Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fixin' Stupid

So did you hear the one about the Aggie graduate that did something really stupid?...

I am a former highschool cheerleader who graduated from Texas A&M University. Needless to say, I have been the target for many "dumb" jokes for a significant portion of my life. But I have never felt as stupid as I did yesterday.

Let me back up a minute before I begin. (Y'all know how I like to roadmap my stories!)
I am friends with a lot of "coupon queens." They are not like the crazy, mega-hoarding coupon ladies you see on Extreme Couponers, but they are pretty fantastic at finding great deals. Anyway, it has become a recent trick of mine to simply follow all of these afore-mentioned friends on Facebook. At least once a month I will snag a fantastic deal from their page when they post their latest finds. (By the way, thank you ladies for sharing the wealth.) With all due credit to their efforts, time, research, know-how, (and maybe even top-secret coupon connections,) I have clicked my way to all kinds of free stuff like household samples, beauty and healthcare trial items, candy, coffee, snacks...I have even scored a free Victoria's Secret clutch (valued $35) and a free pair of Revlon sunglasses (valued $100.) Pretty stinkin' sweet!

So imagine my enthusiasm when I spotted that a friend had shared a link yesterday for two free tickets to Southwest Airlines. Without hesitation I clicked and began to fill in the blanks provided on the webpage. Name, phone number, email address, mailing
After I clicked the "submit" button I was prompted to run a script to download a program onto my computer. That immediately set off a red flag for me. I'm not gonna beat around any bushes here...I dropped the f-bomb and looked at the web address on my screen. I don't remember exactly what it said (something with smiley in it, I think)--whatever it was, it wasn't Southwest Airlines or any affiliate of the company.
I have always fancied myself a pretty bright person, and cautious at that. I shred every single piece of junk mail I get just because I am terrified that people will take and use my personal information. I have even just mere weeks ago experienced debit fraud, and here I am bending over and giving who-knows-what company all of my personal contact information. As I type this one day later, I will have you know I have already received at least 15 new spam emails to my inbox. I could cry thinking about what they are going to do with my phone number...Sorry Babydoll :(

I was so mad at myself all day yesterday and I spent most of today just being worried sick about it. I was so wrapped up thinking about my stupid mistake that I was just running on auto-pilot and feeling much too self-involved to do any substantial mothering. So sometime around late afternoon I popped in a Dora show for my kids to watch while I continued with my mental butt-whoopin'.

In case you were never fortunate enough to watch an episode of Dora, I will share with you that in about half of the shows Dora--a child who cannot be any older than ten and gets to galavant around the rainforest unsupervised--and Boots--Dora's purple, talking, monkey friend who accompanies her on all her adventures--usually find themselves in a bind--like a giant red chicken about the same size as a 42-story skyscraper is sitting on one of Boots' magic bananas. Boots is always the first to panic. "What are we going to do, Dora? What are we going to do?!" After which, Dora always calmly answers, "Let's stop and think."

Indeed, Dora. We should all stop and think.
(Oh dear. I can't believe that horribly annoying preschool show is what has given me insight into my problem.)

The problem with us crazy-woman-drivers is that we seldom stop and really think about something before we do it. It is not in our nature. We just swerve around cutting people off, blowing through "orange" lights (that's what I call it when yellow turns into red before you finish going under it!) and then have to give the obligatory "I'm sorry wave" every time we get honked at or someone flips us the bird.

The more I pondered this simple truth, the more I realized my failure to stop and think was behind pretty much every foolish thing that had happened to me today.
If I had stopped to think...
-I would not have worn white leggings and then given my son a piece of chocolate immediately afterward--guess whose brown fingerprints are all over mommy's pants?
-I would not have allowed Sammi to wear her "ring around the nosy" gamepiece to the bathroom--where she managed to drop a few rings into the used potty for mommy to fish out. Ewww.
-I have would made sure I had put the remote control back out of Bubba's reach before I left the room--I have just hours ago discovered that "someone" had purchased J.Edgar HD by pure luck of his random button pushing. (By the way, can anyone tell me if it was good? It expired before I actually got to watch it. Ha!)
-I would not have let my kids eat sloppy joes in the living room--I don't think additional explanation is needed here.

You see, you can fix stupid. You just can't be hasty. You have to take the time to (say it with me!) stop and think.

My husband has more patience than he likes to admit to having. (And not just because he is married to a lady who falls for scam websites.) He really is my man with the constant plan--so good at navigating through the roadblocks. That's probably why he's so good at his job. But as quick as he is to make decisions (and the right ones) when it comes to his work or our homelife, he is one of the slowest people ever in the checkout line. Why? Because he stops to ask questions. "Do you offer a military discount? No? Why not?" "Why do you need my zipcode and phone number at checkout? What is your company going to do with it?" "Why do I need to pay extra for the five-year extended warranty? Are you telling me my product is going to break in the next five years?"
People don't want us to stop and think about these things. They want to pressure us to rush through the lines so they can get our personal information (probably to sell to other companies) and pay extra money for services we don't need or forget to ask for a discount we deserve. They are totally taking advantage of the fact that we make stupid decisions when we're in a hurry.

And this is dangerous because it only takes an instant to make a stupid decision that sticks with you--like saying something hurtful, or posting a hateful status update, or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking, or falling for the deal that is too good to be true...crazy to think that one extra instant could just as easily prevent it.

Let's all stop the stupid. Let's all stop and think.

(And in a related note, don't be surprised if in the next few months if you receive a message from me that I have changed my phone number and email address--I wonder if imwithstupid is already taken at yahoo...sigh.)

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