24 June 2008

Don't call me...


Otto West: Don't call me stupid.
Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs.

Like Kevin Klein's character in "A Fish Called Wanda," I hate to be called stupid.

You can call me ugly. You can say I dress funny. You can say I am mean, that I stink, that I am terrible with directions. All fine, and all somewhat true at times.

But do not make the mistake of saying, implying, or assuming that I am dumb.

I was in a meeting the other day when the presenter couldn't answer my questions. It was apparent that she did not know.

Instead, she turned it around and said in a condescending tone, "Well, let me see if I can try to explain it to you."

As she bumbled around, spinning circles with her words, I had to hold myself down to my chair. I was so close to standing up and yelling at her.

She got done with her explanation, which did not make a lick of sense. Everyone just sat there silent, amazed at her incompetence.

I finally said calmly but very clipped, "I'll talk to S. It seems like she might be able to clarify, based on what she said earlier."

But I was maaaad. I don't know why the implication that I am stupid galls me so deeply. It sends me into The Bad Place, the mental space you don't want to go - and if I go there, you certainly should not follow.

What that people assume about you sends YOU off the deep end?

28 comments:

Bri said...

I look WAY younger than I am. People often mistake me for up to 10 years younger. That's ok, I'm used to it, but the next person to tell me that I'll love that when I'm older is getting a slap in the face! (I'm alright now. Breathe!)
What makes me seriously CRAZY though, is that people then assume that I have no life experience, that I know next to nothing based on that assumption about my age! It's hard enough to take that attitude when you ARE young, it's especially hard when you're not.

Carolie said...

I'm with you...don't assume I'm stupid, especially if you are trying to cover up for your own deficiencies! Another push off the deep end happens when people assume that because I'm overweight, I'm lazy. Grrrrrr.

The worst though, the one that gets me the most irate, is when people with bigotries (racism, homophobia, irrational fear of Hispanic people, etc. ) either tell bigoted jokes or make bigoted remarks to me, confident that I share their beliefs.

Average Jane said...

It's been well over 20 years since an obnoxious customer called me stupid at a retail job, and I'm still indignant about it.

super des said...

I am the exact same way. As with you, I am probably smarter, better spoken, more knowledgeable, and more competent than the person calling me stupid. Smart people don't do that. I usually either a) tell them off b) walk away without a word or c) claw their eyes out. OK, C is a lie. But I'm thinking about doing it when I do A or B.


And I heart A Fish Called Wanda, especially Michael Palin's character.

QT said...

WOW!! This is definitely right up there for me, too!

And why couldn't the presenter just say "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back to you" I say that about a 100 times a day.

Count Mockula said...

Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement.

Bwahahaha. Sorry, I got distracted by A Fish Called Wanda.

Kizz said...

Oh yeah, to assume I'm stupid, that's the one.

Jill said...

First of all let me say, I love your blog and read it daily since I first stumbled across it a couple of months ago!
The thing that irks me most- well, my LAST name is Allison, so yes, I'm the girl with two first names (which that is annoying too, people commenting on that)but what REALLY irks me is the people at various establishments (video store, dr. office, etc.) that ask "last name please?" and i reply "Allison" and they say "I said, LAST name" and I reply once again, "Allison" and then they just give me a dumbfounded as though they can't imagine that's a last name. I'm usually polite about it but what I really want to say is "You idiot, do you think I don't know the difference between my first and last name?"

Kristi said...

I'm right there with ya!

That and people who make immediate assumptions about me because:

a) I have blonde hair and boobs,

b) I look a bit younger than I am (I'm 43)... and

c) I'm lacking a dangly appendage between my legs.

Honestly? One of my greatest joys in life is getting to prove them wrong. HA!

thailandchani said...

Truthfully, it really ticks me off when someone presents an idea to me and assumes that I share their values or even customs - based strictly on how I look. It's the "nudge nudge wink wink" thing.

It drives me nuts when someone states the obvious or parrots something they heard on Oprah and thinks it's profound. Those are the folks who have probably never had an original thought and then presumes to 'enlighten' me.

So I guess it boils down to the same thing you said. It's about people assuming I'm stupid.

pinkbirdlady said...

I work with teachers and they (at least 50%) believe that
just because I don't have a college degree I don't know anything and am completely stupid. EXCUSE ME.grrrrr Older and wiser here, and a lot more logical when it comes to kids.

Heidi said...

