I recently purchased a ticket on The Train to Stupidville. It came barreling by my house and I willingly participated in a string of stupid decisions which ended up with me watching two grown men pushing mountain bikes down a country road in the worst blizzard in 3 decades. I’m curious as to how many really dumb decisions one has to make before being officially labeled as stupid, but I’m closer than I used to be.
The stupidity started when my doorbell rang at 5 in the morning. I sat my coffee down and hurried to the door since the last time the doorbell rang that early, my neighbor’s house was on fire.
Two snow-covered men shivered in the porch light looking like abominable snowmen. I cautiously opened the door to the howling wind and recognized one of the men. Unwittingly, I boarded the caboose on The Train To Stupidville.
These two forty-something ex-cons had been out partying with a couple of girls in a town twenty-five miles away. Instead of staying, they chose to drive forty miles home in a blizzard. Rather than stick to the maintained highways, they detoured through my town and ended up in the ditch.
This is the point where I inserted my self into the checkout line so I could buy a bag of stupid, too.
My first thought is always to protect my family and I, frankly, didn’t want these two guys in my house with my beautiful wife. While I knew one of the men, I’ve learned never to trust anyone high on alcohol or drugs.
I only have a two-wheel drive pickup, but the snow was so deep the car wouldn’t budge, so I loaded them up to take them the remaining fifteen miles into town. They conditions were the worst I had ever seen. I was now the conductor of The Train to Stupidville.
They wanted to go by their pickup so they could get their mountain bikes out of the back. Now, imagine the wind is blowing 45 mph, there is already foot of snow on the ground, and these guys are standing in the blizzard taking the rims off their bikes. No, I don’t know why. I waited. Once they got back in, I asked them what prompted them to drive forty miles in the middle of the night in a raging blizzard and one responded, “Because we’re stupid.” He, at least, realized they had already bought their tickets.
I crept forward in the blizzard judging the surface of the road by keeping equidistance between the faint out-line of the fences. However, I soon turned a corner and slid down into a ditch so deep if the snow had not created a big drift, we would have rolled over on our top.
So we piled out of the truck to head back to my house. Once they reassembled their bikes, we started trudging through the blinding snow for the mile-long journey. I thought of Little House on the Prairie stories of people dying in blizzards walking from the house to the barn.
Imagine the scene: 3 grown men walking down a country road and two of them are pushing mountain bikes. One tries to ride his. I was not that person, although my level of stupidity had descended to such depths even riding a bike made sense.
They decided they would wait in their pickup because they managed to contact a friend who had a 4 wheel drive to pull them out. I walked a few blocks more back to my home thinking they would come by with their friend and pull my truck out of the ditch.
I waited. I never heard from them again and, by the time I was able to find someone to pull me out, they were long gone.
I have puzzled over my reasons for jumping on The Train to Stupidville when it stopped and blew its horn. The only reason that makes sense to me now is this: Fear. I didn’t want two ex-cons who were high on who-knows-what hanging around my house.
I try to learn from all of my mistakes and it actually took me sitting down to write this story to finally understand what ticket I purchased to jump on that merry-go-round. Fear caused me to begin a series of decisions that were disastrous and, given the conditions, were also life threatening.
Most fears are irrational and one irrational decision leads to another. At some point the train of irrational decisions is going to crash. Fortunately, my Train To Stupidville crashed only a mile from the house and I survived.
I’m sure The Train for Stupidville will race down the tracks again sometime wanting me to jump on board. I’m not saying I won’t, but I am saying I’m going to make sure Fear is not the one to purchase the ticket.