The Union Recorder

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August 24, 2013

ROWLAND: My personal campaign to bring back the word stupid before it’s too late

MILLEDGEVILLE — A few weeks back, I went to the Second Sunday Concert Series at Washington Park in Macon. The headline act was the Travis Denning Band. If you are ever within 75 miles of this bunch, then I highly recommend you go see them.

Also, Travis is my nephew. I know. I’m shameless, but I’m trying to help my sister get him off the payroll. Plus, I have dibs on driving the tour bus once he hits double platinum.

My dad was there, too. By the way, he will turn 80 years old next week. By the time most of you read this, we will all be dead in the middle of a big family/community birthday party for one of the most amazing men I know. My mother would roll over in her grave.

Another story for another day.

I tell you that story to tell you this story. When Trudy and I got to the concert, she said, “Granddaddy, he (meaning me) has been riding my behind all day.”  To which I replied, “But she shouldn’t do stupid stuff.”

Now just so you know, this was not really one of those adversarial conversations but more like the conversation two very happy, very close, very comfortable friends have with one another when they are just messing around.

Regardless, my dad says, “You know there was a time when this family considered that a bad word.”  He was referring to the teachings of my mother.

Now all of that means absolutely nothing except that it did bring to mind the fact that a lot of people are offended by the word stupid. But given the rash of poor behavior we all have witnessed lately, I am thinking about starting a campaign to resurrect the word stupid as a testament to its definition in the purest sense of the word.

Let me illustrate.

My brother-in-law is a bicycle enthusiast, so he requested I mention the fact that Lance Armstrong had the title of World’s Greatest Cyclist all sewn up until he used performance enhancing drugs to win seven consecutive Tour de France championships. Talk about stupid!

Here is a man that had the world by the tail. Not only was he at the top of his very demanding sport, but he made a fortune from leveraging his success.

And, if that wasn’t enough, in 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Following extensive treatments, in 1997 he was declared cancer free. If you look up the word stupid in the dictionary, Lance Armstrong’s picture should be beside the word.

How about Johnny Manziel? Manziel is the Heisman Trophy wining quarterback at Texas A&M. He won the coveted college accolade as a redshirt freshman. Unheard of until now.

What if someone had offered you the award for person of the year, guaranteed you a career in your chosen profession where you printed money, and all you had to do was mind and behave, be reasonably nice, and wholesome?  Think you could handle it?

Not Ole’ Johnny!  He promptly goes out, in clear violation of the rules, and accepts money for signing his autograph on piles of memorabilia. Did I hear anyone say stupid!

Look. I can understand how difficult it is for young people of any generation to withstand the pressures that come with fame, but the rules are the rules. That is one of the problems with the world today, in my humble opinion. We have taught our kids that the rules apply to everyone but them.

Again, another story for another day.

And now we have the most recent scandal in baseball where a number of the game’s best players have been associated with the use of performance enhancing drugs, not the least of which is the star New York Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. And, if that isn’t enough, he is making a mockery of the game by appealing his suspension through the 2014 season which most likely guarantees he will get to play through the 2013 season.

I don’t know who is more stupid. A-Rod for making a mockery of the game or Major League Baseball for letting it happen. Where is Bowie Kuhn when you need him!

This much I do know. We had better bring back into this country a serious discussion of the word stupid, complete with a dictionary that spells out its meaning, a course  in school on the various forms it may take, and the teaching of some strategies on how to avoid it.

I think it was Forest Gump’s mama who said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”  Trust me. The only thing dumber that being stupid is being too stupid to know it.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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