Some people have a death wish — or perhaps they’re just too stupid to live. I saw a perfect example of what I’m talking about recently when I pulled into a service station to fill my ol’ pickup with gasoline.
I’d paid at the pump and inserted the nozzle into the tank when I happened to glance across at the guy on the other side of the pump from me. My eyes opened wide when I saw that the guy wuz bent over, holding the nozzle of his pump into the opening of a plastic gas can, and he wuz puffing on a smoking cigarette.
I immediately shut my gasoline nozzle off, hurried away from the pump, and yelled at the guy, “Do you have a death wish? I don’t! Better get rid of that smoke or we both may go up in smoke.”
He looked surprised when I yelled, but then he realized what he wuz doing and threw that cigarette as far as he could. All he could do wuz shrug his shoulders at me and say, “Sorry. Didn’t realize what I wuz doing.”
Like I said, too stupid to live.
But, of course, that statement about being too stupid to live also applies to me. Recently, I did something stupid enuf to have killed myself, two ways — one from anger and the other from heat exhaustion. Let me explain.
I have a five-foot PTO driven tine-tiller on the back of my tractor. I leave it attached to the tractor almost all the time because I plant my gardens so I can till between the rows and because the tiller makes a nice, heavy counterbalance for the front-end loader, which I’ve never taken off my tractor since the day I bought it.
Well, the other day I wuz tilling up several garden-sized plots of land to plant to grain sorghum — some for wildlife foot plots and some near the chicken house for the chickens to self-harvest this fall.
It wuz hot, too. The temperature wuz in the mid-90s and the humidity wuz around 80 percent. Muggy, to say the least. I have one plot located behind my pond dam that I planted last fall to wheat, rye, hairy vetch, Austrian winter peas, and turnips. The plot had served its purpose well as winter graze for the local deer herd, but all the plants were mature and the grain wuz ripe. The plot wuz too far away from the chicken house for feed and my plan wuz to till all the foliage into the soil for organic matter for the grain sorghum to grow it.
So, when I drove down to till the plot, my brain registered that the plot wuz probably too tall and too thick for me to use the tiller on. But, then another part of my brain (the dumb part) said, “No, the wheat and rye stalks are dry and, if I till in first gear, I can chop everything up and be fine.”
I should have ignored the dumb part of my brain, but I wuz too dumb to do so. Let me tell you, the wheat and rye stalks may have been dry, but the tiller didn’t chop them up. Instead, by the time I’d made one pass through the plot with the tiller, it wuz wrapped tight — I mean really crammed tightly from end to end.
In fact, it wuz wrapped so tight that I drove to the garage where it wuz shady and breezy to unwrap my tiller. It took me more than an hour of sweating, cussing, and drinking a couple icy cans of my favorite beverage to get the job done. I had to use a hay hook, a sharp knife, and the tip of a little electric chain saw to get all that straw unwrapped — and then I had a mess in the garage to clean up afterwards.
I wuz so mad at myself that, like I said, I could have died from an anger-induced heart attack or I could have died from a heat stroke. Or, my untimely death could have been attributed to stupidity.
A couple of days later, after I’d cooled off and chopped up the food plot with a mower, I got the plot successfully tilled and planted — just what I should have done in the first place.
An old farmer and his long-suffering wife had been married for many years. They’d spent their entire married life feuding and fussing with each other. At every confrontation, neighbors could hear the argument deep into the night.
The old farmer would shout, “When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!”
The neighbors feared him. The old man liked the fact that he was feared. To everyone’s relief, he died of a heart attack when he was 98. His wife had a closed casket at the funeral.
After the burial, her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked “Aren’t you afraid that your husband may indeed be able to dig his way out of the grave and haunt you for the rest of your life?”
The wife grinned smugly, put her hands on her hips as she looked at the fresh grave and said, “Let him dig. I had him buried upside down, and I know he won’t ask for directions.”
Since I’ve devoted most of this column to the topic of stupidity, I’ll close for the week with a few choice words of wisdom on the subject. P. J. O’Rourke said, “No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs. We should test them for stupidity.” And, Albert Einstein said, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” He also said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Me neither. Have a good ‘un.