Idiots Live Longer!
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
If you value dear life and crave for longevity, the ideal role cut out for you is that of an idiot!
A funny proposition? Not really. The unsavory pronouncement is based on irrefutable research findings from the realm of medicine. Dr. David Donnels of Dunedin University, New Zealand, has proof that people with below average intelligence are likely to live almost six years longer than professionals with higher IQs!
Donnels compares the death rate of 100 professionals with that of an equal number of people with less than average intelligence. His illuminating conclusion: the brainy live for an average of 72.2 years while the dimwits go on to live till the age of 78. The explanation is simple: dull people are not supposed to tax their mind with depressing and negative thoughts.
The classical medical classification supports the hypothesis: a brainy individual is often sensitive under constant stress and prone to anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, and neurotic problems. The thick-skinned, on the other hand, is calm, and demonstrates a higher threshold for stimulation. He leads a charmed life, unruffled by what happens around him. No wonder, his blood chemistry is hardly disturbed.
Here then is some food for thought for the plucky mortals who look beyond the Abe Hayat elixir to prolong rapport with the terrestrial scheme constituting the world. Life is an unmatchable experience, has an enduring appeal. That a successful initiation in the newest art, nay, science, of idiocy can lead to a few bonus years is a tantalizing prospect.
Blissfully the going should not be all that difficult. Some claim there is inherently more of the fool than of the wise in the human nature. Others contend excess of wisdom turns the wise into an idiot! Still others parody:
“Tis a gross error held at schools
That Fortune never favors fools.
So now a few tips to venture into the realm of idiocy.
The idiot act in the office
*Remember, you have come to the office to avoid boredom at home. So relax, for a change.
*Don’t burden your mind with the official do’s and don’ts. Have a casual attitude all the time.
*Your maximum output should approximate the minimum input for the sustenance of the job stopping just short of the inefficiency limit to be booted out. Take regular time off to loaf about in the mall or opt for an afternoon siesta. Good for the pulse beat either way.
*Be on the ready to volunteer for seminars, conferences, workshops and symposia. Deftly avoid the role of speaker, resource person, or scientific secretary. Outshine others in the tea sessions and luncheon gossip. Speak aloud in the crisp BBC accent extolling the virtues of King’s English in willful disregard of the concourse theme.
*Avoid all tasks, which carry a definite deadline. Open-ended or vague assignments should do. Don’t end up as the commonplace drudge who helplessly frets, “I have a very responsible position. Every time something goes wrong, I am held responsible.”
*Follow the boss in a crisis situation. Don’t ever, ever tax your small mind about his observations on crucial or sub-critical issues. Be a good, old-fashioned ‘yes’ man and avoid the brilliant, independent thinking careerist approach. You will come out unscathed - always.
The act at home
One has to revel in a three-role act for a well-serving idiotic relationship with the parents, spouse, and kids.
*From nappies to advanced age, play a goofy - pleased with a rattle and tickled with a straw. Shirk responsibility and act a sloppy boy even if you happen to be a 270-pound bouncing 55-year old.
*Be loud on the lip service. It is words that are remembered not deeds. Gain familiarity with the parents’ medication and keep a few trite remarks ready on the lips.
*Drill home the idea that you are especially phobic to death, burials, qul, disease, doctors and visits to ailing relatives. These chores can best be left for the more sensitive siblings not yet formally schooled in the science of idiocy.
*If your parents are convinced of Shakespeare’s wisdom - “It is a wise father who knows his own child” - and constantly prove you wrong, don’t be disheartened. Some parents compulsively disown their children’s merit like Mr. Bagnet in Dicken’s Bleak House: “It is my old girl that advises. But I never own to it before her. Discipline must be maintained.” Age is on your side. Recognition will come, hopefully, before you are charge-sheeted by the munkir nakirs.
*In your day-to-day dealings, remember that no child has yet been born who wholly conforms to his parents’ expectations. Such expectations, in any case, are not to be taken seriously. They are your parent’s problems, not yours.
