Editor's column - Life is good when others wear idiot shoes.
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:35 PM
"An elderly woman is listening to the evening news on her kitchen radio. She hears a report of a car traveling the wrong way on Interstate 5. She quickly calls her husband on his cell phone, because he's driving on I-5 and she wants to warn him of the danger. Honey, she says, you be careful driving, they're reporting there's a car driving the wrong way on Interstate 5. One car! the husband replies. Hell! There's hundreds of 'em going the wrong way out here! That's one my 80-year-old mother told me recently. Mom lives in an assisted living apartment in Tacoma, where jokes like this make the rounds. My mother's apartment mates are of an age at which they've no doubt encountered a few stubborn old codgers who believe everyone else is going the wrong way. The temptation for all of us, of course, is to always see other people traveling the wrong way. Life is a lot more comfortable - downright cozy, actually - when everyone else is wearing the idiot shoes. I don't think we need to look far. For example: There goes those Oak Harbor city councilors again. Whew! When will they ever learn? And those county commissioners: Lord, how many times do we have to go over the same ground? And those people who voted down the school levy - what the heck were they thinking? And those mothers marching for more restrictions on guns. Don't they understand the principal this country was founded on? We all like to put the idiot shoes on others. Take politicians. They're big fat targets who have been known to wear Bob Lanier-sized triple E idiot shoes. Politicians, in turn, are quick to put the same shoes back on the teeming masses. Citizens put the idiot shoes on the police. The cops put them back on the people. The retail clerk puts the idiot shoes on the customer, the customer puts them on the retail clerk. Bartenders serve drinks and idiot shoes. Newspaper editors are especially prone to this everyone-else-is-a-fool syndrome. It's one of the luxuries of my business to get in the last word. It's an advantage as old as newsprint and ink. I suspect, from time to time, the readers of this newspaper will conclude that I am indeed an idiot. I will have to correct this misconception in print. You will remind me again that, yes, you meant what you said and I, the editor of this paper, am quite definitely an idiot. I will have to correct this misconception in print. And around and around it goes. I'm not as wise as the residents of my mother's apartment, that's for sure. I didn't experience the Depression. I didn't live through World War II. I grew up in the 1960s and '70s, a time when I think we can all agree there was no shortage of idiocy. But I've seen enough of human behavior in my short life (maybe it was just living in Island County for the Comp Plan debate of the last couple years) to realize that none of us - Republican or Democrat, young or old, male or female - are immune from acting like idiots.I would even like to take this a step further, and use my newsprint-and-ink advantage to foist upon you a bit of (half-baked) wisdom. And it's this: The only true fools are those who believe everyone else is always wrong. "