“Two things are infinite:
the universe and human stupidity;
and I’m not sure about the universe”
A fresh cup of coffee and a cool morning breeze, a push of the porch swing and heaven is a moment away. I love this time of solitude and reflection about special memories. I recall when I was nine and dad took a pastorate in a small country town. It was a little boy’s dream to have so much to explore. The best part was the fishing ponds. Being the preacher’s kid given me the privilege of choosing anyone’s pond.
There was two things little boy’s wanted in the 1950’s. One was a pocket knife. He didn’t feel like a man until he had a pocket knife just like his father and grandfather. The other was a BB gun. One summer my younger brother saved his money and purchased a Daisy Model 111-40 Red Ryder .
He was excited and ready to shoot just about anything. Taking his invitation to place cans on the fence in exchange for a turn to shoot, I joined in his excitement. Dad gave us strict instructions not to shoot until he returned from the store. My brother poured little gold BB’s in the ammo hole. He scoped down the barrel and made peow, peow sounds with his mouth.
“Far be it from me to ever let my common sense
get in the way of my stupidity. I say we press on.”
I asked if I could try. He handed me the gun and I set the stock against my cheek. My eyes slid down the barrel to the tin can focused in the v-shaped site. Now, you know that stupid little saying we over use and no longer think is funny? The one that says, “You can’t fix stupid?” I was about to see it come in to play. Someone erased the blackboard of sensibility and pulling the trigger possessed my very being. I wanted to be first to hear the ping of cans flying off the post.
But each person is tempted when he is lured
and enticed by his own desire.
James 1:14 (ESV)
I have no idea what came over me when I pointed and yelled, “Look!” My little brother’s eyes moved away and my deceit placed the barrel on top of his barefoot big toe and pulled the trigger.
Now, you may think that that was the dumbest most hurtful thing I could have done, and I agree, it was pretty bad, but let me continue. He screamed and he hollered and he cried and hopped around on one foot, for I don’t know how long.
“It couldn’t have hurt that bad,” I said.
The same power that possessed Moses to get angry enough to kill that centurion possessed my little brother that morning. He stopped hopping around, and his tear filled spirit looked me square in the eyes and said something that placed the fear of God, and of the devil all into one phrase.
“I’m gonna tell Dad.”
I don’t know about you, but with me, those words cut clear to the bone. Dad may have been a preacher, but the forty-four inch belt, called Old Joe, around his waist was more powerful than dynamite. When that belt hit my backside it moved me so much if the skin didn’t hold in the flesh it would splatter like a million stones off the side of a mountain.
“Beauty fades, dumb is forever.”
― Judy Sheindlin—Judge Judy
Shooting his big toe was pretty dumb, huh? Conversely, it was not the dumbest thing I ever did. My next few words filled that hallmark.
“If you want tell Dad, I’ll let you shoot my big toe.”
I screamed, and hollered, and cried and hopped around on one foot. Stupid was not to be fixed that day. I felt like the biggest imbecile, I believe he called me, in the world. We didn’t hear Dad’s arrival and when he heard our story he was shocked, but not surprised. Dad agreed my stupidity and pain was enough punishment and Old Joe stayed on his waist.
There is more hope for a fool than for
someone who speaks without thinking.
– Proverbs 29:20-
Sometimes we don’t understand others feelings when we do stupid things. We see the outside and think, it looks OK to me. We sluff it off and assume it can’t be all that bad. Remember, when someone says they hurt, they really do, especially if you are the one who caused the pain. To be one who is complacent and non-caring is the worst thing you can do. Pay close attention to others, in particular those you love, and what they may be feeling. Their suffering should be our foremost concern. You know, you may be the one who needs comforting someday. Oh, so that you will know stupid did get fixed and I have my senses back, I don’t own a gun to this day.