*Tend to be a chirpy conversationalist drawing, off the cuff, on the wisdom of Goethe, Iqbal, Wordsworth and Emerson. You could distort passages and messages. This could be helpful in confounding confusion to your advantage. Remember, what Akbar Allahbadi suggests?
Auron ki kahee hui jo dohratae haen
Wo phonograph ki tarah gatae haen;
Khood soch kae hasb-e-haal mazmoon nikal
Insan yunhi tarraquian patae haen.
In your case, matlab should do for mazmoon.
Fooling the Begum
*Play the idiot role with due subtlety. Your spouse can be less forgiving than the indulgent parents in spite of her constant claim to be your ‘mentor’ and guide.
*Be extravagant in your praise in total disregard of Begum’s extra pounds, bulging waistline, and conflicting moods. Such plain talking would neutralize 60 % of the salvos to nettle you. There is inspirational wisdom in the confession of a poet:
Jhoot kehta hoon aur bae khatkae
Kon sach kah kar dar par latkae?
*Idealize Peter Sellers. The Pink Panther streak would naturally follow to the accompaniment of Begum’s sweet murmur:
Aap ahmaq sahee, aap aapnae to haen!
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Azim Chughtai’s Shareer Bewi are good reading to deflate your balmy spirit. Also take regular time off to watch Hasina Mooen’s plays. A wholesome change could be in the offing to dampen your macho instincts, if any.
*The silliest of women can manage a clever man. So it is said. But it takes a very clever woman to take care of a fool. An idiot can play a pranks on the nerves of his spouse and ultimately turns our to be a drain on her intellect. Play it cool, dude.
*Encourage your spouse to spend more time in maekey to allow you a few days to laze away in the afternoons. You could tinker with the old car and give it an extra face-shaving shine. Good for your ego.
*Avoid regular tutoring or dropping/picking up chores. Also resist the helping /changing tedium. It would be a good idea if you develop allergy to cold or hot water or show signs of nausea, giddiness while washing hands or changing clothes.
*Pretend to develop cramps, now and then. They are especially helpful if you are shy of driving. Friday could be a good day for cramps - ideal to avoid weekend outings. Your disc should also be prone to slipping. It is advisable to limp consistently on Fridays. Thomas Tusser had no clue to such a workable stratagem and foolishly placed hopes in the weather:
Some respite to husbands the weather may send
But housewives’ affairs have never an end .
*For serene and soothing spells of hyper-inactivity, play a hypochondriac all the time. Palpitation, nausea, ikhtilaj should be the password.
*Never try to be predictable or dependable. Pick your own time to reach home. Retain the surprise element. An on-time return might win a bonus smile.
*Enjoy feminine rattling writings such as the piece by Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility): “Mrs. Hall of Sherbourne was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright. I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband…”
Coping with the kids
Today’s children are a wondrous lot intent on disproving their parents and proving the age-old maxim ‘Child is the father of man’ again and again. They are curious and clever as Parveen Shakir poetically testifies:
Jugnu ko din key waqt parakhney kee zid karaen
Bucchey hamarae doe kae chalak ho gae
Yet Oscar Wilde’s earlier observations are more relevant: “Children begin by loving their parents. After a time, they judge them. Rarely ever, do they forgive them.” Act deftly. Stage 2 - judgment formation - should be discouraged. Confuse the children with stray ramblings - if you can.
*The happier they are, the less bothersome the children would be. So don’t distract them with queries about their grades, homework, ideals, neatness, or propriety of conduct.
*Don’t ever, ever pass as a role model. The youth’s obsession today is Voltron, and space ‘the final frontier.’
*Have a twelfth-man disposition - sitting on the sidelines and partaking in a discussion when asked to.
*Invest generously in their education but expect little in return. If you have ended up as a consummate idiot after all the sincere strivings of your parents, you should not expect much from your kids either.
These ideas come to mind to venture into the fascinating world of idiocy. It could be a rewarding experience if one were to go by the latest research findings. So why not give idiocy a try for a long, enduring life?