Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

One thing I know for certain as a Baby Boomer is I’ve known lots of stupid people over the years.  That's a harsh word, but they did stupid things.  Believed stupid things. I knew a lot of them.  It was amazing.  What’s even more amazing is that I don’t know as many stupid people anymore.  Maybe they’re hiding from me.

I knew people who had the dumbest ideas about religion and politics and how to raise children.  It was always a mystery to me how they could be so unenlightened about things that came so naturally to me.  When I didn’t have children, I was the perfect parental adviser.  When I had major philosophical differences with co-workers, I couldn’t believe how they could think that way.

Drivers were so inconsiderate when they’d get in the passing lane and actually go the posted speed limit. (That hasn’t changed much.)  Parents in the grocery store were so  negligent when they didn’t discipline their children.  I occasionally stopped to share my insight.  Guess what those people did!!! Walked away muttering.  Some gestured.

Now?  I don’t really see people the way I once did.  I had a conversation with a good friend last month who went on a tirade about an issue affecting him.  I frankly thought he was a bit pushy in sharing his views and insisting I agree with him.  How uninformed.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about his ignorant ideas. I’ve discovered perhaps I agree with him more than I thought.  On one or two points.

As I’m heading into a different phase of life, (I refuse to say going downhill out-of-control), I’m wondering more about some of the rigid stances I had all those years.  I hate when that happens.

I’ve been blessed with really fine friends.  I do have to admit, there’s not one I couldn’t improve substantially, were they to listen to me.  Yet, the bottom line is they care about me and my family, and love me for who I am, and expect me to do the same.

I have a friend who thinks I’m a conservative’s conservative and I think he’s a liberal’s liberal on politics and religion.  There’s very little in those areas we agree on.  Stupid?  Not really.  Stupid would be not getting past those differences.  We agree about family, friends, community and how to treat people, and lots of things.

Brenda and I have two very dear friends with whom we’ve shared life up close and personal for 40 years.  Last year, the conversation got to “why do some friendships endure and others don’t?”  The answer’s not that difficult.  Some friends are worth fighting for.  The waters over the dams have been so substantial that you just cannot give it up, regardless of how wild things get.

Why does it take getting old to realize that?  Maybe I’m slower than most.  I’m finding more friends worth fighting for.  Not all.  More.  Just because I'm evolving doesn't mean "stupid" isn't still out there.

The other day I got angry at something on the news and muttered out loud, “Don’t be so dumb and narrow minded.”  Brenda said, “Who are you talking to?”  I said,  “Me.”

Date of Blog Story: 
October 27, 2009

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