Thursday, May 22, 2014

Smart People Can Be So Stupid

I kind of pride myself in being an easy-going person. I don't get worked up about a lot of things, I'm almost impossible to offend, and it takes a lot to really make me mad. I attribute this to many years of anxiety and depression. When you've spent most of your life fighting to feel good and normal, once you finally do, all the little irritations in life just don't really matter anymore. 

Don't get me wrong--I get road rage like nobody's business (Hey, you. Yeah, you. That stick next to your steering wheel? That's a blinker. You should try it sometime.)  Pushy salespeople make me want to karate chop them to the throat, and brand new purchased items that don't work the way they're supposed to bring out a special kind of crazy in me. To name a few. 

But the little every day interactions between people where someone says something in passing that rubs the other one the wrong way or even thoroughly ticks them off? Not so much for this gal. 

Until yesterday. 

There is someone I see on a daily basis who is not of my same religion (I'm a Mormon). We'll call her Jane. Jane is somewhat knowledgeable about said religion as she is surrounded by Mormons every day. She has often expressed her opinions to me on various points of doctrine and beliefs held by us, usually in a respectful, objective way, which I appreciate. Yesterday Jane struck up a conversation with me about a "friend" she has on Facebook who is LDS. This "friend," from Jane's description, sounds fairly obnoxious and not like someone I would get along with at all. She happens to be liberal, this "friend," and makes unintelligent comments on Facebook that do not reflect her in a positive light. The conversation about this "friend" ended with Jane saying, "It's people like her who give your religion a bad name."

Cue record needle scratching across surface of record as the music comes to a halt. Say what? My usually lukewarm blood began to boil almost instantly and I had to physically walk away. But in my head the conversation continued, one-sided: "I'm sorry," I said sarcastically. "Your obnoxious, self-centered 'friend' on Facebook gives my entire religion a bad name because she happens to belong to it?" None of the stuff this "friend" was ranting about online had anything whatsoever to do with being Mormon. Had it been, I could maybe, maybe see some tiny hint of justification in condemning an entire religion based on the actions of one stupid person. (But not really.) But to say that this person's idiotic and totally secular posts on Facebook reflected badly on her religion is the equivalent of me saying that Mel Gibson gives Australians a bad name for making anti-Semitic comments, or Tiger Woods gives golfers a bad name for cheating on his wife. Ridiculous? Yes! Because the two are. totally. unrelated. 

And it didn't end there. Jane picked it up today right where she'd left off, only now I'd had 24 hours to think about her ignorant statement, to stew over it, convince myself more and more how stupid of a statement it was for someone fairly intelligent to make. So when the subject was approached again, I was ready. In my most (forced) casual, non-argumentative tone, I said "You're going to find stupid people everywhere. It doesn't matter what religion they are." Then I proceeded to tell her that we Mormons have an unfair disadvantage. Because some parts of our beliefs are so well known throughout the world and very black and white, we've been dubbed as "supposed to be perfect." Then, when we're HUMAN and make a mistake, or even just do something completely normal that an outsider has decided "real" Mormons shouldn't do, then we're not "good" Mormons and we're disgracing our whole religion. Now, more than ever, the Mormon church is under a microscope. It's hard enough trying to live each day in a way that would never give anyone a reason to question our faith. But on top of that, now we're to be judged by our intelligence level, tact (or lack thereof), and overall persona portrayed on social networking sites? I'm calling it: Not Fair. Not Fair at all. 

The next time Jane says something stupid (and she will), I'm going to say, "It's people like you who give people who wear glasses a bad name." Bam. 

Thoughts? I'd love to hear them. 

1 comment:

JenFielding said...

In these types of situations, I feel a lot like Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. I always come up with the good comebacks after the situation has passed. But the times I do come up with a good one in the moment, I always regret it afterwards..dang it. It's a lose-lose for me. Dumb smart people.