Friday, April 16, 2010

Common Sense Ain't So Common (Warning: This Is a Rant!)

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please indulge me this morning. If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you know that I am not one to rant and rave; in fact, people who know me, both on-line and off, frequently compliment me on my aplomb, my ability to keep my composure and not go off and cuss somebody slap out even when going off and cussing somebody slap out would be understood given the situation and the level of asininity.

But a soulbrother can take only so much, so this will be a rant. However, the good news is that I am unable to sustain anger over a long period of time—being angry tires me out—so this will more than likely be short. “But what has you so agitated?” you ask. This morning common sense, or more precisely the seeming lack thereof, has absolutely frustrated me to no end.

My maternal grandfather did not have much formal education; he only managed to reach the fifth or sixth grade before familial responsibilities forced him to quit school and go to work in the fields. However, he was, in many aspects, the most intelligent person I have ever met.

Back in the day, he was like a negro Socrates or Aristotle or something. Whatever book knowledge he lacked, he made up for through empirical knowledge, through keen observation of the world around him. He listened more than he spoke, and each new experience, each lesson he learned, he filed it in the back of his mind. And when the time came for him to apply that information, he reached deep into the recesses of his mind and applied it to the task at hand. He called this common sense.

When I was growing up, he used to always tell me, “Flukie,”—that’s what he called me because I was a bit uncoordinated as a child—“book sense without common sense is almost as bad as not having any sense uh-tall.”

Since that time I have had the privilege of being around some of the most brilliant people in perhaps the world. Daily I interact with veritable geniuses and people with a gang of degrees from some of the best universities and an alphabet soup of letters behind their names. And daily I wonder how in the hell some of these people manage to be so utterly intelligent without even the slightest hint of common sense.

The most mundane tasks befuddle them. The simplest directions must be explained to them in the minutest detail. Any little disruption of their daily routine sends them into a tailspin. If I might again quote my learned and esteemed grandfather, “They don’t use their head for nothing but a damn hat rack.”

So that I might be perfectly honest and fair, I know that without a doubt that I am perhaps one of the most absent minded people walking. I constantly forgot things like my gym locker combination and my phone number, which is certainly plausible since I don’t call myself anyway. I constantly misplace things like my wallet and car keys. And just last week I actually left the house wearing two different shoes, but you cannot underestimate the difficulty of discerning a brown loafer from a black loafer in dim lighting. It did feel somewhat funny on my feet though.

But, nevertheless, I do take time out to think. I do take time to look at the problem from every possible angle before I decide on a solution. I do try to use my capacity for abstract thought to read between the lines and fill in the information or the steps that are seemingly missing. I do take the time to ascertain meaning and motive before I throw a hissy fit and point accusatory fingers at those who have simply mis-spoke or who are not specific enough in their utterance. In other words, I try to simply use common sense.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all took time to do this? Wouldn't you feel less frustrated on a daily basis on a daily basis if people just took time to think? Wouldn't you have more time on your hands if you did not have to spend so much time trying present a common sense argument to people who use no common sense uh-tall?

Ah, now I feel much better. I got it off my chest. And I feel a bit better. I apologize to anyone I might have offended. This rant was aimed at no one in particularly. Well, yes it was but they are not speaking to me anyway, so what the hell.

So, let’s have one big virtual group hug, and carry on with our day. I’m going to get me a Slurpee, then sit back and finish getting my mental mind right, so I can finish what I was working on before this foolishness jumped off.

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