December 15, 2000 (Ira Pilgrim)


We went through a period in this country where everybody thought that their kid ought to have a college education. The result was that we got stuck with a whole generation of overeducated dummies. Guys who should be slicing corned beef are mucking around some corporation making dumb decisions. You've gotta have a certain number of people to pump gas and work in the checkout line. If they don't want to learn to read, if they don't want to go beyond the second year of high school, okay, there'll be a job out there for 'em.

Mike Royko, 1987

There are a lot of fools in the world. I know that you're supposed to say "intellectually challenged," but a fool is a fool is a fool. No matter how you measure intelligence or what kind of intelligence you measure, 50% of the population is below average.

I am not talking about idiots, who are really stupid. What I am talking about are people who are intelligent enough to earn money, and a few earn a lot of money, and so foolish that they can be parted from it without much difficulty. These are the people to whom most advertising is directed. Fools constitutes a very large number of people and getting money from them is as easy as can be. The only problem faced by the hucksters is that there are a lot of other hucksters who are bent on doing the same thing and victimizing the same people. The gambling casinos have to compete with the state lottery and sporting event promoters have to compete with other sports and their promoters. The sports people have fixed it so that there are seasons for certain sports so baseball doesn't usually compete with either football or basketball. That will probably change eventually because greedy people can't resist the opportunity to make more money. This, despite the fact that they have more moolah than they could ever spend.

One fool even decided that he could reform education by promoting vouchers and he put a lot of his own bucks into promoting a ballot initiative. Even if the initiative had passes, which it didn't, all that it would have done is put money into the coffers of private and parochial schools. It wouldn't have made any difference in the education system. I wonder what he will do next in order to get rid of some more of his money.

Some rich people decide to go into politics. A few have been successful at acquiring public office and a few haven't. Some have done a good job at it and others haven't. To coin a new saying, "If you're so rich, why ain't you smart?"

It is possible for a person to be well above average in one dimension of intelligence and be a complete idiot in another. I have known people who were considered geniuses in some field who were unable to find their way to the bathroom.

Elvis Presley was a talented singer and actor, but a fool when it came to managing his own life. There are stories of musical geniuses whose personal lives were shambles. The same is true of actors and sports stars. True, most have managed their lives reasonably well, but far from all.

Celebrity can be crippling to someone who doesn't know how to deal with it. It is much easier to deal with failure than it is to deal with success. Failure dooms you to obscurity, which is not very challenging. Success is a daily challenge and has to be dealt with every day. Some handle it well and others don't. It helps if success comes later in life when a person has acquired a bit of wisdom; which is often acquired by early failure. Unfortunately, success rarely comes late in life. Damn it!!

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