This post was originally posted at FRS Citizen Journal on Blogger, January, 2013 and then reposted
I was never a huge fan NBC's Golden Girls, a sitcom about senior single women sharing a house together. But I did love the Dorothy character played by Bea Arthur because she reminded of my maternal grandmother. Who I believe is where I got my flip off the cuff sense of humor, a wiseass who has very little tolerance for stupid questions. My grandmother was very similar and when my grandfather would say something lets say not real bright, or ask a dumb question, she would nail him for it every time even with company.
So I tried to be more careful how I talked to her unless, I wanted a real good laugh because I new I could nailed for saying something dumb as well. Sarcasm when done right is the perfect tool to combat stupidity. And people who for whatever reason are having a brain camp at your expense and so what you get to do if you're up for to the task is show them how dumb they are being and how bad their lack of thinking is at that point.
I've been lucky to a certain extent. Because I've had jobs in the service industries where I have a lot of experience around people who for whatever reasons aren't thinking very well. And end up asking questions they should already know the answers to. Or are simply unaware that they know the answer to whatever question they are asking. So when I get a dumb question, I nail the person for it not to make them feel like an idiot. Just to let them know that they just asked a dumb question. And they should've put a little more thought into it before asking me that question again.
And when I'm on, I can even get funny response out of the person who I just called out for not being very bright.
For example lets say to make up a character, I tell Joe I'm flying to St. Louis from Washington. I've never actually landed in St. Louis, flown over it sure, but for the purpose of this example I've flown to St. Louis. And he says "so you are taking a plane?" And I say no Joe I've borrowed the wings of a bald eagle and going to fly myself. And Joe says something like "try not to run into any birds. I know how limited your flying experience is". Or something like that.
Sarcasm when done right is a tool to combat stupidity. I prefer to use the term flip or off the cuff. Because sarcasm can be very mean, when you have someone whose overly cynical and whose always looking for the weakness in anything just to put someone down. Sarcasm at its best is a tool to let someone know. "You know what, thats' a real dumb question. You should know better and perhaps do and just aren't thinking very well right now". By showing that person how dumb they sound at that point.
My definitions of dumb questions are any question asked by someone who already knows the answer to the question they are asking, but not aware of it or someone who should know the answer to the question they are asking. But lacks basic fundamental knowledge and whose just being lazy. And my other definition of a dumb question is a question that has the answer in the question, but who's simply not aware of that. And I'll explain what I mean. My example of a dumb question where the person who asking the question should know better, but asks the question anyway.
Lets say you are driving to someone's friends house for a visit or dinner or whatever. And they call you while you are driving to get an idea when you'll be over and you say I'm on the road now. And I should be there in that about twenty minutes. And your friend says "you are driving now?" Of course you are driving now you just said you are on the road you told the person last night you are coming over. They know you drive and so-forth.
My other example of a dumb question, the question with the answer in it. I use to work at a movie theater and worked concessions a lot and someone would ask me.
"What size is small"? Well its small obviously or we wouldn't call it small. And every time I was asked that question I would say well small and I never got in trouble for it. To go to my first example of a dumb question, when I worked at that theater I was always asked do I work there. What else would I be doing there wearing that cheesy maroon shirt and name tag if I didn't work there.
Again Sarcasm when used effectively is a tool to combat stupidity, "you sure you don't know the answer to that question". To let the person know they should've put a little more thought into that question. And when sarcasm is misused, it's the ultimate mental weapon to put people down and to try to make them feel worthless or stupid. So if you do have a quick off the cuff sense of humor, have a conscience as well because you'll make a lot of people laugh without sounding like an asshole.