Since moving to sunny NC, I have noticed that some things are different. Of course I’ve noticed that the land is flatter, flash floods are a concern for people that don’t live near rivers, and “ya’ll talk funny.” But I’ve also noticed something else; there is a mighty wind blowing across the land and in my opinion it is an ill wind, indeed.
Yesterday school was cancelled because our Fearless Leaders found out how just how nasty our parents can be if you don’t cancel school when the surrounding school districts cancel their classes. Of course, ostensibly school was cancelled because of the twin threats of potential flooding and severe wind gusts, but we all know the real reason.
As it happens I was scheduled to have soccer practice last night. I didn’t think about calling everyone to tell them that soccer practice was cancelled. I suppose that I reasoned if it was too dangerous to be in school, then it was too dangerous to play soccer.
However, the more I thought about it, the more anxious I got. I just knew that since I hadn’t called everyone, some parent was going to show up at the field expecting to have soccer practice in high winds and driving rains and get all bent out of shape because I hadn’t called. Since I’ve already had my fill of soccer parent invective this season, I wasn’t looking forward to catching even more flack.
I actually got into my car and drove down to the soccer field to explain to any parents that did show up why I cancelled practice. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried because the fields were closed and gated off, making it clear to everyone that there would be no joy in Mudville that day.
On the way home I received a phone call from a parent sitting in their car in front of the field gates asking if practice was cancelled. I was given a “talking to” about calling parents if I was going to call off practice.
The ill wind sweeping across NC (and I suppose elsewhere) has to be the Mighty Wind of Aggressive Stupidity. You see it everywhere and it is gaining power and influence. Imagine that I felt the need to drive all the way across town because I knew that at least one (1/8) of my soccer parents would not be able to figure out that soccer practice might be postponed; and I was right!
Since when has being intellectual become a bad thing? I heard a pundit just the other day protest the critique of a politician because the critics were intellectual. (The pundit in question was a former Sec. of Education) Time and again I have had to field calls from parents questioning my teaching of well established scientific principles because either “they didn’t teach that when I was in school” or “well I don’t believe that to be true.” The worst part is that I have to treat these people as if they have valid viewpoints or I’ll hear about how that’s not appropriate behavior from one (or more) of my Fearless Leaders. We have to treat these people as if stupidity is a position that is worthy of discussion or explanation. I think this simply encourages people to continue in their belligerent ignorance.
While preparing for a football party last week, I picked up a box of multicolored toothpicks. On the box were instructions on how to use them! Really?! There are people out there old enough to buy toothpicks without the cognitive wherewith-all to figure out how to use them?!
You know that those instructions are on the toothpicks for the same reason that coffee cups now caution people that the beverage is hot (even though you ordered it that way) and I drove out to the field in an attempt to appease parents. If those steps weren’t taken, we’d all hear about it. It is easier to appease the stupid than to listen to them complain that you haven’t made sufficient allowance for their wilful ignorance.
The Tao Te Ching advises that “strong winds do not blow all day” and I suppose that there is hope that this wind will blow itself out, but for how much longer must we deal with it? My only hope is that I’ll live long enough to see the day when the opinions of the aggressively stupid are once again properly scorned and ignored.
Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?