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Human stupidity: highlights

2010-06-02 14:14
It's an enticing concept, but probably inhumane, because without some kind of buffer between reality and our own built-in, wall-to-wall dumb-fuckery, we'd probably be dead – or at least without an internet connection, which amounts to just about the same thing, really.

For most of us, junk email could be renamed joke email. I myself win the lottery approximately three times a day, get sexually propositioned at least 10 times (not counting the real ones) and if I followed through on every penis enlargement opportunity I received, my foreskin would probably require its own lighthouse.

Every week I'm sent a 419 email for every man, woman and child in Nigeria. For a laugh, we sometimes read them out loud in my office.

Godly greetings and a peace on your childrens, wonderful mister

Greasy apologies for touching you unexpectedly, but I must impart news of burning import. My husband has stabilised from fighting with lupus and now I'm a widow. Woe! What will become of his muchly wealthies?  My corpse is a rich, but I have no banking requirements to call my own, and cannot claim my just preciousness. I therefore humbly request to gnaw on the teat of your upstanding kindness.

OK, you get the idea. Besides, this is getting vaguely racist and I'm starting to sound like Gollum.

Even given my misanthropic world view, I'd still find it hard to believe that people actually fall for these imbecilic obsecrations – if it weren't actually true. A few months ago there was the story of the Johannesburg woman who was swindled out of about R1.5 million before reality finally slapped the stupid out of her, and this week we've been graced with the harrowing account of the US woman who not only got similarly swindled, but simultaneously kidnapped, and held at her captives' pleasure for a month before escaping. Police are, of course, investigating. Oh, good.

The maxim "a fool and their money are soon parted" may be tickling your larynx about now, but before you fall on this tired cliché, be sure you're wearing a crash helmet. You know, like the ones motorcyclists, BASE jumpers, skateboarders and your undoubtedly special children are *forced by law* to wear because they don't have the brains to protect their brains from their own stupidity.

Helmets, warning labels on everything from booze and cigarettes to vitamin pills are symptoms of our species' inability to avoid being the final story on the evening news. It's very tempting to say, "To hell with warning labels! Let nature weed out the weaklings and renovate the gene pool."

You have to wonder how many times British commuters need to be told to mind the gap? And without the multi-lingual "danger" sign, would people be tempted to rip open electrical boxes and piss on the wiring? On the motoring front, we're constantly told that speed kills, to not drink and drive, and to fasten our safety belts. Common sense, you might think – much like not smoking or answering emails from people who sound like Gollum. But not a day goes by in this country that some drunken moron doesn't go flying through the windshield as their car collides with something solid at high speed.

Given these shameful facts, is it really all that fair of us to laugh at the woman (I blame patriarchy for this rampant female air-headedness) who is suing Google because she followed the directions given in Google Maps, and got herself run over? Apparently Google didn't warn her explicitly enough that *walking onto a goddamned highway* was not exactly going to win her the Nobel Prize for physics.

But even if Google had included a flashing red warning that made a siren sound, I bet she would have stumbled onto that highway anyway, because all of us think we're exceptions. I confess: when I see a road sign telling me to slow down, I don't. And when I was in London, I made a point of not minding the gap. Not once. Oh, and I smoke. And every now and then, when I get a badly worded email telling me I've just won three million Euros in a lottery I never entered, I can't help wondering how awesome it would be if just maybe, this one was genuine.

No wonder companies and governments go out of their way protect us – but mostly themselves – by  producing millions of stupid little warning labels that state the bleeding obvious. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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