Everybody is an idiot sometimes. Einstein was once walking around his town, got lost, and then couldn't even remember his address to get home. He had to phone the secretary of his office to find it out. It’s normal to do stupid things sometimes. However, a peculiar hard core of morons continuously push the boundaries of idiocy, blissfully unaware that they’re four suits short of a full deck at all times. Unless you’re confronted with the harsh reality of your imbecilic actions, thoughts and choices, you don’t stand a chance of even identifying yourself as stupid. There are numerous symptoms of stupidity, but if you find yourself doing one of the following you’re either in the midst of a monumental brain-fart or are just a flat-out idiot...
Playing is fun. Whether you’re trying to send your fantasy football team to the top of the league or are levelling your character up in preparation for a grand quest, our silly pastimes enable us to forget about our stresses and enjoy ourselves. It feels good to do well, but no matter how many points your team racks up or how many orcs your dwarven warrior slays, if your bank balance is plummeting into the negative all the while, you aren’t succeeding. You’re just acting like an idiot.
\#2 – You speak in text message acronyms
Acronyms like “OMG,” “WTF” and “lol” serve a purpose when you’re trying to quickly write somebody a text message or an email and don’t want to waste time on the complete phrases, but if you use them in speech you’re effectively identifying yourself as a moron. Saying “OMG” involves enunciating three syllables, exactly the same as the words you’re apparently attempting to make easier to convey. You aren’t reducing your effort at all; you’re just failing to speak your mother tongue. “lol” doesn’t suffer from the same syllable issue, but one of the major advantages of face to face communication is that people will hear you if you laugh out loud. Saying “lol” out loud undermines the purpose of the entire phrase.
\#3 – You think that, this time, you’re really going to win the lottery
The lottery is a tempting proposition, because on the absurdly small chance your numbers come up, you can quit your job, buy a mansion and kit yourself out with a set of gold teeth so ridiculous they would make a rapper blush. However, if you buy a lottery ticket and actually think you’re going to win – or even have a “feeling” you’re going to– you’re clearly incapable of either reading or understanding numbers. Your chances of winning are around one in 14 million, so to put that into perspective, you’re over four times more likely to be struck by lightning.
\#4 – You can’t have a debate without getting angry
They say you shouldn't talk about politics or religion around the dinner table, but they often make for the most interesting conversations. The real reason for the rule is that many people can’t have a purely intellectual debate on the topic without either getting offended or becoming offensive to people who disagree with them. If your first recourse in a disagreement is to raise your voice and blurt out the first insult that comes to mind, chances are you have a stupid opinion on the topic in question. If this always happens to you, you don’t just have a couple of idiotic opinions, you’re probably just an idiot.
\#5 – You’ve owned every iPhone from the first generation to now
Almost everybody knows that manufacturers add meaningless “upgrades” to their products regularly to get another round of millions for the same basic thing, but a surprising amount of people trade in the previous model (at a loss) and pay a little extra just to get the new one. Once or twice, this is understandable, but if you faithfully take this hit to your bank balance every time the new iPhone comes out, you’re hopelessly falling for the ploy. You will be disappointed every time, yet every time you seem to think the next one is really going to be worth the upgrade.
\#6 – Things just always seem to go badly for you
Luck does not exist. When people are “lucky,” it’s often really that they’re observant, hard-working or are smart enough to take a great opportunity when they see one. The opposite side to this is that if you’re just “unlucky” or things just seem to go wrong for you, it’s probably because you keep doing things wrong and messing up your opportunities. It might not be what you want to hear, but if you’re super-unlucky, you probably just keep failing at life.
\#7 – You’re a floating voter
It seems like most voters flit hopelessly between Labour and the Conservatives on a five to ten year cycle, leading to an endless parade of the same old faces gracing the corridors of power but never sticking around long enough to actually do anything useful. This makes politics irritating, but what’s even worse is the idiotic mindset of those who switch between the two dominant parties like a forgetful goldfish making endless loops in its bowl. “I'm not satisfied with my life, so I’ll vote for the Conservatives... Everything’s still crap! Damn Tories! I'm voting for Labour this time.”
\#8 – You stay fashionable even though you’re poor
Fashion will never end. Some weird trend from who-knows-where lands on the high street every few months, sending impressionable fools out to the shops to buy something that will be out of date faster than a pack of biscuits. This is pretty silly at the best of times, but if you’re not absolutely loaded, staying up to date with the fickle trends of fashion is particularly dumb. At least you’ll be able to cram into that size-zero dress when you have no money left over for food...
\#9 – You say “go big or go home” or “in for a penny, in for a pound”
These are two phrases which ordinarily are used as a justification for doing something extremely stupid. Let’s take an example: you’re in a casino preparing to approach the roulette wheel. “Go big or go home,” you say, withdrawing too much money from your account with dreams of living like a high roller. Then, at the table, you put a single chip on number 29, when your other catch-phrase kicks in, “In for a penny, in for a pound.” You stack ten more chips on the number. After you’ve lost, you’ve already made a dent in your big stack (you’re in for a penny) so you keep going until you have no money. Neither of these phrases has any merit – they’re just an excuse to do something stupid – so if you use them, it’s probably because you often want to do things that are stupid. You’re an idiot.
\#10 – You have your partner’s name tattooed on you
No matter how close-knit your relationship is, how many happy years you’ve had or any other justification you could raise, getting a lover’s name tattooed on your body is always a moronic move. Perhaps the day afterwards you’ll learn he or she has been pulling the longest con in history on you, is cheating on you, was born the opposite gender, never loved you or often fantasises about Joseph Stalin.
Matching colours are nice, but like so many things, there is a line between making things match and acting like an absolute dunce. If you change your kitchen every year or two and completely replace your pots, pans and plates to match every single time, you might as well just make it all white and buy a selection of tinted glasses to choose from when the mood strikes you. Or – this is a wild idea – just don’t worry about whether the cushions match the walls, the plates match the curtains or the bookshelf matches the floor.
\#12 – You get attacked for trying to pet a strange dog
Thinking like a dog is easy. You want food, you like running around and you’re an animal – so your behaviour is effectively dictated by millions of years of survivalist evolution. If you’re the sort of person that gets attacked when you’re trying to pet a dog, you’re obviously incapable of thinking like a dog. If something four times the size of you approached you for no reason and thrust a muscular hand towards your head, how would you react?
\#13 – You have opinions on things you know nothing about
Opinions make you seem like you have considered all aspects of a problem and made a judgement call on the best stance or approach to take. Voicing an opinion is a classic mark of intelligent thought, and that’s why people who know nothing about an issue are often more than willing to offer one. It makes you look like you know what you’re talking about... at least until somebody asks you a question.
\#14 – You think you know everything
Socrates said “True wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” That’s because Socrates was smart; stupid people think that to be intelligent you have to be a know-it-all. It might be counter-intuitive, but if you’re really certain that you know pretty much everything, chances are you’re a close-minded, arrogant fool. There is too much of “everything” to learn it all, or even a substantial fraction of it, in a human lifetime. If you never say “I don’t know,” you’re not just an idiot; you’re a know-it-all-idiot. Nobody wants to be that oxymoronic.