The Dumbification

Ma'iitso Rises is still $2.99 this week.  Head on over to the Shop section of the site to download it now!  Also, I'll be at the Retired Teacher's Learning Institute in Havana this Friday where I'll be giving a 45 minute presentation and doing some meeting and greeting.  Hopefully I'll see some of you there.  Onto the dumbification!

The dumbification is a perceived disease I've become aware of in my time in the service industry.  Everyone always thinks that everyone else is stupid, especially if they are younger, and they also believe that this malady is affecting more people today than in the years before.  I am not a subscriber to the theory of an exponentially increasing dumbification since I've been in contact with dim witted individuals my entire adult life.  They are always out there somewhere.  I can only go back about 16 years on this one, but I assert that the dumbification has to have begun sometime before then and seems to be holding steady.  I offer the following stories as proof.

The Apocalypse is nigh:

Me:  Hey 99, (we called this man 99 because he constantly jabbered about the world ending on December the 31st 1999.  Other than that belief structure he was normal in every way.)  What are you going to do now that the year 2000 has come and the world is still here?

99:  It seems my calculations were slightly off.

Me:  That's OK man.  Math is hard.

99:  I believe I was only off by one number, though.  The world is going to end on December the 31st, 2999 and I will ride a comet to the edge of the universe.

Me:  That sounds awesome AND you get to keep your name.

The Thick Headed Alcoholic

Super Drunk Guy: My sister is taking me to rehab tonight. Can I get a free shot?

Me: No.

SDG: OK, well how about a free shot?

Me: No.

SDG: Well, what if I paid for it?

Me: No.

SDG: Come on, one free shot before rehab.

Me: Fine. How about Patron?

SDG: Perfect.

(I put water in a shot glass with a lime)

SDG: Man that was smooth.

Me: The smoothest.  Have fun in rehab.

One Half + One Half = ?

Angry Swearing Guest: You messed up my togo order.

Me:  Where is it?

ASG: In my car.

Me: OK

ASG:  Do you need it?

Me: Yes

He returns with a box that is pretty majorly damaged.

ASG:  I ordered a full rack of ribs, this is two half racks, and you didn't give me two orders of fries.

Me: I saw you eating the fries, also, what's the difference between a full rack and two half racks?

ASG:  Well, I mean, I ordered a full, and you gave me two halves.

Me:   Fair enough.

Ignorance, meet hatred, with a side of stupidity:

Me:  Thank you for calling (insert restaurant name and location here).  This is Tim, how may I help you?

Angry Racist Dude: I wanted to call and tell you I won't be coming into your restaurant tonight b/c you serve racemixers.
Me: We serve what?
ARD: Racemixers.
Me: What's in a racemixer? (I thought it was a drink)
ARD: You know, when a F'n N eats with a white girl.
Me:  Ohhhhh, so you're just calling to tell me you're a racist?


Me:  You heard me.

ARD: I, I, (mumble,mumble)

Me: Ok, well, good luck finding somewhere to eat.  Bye.

Yeah, I have the only 9 digit phone number.  Deal with it.

Me:  (taking a togo order). What's your phone number?

Phone guy: 815-654-354.

Me:  That's not enough numbers.

PG:  815-654-354

Me:  That's not a phone number.

PG: Yes it is.

Me:  Nope

PG: Is too

Me:  Still nope.  Bye.

I didn't know I couldn't do that:

Me on the phone with the owner of the restaurant:   You have to get down here, my drop for the night is $1000 short and I have no idea where it could be.

Owner:  Are you sure?

Me:  I've counted it a bunch of times and I know I don't have it.  You have to get down here.  I swear I didn't take it.

Owner:  Let me call you back.

(A few minutes pass and the phone rings)

Me:  Hello.

Owner:  My son took the $1000 out of the drop earlier tonight.

Me:  So I've been here sweating this out for hours and he's probably out doing cocaine with strippers.  

Owner:  Probably.  He said he didn't know he couldn't do that.

