Stupid Does?
Off the Wall, Sept 18, 2009

I have to say that we are all creatures of habits. My daughter has hers, my son, his, and yes, me, mine as well. How we got so stuck in one rut of reasoning, I’m not sure. But maybe it has to do with our senses. If it is pleasing to us most of the time, why not stick to that idea. It’s when we get clobbered by misfortune that instills in us to either make an about-face or chose a different path.

In talking about directions, that is just what I did recently. Upon returning from some food shopping, I usually walk the same streets heading to our house on Ligonier St., or have been known to cut across the ball field caddy-corner to the shopping center.

So, here I was, heading toward home on the alley that runs parallel to Lincoln Road. I’ve always liked roadways behind the main drag. They seem to have so much more character than the main streets that mostly bear with them loud noise and commotion.

Anyone who knows the neighborhood can picture in his mind my pushing my cart of groceries behind the American Red Cross Chapter House heading toward the street that intersects with it. Here is where it gets good, by the way. I normally would make a left, go across Lincoln, pull my cart over the railroad tracks and find another paved road that would eventually get me to my destination.

But I didn’t do it that way. This would be the day I would change course. I would go straight ahead, instead. After all, I had not walked that alley in about a year, because my brain told me to take the course to which I was programmed.
Again, picture me pushing the cart along the alley. That shouldn’t be that hard to imagine. All is well, and I am not really thinking about much of anything. Usually when nothing is occurring, God is setting me up for something. This time was no exception.

Strolling along, I came to a dead standstill. There, on the front of a car, was a license plate that stated “Stupid Does.” I thought to myself, “Finally someone has come out with a license plate that hits the nail on the head when it comes to those beautiful animals walking out amidst traffic even though motorists honk, swerve or downright stop. I mean, that is telling it like it is. Man are those animals stupid.”

Then I began to extend my imagination. “I wonder if there are license plates that read, ‘Stupid Bucks.’ After all, they are as much at fault as their counterparts,” I said to myself. “To think that some company actually printed such license plates amazes me.”

Breaking me from my trance, I decided to do something I very rarely do. I departed from my cart, leaving it stand in the middle of the passageway, and decided to get ever so much closer to the car, finally arriving in the compound of the residence where it was parked. I then bent to read what was on the whole license plate. I was eager to find out what more applicable adjectives might be made in reference to those beloved game animals. Once again, I was taken aback by what was written. Clearly stated it read, “Stupid is as Stupid Does.”

Did I feel misled? Did part of me feel ashamed to think it could have been one way when in true essence it was not what it appeared on the surface? Did I feel tricked in any way? No. Instead, I burst out laughing. A matter of fact, I kind of chuckled all the way home. Sometimes God does that, you know. He will insert something in our lives of tranquility which often brings smiles to our faces. His subtle ways are often beautiful.

I then wondered if anyone else seeing that plate interpreted it as I did. Or is it that no one gave it so much as a thought. People will do that, you know. I’ve known persons who lack a sense of humor. In my opinion, that’s a shame. Down deep I think we all were given some sense to find things a little funny. Some may not agree.

A good number of years ago, I met a priest who, when told something that tickled my funny bone, always replied, “Now, that is funny.” He smiled a bit, but never broke out into a laugh. That always struck me as odd, but then, we weren’t all created the same.

What happened to me may happen to you, too. That’s the way God works. Enjoy it!

- Paul J. Volkmann
You can contact me by email