The fact that I am nice. Do not assume kindness is a weakness. I can kick ass when necessary. I just don't think it is necessary to go there so quickly. And people ALWAYS underestimate me. But the best place to be is underestimated.

angel apologist said...

I hate when people assume I am a drunk because I am Irish.

.....oh damn, that's right....

Skye said...

I am with you on the stupid one, especially when men do it. If I end up in prison for throttling someone to death, you'll know why.

I'm also with Jill, though, since I have first and last names that may not be immediately apparent which is which. However, when I FILL OUT A FORM MYSELF, I promise I am not writing my name down wrong. You don't have to data enter it backwards to protect me from myself. And if I sign my email Skye Kilaen, don't write me back and say "Hey Kilaen!"

meno said...

Denial, denial drives me batshit.

Project Christopher said...

the stupidity thing is right up there, but one of my most detested questions is "Do you play basketball?" I'm 6'7" yes, but detest... DETEST the game. I'd sooner play golf (and that's bad) Sadly, my hatred of basketball I think has been born from years of the "Do you play..."

Mom101 said...

Oh I am so so with you. But more so when it comes from a man. That's why I went nuts hearing that McCain used that very expression to address a question from Queen of Spain.

Grrrr...

TraceyTreasure said...

I was told that I didn't have any style by a store owner that sold me my wardrobe. Looking back it was a reflection on her store but I was fuming for months and I'm no longer friends with the stupid bitch. Sorry, can I cuss here? If not just delete this comment.
Then one day it hit me that I have A LOT more going for me than she does. I have a family to clothe and I don't spend much on my clothes but I'm okay with that! When it comes to intelligence, ALWAYS CONSIDER THE SOURCE! Sorry she made you feel bad. She's probably just jealous of you. Hugs!

TraceyTreasure said...

Oh My Gosh, Angel Apologist finally did it! It made my day coming here today!! Now for the posts. Get busy, AA....I can't wait to hear what you have to say!!
Sorry, Sueb0b, isn't this exciting?

barbra said...

Do NOT tell me to "chill." I hate that so much. When I'm pissed off, telling me to "chill" will not help!

Shamelessly Sassy said...

being called stupid sends me off of the deep end. Or if someone calls me 'messy' just because I sometimes like clutter.

SUEB0B said...

Wow, Tracey - you noticed and I didn't. Yeah, AA, get busy! (He has a LOT to say! And funny stories too)

My Two Cents said...

What angers me the most is when people assume that they can do whatever, wherever, with no consequence whatsoever. When those in question feel that they answer to nobody and can do as they please because they are 'protected', that's when I can take no more. Even more so when I am forced to work with these type of people and play nice despite being told that they're doing nothing wrong. Bias and favoritism make me ill.

g said...

I just had a conversation with someone at work today, and I told them that one of the reasons there was tension between us was that I felt that she didn't trust me to do a good job, and that I knew what I was doing.

The conversation went round and round, but one of the "examples" she gave me about a situation where I had her complete trust was that she felt comfortable sending me to pick up gift wrap for some gift bags we were giving to some VIPS.

Oh, great. You're still nit-picking me on a $50 decision, but I'm cool to buy gift wrap.

Thanks.

Miss Smarty Pants said...

Regular reader, first time poster. This totally resonated with me for some reason. I used to work with a girl who was supposedly brilliant, but whenever I asked her to explain how she came to a conclusion, she would come up with a convoluted explaination, and could never make sense. It would make me absolutely crazy. And then she would get mad because I could show the flaw in her reasoning. No one ever wanted to cross her, because she was literally crazy. So she kept putting together these horrific proposals and no one said a word. Until they fired her. Sorry I wasn't around to see it happen.

Major Bedhead said...

I hate it when people assume that, because I stay home with my kids, I have nothing else to discuss except poopy diapers and sleep schedules. I have way more to me than that.

Lindsay said...

Hi, I just clicked over from Kristin's comments section, and this post really struck a chord. :)

I have a rather obnoxious social anxiety problem, to the point where I don't really call people for any reason, except family and close friends. I HATE it when people tell me that I just need to do it and I'll be fine. I think I would have discovered that by now, were it true.

lildb said...

pretty much the same thing, actually.

p.s. i HATE that bitch for your sake, and would punch her in the nose if i saw her. (not really. i'm anti-violence. but i might sneer at her quietly.)

(wow. whatta back-getter *I* am. i would totally sneer *hard* at her. there. better?

no.)

sigh.

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