AND the coup de gras:

This is absolute proof that the dumbification has existed for years and isn't isolated to the young/old/poor/rich/men/women.  Everyone can be affected, and even a college education or upper echelon position in a prominent company doesn't mean the dumbification hasn't taken hold.  I once worked at a restaurant on the riverfront.  At this restaurant I mainly worked as a bartender/server/trainer, but toward the end of my tenure I was also given additional responsibility, along with a nice pay raise.  I was offered this position by the area director himself, and needless to say, it angered my immediate superiors.  They were my bosses still, but I made more money than them.  We clashed on a few occasions, but I was a young man then.  I didn't really care what those guys thought.  One day, I walked into work, and sitting at a table in the empty dining room is an especially cranky assistant manager, our diminutive general manager, the area director who hired me, his boss, and a woman I'd never met before, who was in fact my boss', boss', boss', boss', boss.  They called me over to the table.

I figured I was in some kind of trouble, but I wasn't sure why.  I sat down and the assistant manager, who I especially didn't get along with, began pulling papers out of a manila envelope.  Part of my new duties was to do the beer/liquor order and keep inventory.  I had only been in the job for five or six weeks, and these were the weekly numbers.  He then pulled out another set of papers.  On these were the inventory he and the general manager had done four times in the prior two weeks.  The numbers did not match.  Not only did they not match, but they were off by A LOT.  We're talking about being short three cases of Bud Light, three cases of Miller Lite, a case of Sam Adams, eight bottles of Absolut, three cases of zinfandel, and the list went on and on.  I don't remember what the total value of the inventory was, but it was in the tens of thousands of dollars, and I was being accused of stealing it for some kind of epic party or something.  

At first I was kind of taken aback.  My first thought was that I had made the GM and Assistant so mad at me that they had stolen all of this stuff and were now going to pin it on me.  I didn't really know what to do, so I just picked up my checklist, and invited everyone to do inventory with me.  We started in the bar area and after counting just a few items, and having them match the numbers on the GM/AM checklist, I knew what was going on, and couldn't wait to wipe the smug looks off their stupid faces.  We kept counting and the different levels of bosses just kept nodding their heads in agreement as the numbers matched up with the accusation that I had been stealing from them.  At some point, though, I was having a hard time suppressing my own smile, and the boss', boss', boss', boss', boss called me out on it.  She said something to the effect of

"I don't know what you can possibly think is so funny.  Once this is over with we'll be calling the police and pressing charges."  

I literally laughed out loud and said something to the effect of...

"You're right, I don't think its funny that of the six of us I'm the only one who knows how to do an inventory, or maybe even count, but here we are anyway."

Everyone glared at me and my perceived arrogance.  So, we continued, and after everything was counted and the management team's numbers were confirmed it seemed I was doomed to be on my way to jail.  That's when I decided to interject.

"OK, that's the front.  Now let's go count the closet and cooler."

I could see the blood drain from the Gm and AM's faces.  I whistled and told smart alec jokes as we first counted the locked closet where we stored all of our reserve liquors and wines, and then moved on to the cooler where all of the backup beer and cold wines were kept.  I made a big show of the rest of that little experience and made sure to let my superiors know that the dumbification had hit them all square in the face.  The boss, the boss' boss, the boss', boss', boss, the boss', boss', boss', boss, and the boss', boss', boss', boss', boss all went along with the rest of the count, and I wasn't sure why, unless it was just in the hope that my numbers would still be off enough to get me in trouble.  At the end of the day we were short a bottle of courvoisier and I quipped on how it was strange that I was always short a bottle right after the area director visited.  Because I was young, I also made a point to tell every one of them that I thought they were stupid.  That really served no purpose other than to anger them, and I can see now was actually the dumbification trying to get a foothold in me.

I learned some things that day about the dumbification.  It crosses generational gaps and is highly contagious, moving through like minded groups like a deadly pathogen.  I know for a fact that four out of the five bosses there that day had college degrees.  It would seem that having the ability to count would be a necessity in graduating from college, but the power of the dumbification is able to overcome all of that.  I won't lie, the dumbification has gotten its hands on me more than once in my life.  Don't be afraid, though, because succumbing to the dumbification is done out of choice, and is easily counteracted.  It is pretty simple really.  Read books, learn new things, go new places, try different things, meet different people and keep an open mind, because the minute you close it the dumbification sets in and you end up like angry racist dude on the phone, drunk, unable to count or add, high on cocaine and magic mushrooms while talking to a glue sniffing fairy and riding a unicorn on a comet away from the end of the world with a stolen $1000 in your pocket and rainbows shooting out your behind.  I've seen it all before a hundred times.  


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Posted on March 12, 2014 .