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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I have zero tolerance for idiots armed with rulebooks

I could link more than a thousand examples. Young kids getting suspended and even expelled for nothing at all is more common than leaves on the ground in Autumn. We're all upset about it, but rules are rules....or so they would have us believe.

People tend to think in simplistic dichotomies: True or false. Dangerous or safe. Black or white. Good or evil. Democrat or Republican. Gay or straight. Rich or poor. We want people to fall into neat little niches and stay there. Politically speaking, there's nothing on earth that is more infuriating than an independent who won't make up his stupid mind. Just pick one! we want to scream at them. Why can't they decide?

I think that most of us are uncomfortable with people or ideas that won't fit neatly into one of the little pigeon holes where we are each supposed to roost. Here's a case in point. Tila Tequila is a model and actress who had her own MTV reality show several years ago. She didn't know whether she was straight or gay. In truth she was both. She was—and probably still is—a bisexual and more problematically, very fickle. Because she didn't fit neatly into one of the two possible slots of heterosexual or homosexual, MTV created a reality show which would supposedly help her to decide.

Just because I enjoy throwing a little irony into my zero-tolerance exposition, I'll mention that almost everybody falls broadly into one of two categories, analyzers and memorizers. I'm the former by the way. I don't—and won't—sit and memorize long lists of facts, figures, trivia, etc. Don't ask me who directed some movie that won some Oscar in 1974, because first I don't know, and second is that really the kind of thing that you're interested in? If so I don't understand you. It's not only trivia, it's trivia of the most tediously trivial. I won't ask "who cares," because obviously there's an entire industry devoted to trying to hypnotize everyone into caring. As to possible reasons why people would want to memorize the most obscure details about celebrities, my opinion can be summed with one word: bandwagon.

I can't stand memorizers. I loathe this type of person. The worst are the memorizers who can't memorize. They always have a notebook handy, and they'll whip it out faster than a gunslinger can whip out a pistol, while they attempt to explain why what they've got written down on those miniature pages proves beyond all shadow of a doubt that you're just plain wrong. Except that they've forgotten a step, or taken a wrong path, or assumed a mistaken assumption...etc.

If you couldn't tell where I was going with this, perhaps at this point you're beginning to get the picture. Memorizers—by-and-large—mostly work for the bureaucracy. They're happiest when people fit neatly into a particular pigeon hole. So happy in fact, that they've already got a stamp that says "accepted" or "denied," and having pigeonholed you, they fully expect you to move along while they chirp "Next!" They've got a rule book with particular sections memorized. The worst thing society could possibly do is to give these types the power to make decisions. They honestly just don't belong in that chair. They belong at the post office sorting zip-codes, never in the position of judge jury and executioner, so it makes me wonder why it's memorizers who always end up sitting in that chair.

it doesn't take an Einstein to understand that expelling a kindergartner for bringing a clear plastic water gun to school is certifiably insane. Yet that lunatic who's in charge will whip out their dog-eared rule book and stentoriously recite some rule and/or regulation, and suddenly we're set back on our heels, because you know...rules are rules...or something.

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