A new idiot industry

There are limits to man’s wisdom, but no limits on his stupidity

– and that’s just not fair.

— Konrad Adenauer



Sometimes I despair of our courts. One guy draws six months in the slammer for knocking over a convenience store for chump change; meanwhile British Columbia chiseler Ian Thow, who bilked pensioners and small time investors out of millions of dollars gets a powder-puff pat on the wrist and may well be back on the street by the time you read this.

“The law” Charles Dickens has one of his characters opine, “is a ass...an idiot.”

Often true — but not always.

Consider the case of the judge in Cleveland, Ohio who pronounced judgment on Shena Hardin recently.

Ms. Hardin had been caught on camera driving her car up on a sidewalk to get around a school bus that was in the process of discharging children.

Her sentence? Neither fine nor jail time. She merely has to stand at a major intersection for two school days wearing a sign around her neck that says ONLY AN IDIOT DRIVES ON A SIDEWALK TO AVOID A SCHOOL BUS.

As a punishment, that has a nice ring to it. As a matter of fact it has a kind of universality that might well lend itself to other cases.

Republican congressman Paul Broun of Georgia for example. Rep. Broun recently cast doubt on the theories of evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory, dismissing them as “lies from the pit of Hell.”

The Earth is only 9,000 years old, the Congressman assured anyone who would listen, and anyone who disagreed with him was consigned to everlasting damnation.

It is somewhat dismaying to learn that Congressman Broun is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, but I think that would be negated nicely if he was required to wear a sign around his neck saying I AM AN IDIOT.

And although he’s no longer in a position to wear the sign, Edward Archibald of West Palm Beach would certainly qualify on behavioural grounds.

Mister Archibald recently won a bug-eating contest in his home town by cramming wriggling worms, chirping crickets and live three- to four-inch long cockroaches into his mouth and swallowing them faster than any of the other 29 contestants.

Alas, Mister Archibald didn’t get to enjoy first prize (a live python); he collapsed and died right after downing his last insect.

Although Mister Archibald can’t wear the sign around his neck, perhaps a placard declaring HE WAS AN IDIOT could be propped against his tombstone.

Idiot signs — it’s a growth industry when you think about it.

Consider: this past Halloween, Americans spent $370 million on Halloween costumes — for their pets. Time Magazine says 15 per cent of the population shelled out serious money to outfit their chihuahuas and tortoiseshells in costumes ranging from Batman to Lady Gaga — that’s more 45 million idiot signs right there alone!

And as long as we’re handing out awards, how about handing out a Lifetime Achievement I’M STILL AN IDIOT sign for Donald Trump?

The bouffant-ed blowhard buffoon outdid himself during the recent presidential election campaign south of the border, texting and tweeting paranoid and delusional denunciations of the U.S. President.

NBC anchorman Brian Williams nicely encapsulated the New York nut-bar’s contributions, saying that Trump had “driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible.”

Trump meanwhile, was punching out tweets such as “Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us!”

No, Donald. Only at you.

But we need to save one sign for a radio listener named Donna — mercifully we don’t know her last name — who recently phoned up a radio open line show in North Dakota to complain about the placement of “deer crossing” signs on busy roads.

Donna felt that the signs were hazardous and that the deer should be directed to cross roads in less traveled areas.

The radio show host assured her that actually....the signs weren’t meant for the deer to read.

“I feel so stupid,” said Donna. “I had no clue that these signs were for us.”



Arthur Black is a regular News columnist. He lives on Salt Spring Island.


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