“Stupid is as stupid does.” One of the most memorable trademark lines from FORREST GUMP, it elicits laughter when said in context of the movie. And there is a gem to be found here as we all do stupid things. None are immune. I know I have. I am pretty sure you have too.

Many of us locked keys in the car.  I even know someone who had them placed in the ignition with the car running when he locked the door. Some of us have left the house in such a hurry that we didn’t notice we had placed our shirt on inside-out during our pre-coffee morning fog. Others have arrived at the airport or the terminal port anticipating a long awaited vacation in some foreign exotic land only to realize the tickets or worse, the passports, are sitting atop the dresser right next to the framed photo of last year’s vacation.

So, yes, stupid is as stupid does. And when we DO stupid things we either laugh, cry, swear, or scream or all of the above. But the deeper meaning of that slogan that was drilled into Forrest Gump’s head by his mother is that she was providing her son a defense mechanism to draw upon when others called HIM stupid.

Because reality is, to call another stupid, especially one who has learning difficulties, is cruel and in no ways or means a laughing matter. It also reflects upon the character of the individual calling another stupid much more than upon the character of the recipient of the remark. We’ve seen the movie. We know how it all turns out. We know that Forrest Gump in his way was the smartest one of the bunch.

So next time you think about calling someone stupid or you hear another called stupid or you hear yourself being called stupid, take a page from Forrest Gump. Learn that appearances often are deceptive and unless we walk in another’s shoes and know his story and strengths and weaknesses the only person who is stupid is the insensitive one who calls another just that—stupid.

Finally, when you hear another being called stupid—send tenderness, understanding, patience, inclusion daily. For if we could do this daily on a regular basis then perhaps in time calling another stupid will become obsolete.


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