Robert Kirby is on vacation. This is a reprint of a previous column, but we’re convinced the premise still applies today.
Hi. My name is Robert, and I’m an idiot.
If this is your first time here, welcome to Idiots Anonymous. Don't be embarrassed. I figured out that I was an idiot decades ago, or right around the time I became a writer. It was an agonizing process, but I'm glad it happened.
Denial was my coping mechanism for years. Most of my life I assumed that I could control my stupidity, or at least hide it from others. Ironically, my problem was obvious to everyone but me.
Maybe you are experiencing similar difficulties. Perhaps you are troubled by the fact that God put so many idiots in the world at the same time, and you have a sneaking suspicion that you may be one of them.
Relax. You are. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. The genetic marker for stupidity is far more common than most people think.
There is hope. Salvation rests partially in the fact that everyone else is an idiot, too. That and coming to terms with your own idiocy. Once you acknowledge your problem, you can get busy dealing with it.
But you will always be an idiot. Remember that. Don't think that just because you figure out one thing you have everything else figured out as well. It is humanly impossible to be that smart.
Do not confuse idiocy with ignorance. As Bertrand Russell once pointed out, “[People] are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”
This education largely consists of being satisfied with your own opinion. The truth is that most problems and most people are far more complicated than we think.
There are many reasons for being an idiot, including genetics, socialization, deliberate ignorance, male pattern buffoonery, even age. We all suffer from one or more of these.
The real question is how to recognize that you are coping poorly with your problem. That's easy.
For starters, if you are inclined to stereotype people, you are probably in major denial. Those who recognize their own foolishness know that people are more complex than that.
If you are too lazy to increase your knowledge about the world and other people, you definitely need to get in touch with your inner idiot.
Finally, if you think you are smarter than most people, well, what can I say? Until you hit rock bottom, you may be too far to reach just yet.
Everyone is smarter about something than most other people. That doesn't make you less of an idiot. Many a math genius cannot parallel park or get dressed without help.
It's so liberating not to have to be right all the time, to be able to make mistakes without beating yourself up about them. Acknowledging your idiocy might even make you more considerate of others.
Say it. "Hi. My name is [your name here], and I am an idiot."
Feels good, doesn’t it? And now that you own it, be careful out there.