Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Welcome to The Stupid Files, a diary of stupid human tricks.

There isn't a day goes by when I read the newspaper and find some human has done something ridiculous. Without doubt, all of us stand back in total amazment at the antics of our fellow beings, and most of us would love the forum in which to point out such human dumbness. I hereby lay claim to such forum.

As much as I am quite happy to write and read my own opinion, this blog will be much richer for contributions, so please don't hesitate to provide your own observations.

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What started this rage, you might ask? Well, back in about May of 2003, fines in my city for various traffic infractions increased substantially. Very substantially. Shortly thereafter, a city resident wrote a letter to our local daily, complaining about these admittedly large increases. His main point was that, if a person racked up $1500 to $2000 per month (yes, he actually said that) in fines, their family would suffer and their kids would have no food.

Needless to say, I was highly amused and amazed that anyone would actually admit (it seemed like an admission to me) they were such an apalling driver that they were paying out huge money monthly to support their 'habit.'

I immediately fired off my own letter suggesting that traffic fines are not a predictable monthly expense and that if that person had such an issue with filling the city coffers, they had only to slow down, obey the rules of the road and drive sober and straight.

I also suggested that they do us all a favour, sell their car and use public transit or taxis, because, given the money they were paying out for fines, it was obvious they were a completely unsafe driver and were putting the rest of us at huge risk by being on the road.

Seriously, isn't it pretty stupid to complain about the city 'raping and pillaging' the poor citizens when the complainer is completely in charge of not paying any fines, simply by obeying the rules of the road?

Here's another good one, according to me: our school system has a partnership with a local transportation comany to get kids to and from their schools. Due to growth in the city, many kids live a long way from their designated school. So at one point, there was an increase in the annual cost of this transportation, from $25 per year to $75, capped at $150 per family, regardless of number of kids in a given family. I was a large increase, but on a per-day basis, amounted to a total of something like 50 cents per trip. Not very costly, and far less costly than city transit, which was, at the time $1 per trip for school kids, or parents driving.

A father wrote in to our daily complaining about this fee increase -- bitterly, I might add -- claiming that such an increase was a huge burden and so on and so on. I did a little research on this particular father, who was part of the parent council at his kids' school (so easy to find out about). I asked one question: was he a smoker. Answer? Yes.

What I find stupid about his complaint is that he was outraged at paying a total of $150 per year to have his children safely transported to and from school five days a week, but had no problem paying $7 A DAY or more (I couldn't find out if he was a one- or two-pack a day man) to support a habit that was neither good or safe for anyone involved.

This is how it broke down: the kids go to school 198 days per year, two trips per day. This transportation includes same time drop off and pickup every day in a warm vehicle. Total cost per child, $75 per year. That amounts to about 68cents A DAY for both kids.

Smoking on the other hand was costing this man at least $7 per day, 365 days a year, for a total of at least $2,555 annually. What I pointed out in my response letter was, that if the father in question were to forgo one pack of smokes a week, he would amply cover the cost of school transporation for his kids and would add a health benefit for him and them.

Why is it people who smoke dare to complain about the costs of this and that when they could easily afford things were they to simply cut down!?? I'm not about to moralise about whether or not people have the right to smoke. It is a stupid habit, with no health, welfare or social benefit, but hey, go wild. Just don't complain.

In my city, the cost of a pack of smokes is now hovering around $9, which equals, give or take, about $63 per week, which equals almost $3300 per year. That's about the amount I paid last year to lease my brand new car. That is also about the amount I spend on my mortgage. That amount is 4 times what I paid to have my daughter in competitive dancing and it is double the amount one would pay out to put a kid into hockey or ballet or any other sport.

Smoking is stupid but complaining about the cost of things when one is a smoker is REALLY Stupid. Stupid people are annoying. Smelly stupid people.... well. 'nuff said.

I will be back shortly. I encourage your rants, raves and contributions!

The Stupid Files.