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Archive for August 26th, 2007

Sucker Punched In The Mind

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of your brain? You know probably know the sensation but just didn’t have a name for it. It’s what happens when someone says something so stupid, generic with total deadpan conviction, that your brain just chokes trying to process what they just said. It’s like taking a shot in the solar plexus, except in your head. I’ve always thought that one of the reasons that stupid people think that they are smart is because this phenomenon allows them to think that they have just won a rational debate.

“You can’t say anything because you know I’m right.” Meanwhile your brain is bubbling over like a robot in a 50’s sci-fi program confronted with a logic puzzle.

One day while I was still I the Army, I was sent out on Rigger Detail. Basically my job was to carry stuff for the parachute riggers, and clean up after them. It was standard detail fair; long, boring, and for the most part not particularly noteworthy.

The interesting part was the discussion we had during my first week. Several of the riggers were discussing how America got its name.

“Amerigo Vespucci”, I piped up.

“What are you talking about?”, asked the rigger SGT.

“The continent was named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer.”

“Noooooo, the Italian Explorer was Columbus”, in that “I’ll speak slowly because you’re stupid” tone of voice.

“SGT there was more than one Italian Explorer. It was named after Amerigo.”

“You’re just making things up because you don’t know. America got its name from the people that were here before the Europeans.”

At this point I am trying to figure out why he thinks that, and am racking my brain trying to come up with any tribe that sounds even close to the word America.

“What tribe are you talking about Sergeant?”

“I’m talking about the Native Americans.”
Pow! Right in the brainpan.
“You can’t say anything because you know I’m right.”

And of course, the other riggers believed that his version made more sense than mine.