knee jerk reaction to facts or discussion. Logic is not an option. They cannot accept or entertain any other view than the one they know and will cut ties (a blessing in disguise) with you over such disagreements.
Some of the best examples are religious fanatics of any faith and political zealots on both sides.
Don’t waste your time trying to help/educate these folks… there is no room in those seemingly normal brains for anything but what they know. You’re better off putting your time, effort and energy into helping those with mental disabilities who not only need your help, but are glad to have it.
The genuinely stupid: These folks may (or may not) realize they aren’t the brightest bulbs on the line, but like Forrest, they have a certain wisdom (and sometimes abilities) that is actually quite beautiful. They will accept gentle guidance and should never, ever be made to feel their lack of IQ points. Smart people don’t have to prove they’re smart by making someone else feel dumb.
The world needs all kinds of people, and no one is better than anybody else, we all have struggles and deficiencies as well as gifts and parts to play. There are many athletes and celebrities who understand this and work with the mentally challenged, a group that needs (deserves) respect and dignity.
Teach with patience and never let someone take advantage of a person with mental disabilities. Treat them with the same courtesy you’d want for your own child or sibling.
The real time/effort suck comes from the group of stupid people who are really the biggest…
The totally clueless: These people have a good brain that works when they go to school or are on the job, but somehow seems to desert them the rest of the time. It’s like they live in their own little world, unaware of the realities the rest of us deal with every day.
They are genuinely shocked to find teens have sex, people who are ill are suffering or that other people might struggle. They may be harmless, but they’re super frustrating to deal with on a regular basis — you teach the same lesson over and over again. You restate the obvious a thousand times and still they stare, wide-eyed at you like you’ve just split the atom.
Save yourself the frustration and let these hapless souls go about their business while you stay clear. They can only suck you into their strange little world, and it’s not nice there… no one knows you… and it’s not hooked in to reality in any way, shape or form.