Thanks for the coffee

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By John Pawlak

My mother taught me that I should always thank people when appropriate.
Over the past year, I’ve had countless occasions in which a hearty thank you was due, but it’s not always possible to thank the person face to face. And so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some people that I haven’t had the pleasure of thanking in person.
The other day, while sitting at Starbucks, my friend and I watched yet another dead-from-the-neck-up Los Alamos resident ignore the one-way signs and Do Not Enter signs as he turned into the parking lot.  My friend and I simultaneously said, “How much stupid can some people fit into one head?”
But when I remarked that I’ve seen people do K-turns and U-turns right in front of the cafe, my friend told me that I was exaggerating. He agreed that people speed, use their cell phones while driving and even eat sandwiches while driving, but he refused to believe that anyone would be dumb enough to do something like that.
And so I bet him a coffee that we’d see someone do exactly that before we left for the day.
In any normal civilization, the odds would have been greatly against me. But the gods of probability smiled upon me and less than 10 minutes later, my friend watched in amazement as yet another “head stuffed with stupid” Los Alamos driver won me a coffee.
So Mister Stupid, thank you for the coffee!
OK, you might want to argue that the guy wasn’t really stupid, but just a dangerous driver. Seriously, how much intelligence does it take to realize that doing U-turns in the middle of a main street might result in someone getting hurt? The real tragedy here is that when someone does get hurt, it usually isn’t the idiot driver.
Maybe I should start betting more often. I could win a lot of coffee this way.
For example, what are the odds that some guy will drive by in his boom car at midnight, blasting out Xzibit, Young Jeezy, or Waka Flocka Flame at 120 decibels, his bass speakers pumping out 20Hz hip hop frap (that’s a conjunctive form of “rap” by the way)?
Now, a less forgiving person would call this guy a neural deficient simpleton. But I believe he’s just a guy who happens to like music. Loud music. Yeah, he’s also a guy who’s also a neural deficient simpleton.
And what about the guy who leaves his shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot rather than wheeling it over to the cart corral? You might think that person is a brain-dead self-absorbed narcissistic feeble-minded lazy jerk.
But you’d be wrong.  I can assure you he’s not lazy.  And I thank him for his act of stupidity.
It may seem strange to you that I’d go out of my way to thank people for being stupid. But my logic is quite simple.  It’s a great opportunity for me to feel smarter than I actually am.
You see, I have a terrible inferiority complex. I need to see that there are people in the world less intelligent than myself. And sometimes others who are less intelligent than a pet hamster.
Way less intelligent.
Therefore, I want to thank that woman who was pushing a baby carriage down the road instead of using the sidewalk. And another thanks goes to the mental defective I saw the other day, riding a bicycle down Central while texting on his cell phone.
And I certainly wouldn’t want to forget to thank the deep thinkers who sit right outside the coffee shops and restaurants polluting the air with their cigarette smoke.  It’s nice that they want to share like that.
There’s an old adage about how if you want to look taller, hang out with short people.
This advice works on several dimensions and thus if you want to look smarter, hang out with not-so-smart people.
And so I want to thank these people in Los Alamos.  Walking around and just being near you, I find myself looking like a genius.

John Pawlak
Los Alamos Columnist