There are men and there are women
We know there are two kinds of people in the world on this we all can agree. Where we get into trouble is when we try to decide what those two kinds of people are.
To the other person who lives at our house (TOPWLAOH), the world consists of men and women. Women, of course, are good; men are bad.
Everyone, it turns out, has his or her own take on this.
To a member of the clergy, there are the ones who probably will go to heaven and the ones who won't.
The police world sees those who obey laws and those who don't.
Children tend to divide the world into kids and, you know, the ancient ones who cause all their problems.
Social workers probably can't help but see rich people and poor people.
Of course, what I notice when I look around me is this one group over here let's call them the stupid people. And over there, on the other side, are the non-stupid people.
This is often my comeback when TOPWLAOH starts in on men. She will glare at me following a story on the news about a serial rapist or a suicide bomber and ask, How does it feel to be a man?
Or, she may hear about some evil dictator in a Third World country who has executed a whole village of his own countrymen and announce, That never would have happened if a woman were running that country.
And that's when I chime in with my observation that maybe it isn't a matter of men and women, but good and evil, right and wrong or stupid and non-stupid.
Typical reaction for a man, she'll almost certainly reply.
One of my favorite T-shirts, which I bought at the Tigard Value Village (on a half-price color tag, I might add) bears this message: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
What's really hilarious to me is that everybody likes it stupid and non-stupid alike.
I like your T-shirt, a slack-jawed yokel will say pausing from cleaning his fingernails with a Bowie knife, then breaking into one of those combination chuckle-snort eruptions from down deep.
As I have admitted before, I don't consider myself especially smart. I do indeed tend to bounce back and forth from the ranks of the stupid to the non-stupid, sometimes several times a day.
I do realize, though, that there is a small (very small), third group that consists of the really, really smart. I know this group exists because the evidence is all around us. These are the people who gave us television, open-heart surgery, rockets to the moon, etc.
Nobody I know could build build a rocket capable of traveling into space and returning safely to earth or even a working toaster, for that matter.
Myself, I'm doing pretty well just to make myself a sandwich.
As this is being written, Congress is driving the country off a cliff all over that line that was drawn in the sand over the Affordable Health Care Act.
This is where we all say, in unison, that the reason for this insane behavior on the part of our leaders is because there are two kinds of people in Congress.
There are Democrats and Republicans.
There are men and women.
There may be good people and bad people, although I doubt that's especially pertinent to this case.
And there are stupid and non-stupid.
Yes, even in Congress.
Maybe, just maybe, there's a T-shirt out there that covers this, too.
(A former editor for several Oregon newspapers, including the Woodburn Independent, Lake Oswego Review, Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, Mikel Kelly now works on the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune and contributes an occasional column.)