The Mission To Eradicate Stupid

Have you ever gotten yourself dead set on a mission? A case where you find it near impossible to give up doing something?

I know I have. It generally involves a disagreement with a number of people on the Internet, people who seem to all be making the same error. And I take it upon myself to correct them all. To stamp out the error.

After a while, though, I realize I may be embarrassing myself. I start to feel like a fish on a hook, and all the stupid or erroneous is just drawing me in. I end up a sucker.

The solution, ultimately, is to admit I can't win.

It's also to admit that I've been fixated on a particular goal, and I've stopped paying sufficient attention to other things which require attention.

I'm reminded, here, believe it or not, of Dr. Death.

As portrayed in the NBC series, Dr. Christopher Duntsch is a man who lives by committing to missions.

His first mission (as a young man) is to succeed in football. But he's terrible at it. He confuses his left from his right, and he always gets tackled. But he just keeps trying, without getting better.

Later, he gets into a wrestling fight with his friend Chris Beton in the locker room. Beton keeps pinning Duntsch on the floor, but as soon as Beton lets Duntsch get up, Duntch launches another wrestling attack. This happens several times, and the scene finally ends with Beton pressing Duntsch's face to the floor, saying emphatically and sympathetically: "Stop! You can't win. Stop f***ing trying."

Later, his mission is to be a neurosurgeon, but he is dangerously incompetent. Still, aided by his intelligence and his impressive salesmanship, he persists, and persists, regardless of how many patients he harms.

Those who hire him, on seeing the problem, do their best to hide their own error, passing him off to other hospitals without saying a negative word about him.

Duntsch is a man who will not stop as long as he's allowed to continue, no matter how bad he is at what he does. He's a man who thinks he's bigger and better than any obstacle. He will not admit defeat, especially defeat at his own hand. According to him, whenever anything goes wrong, it's someone else's fault.

With his silver tongue, he's quite capable of convincing potential employers that he's right. And so his horrible attempts at surgery continue.

Dr. Duntsch never hears the words of Chris Beton.

We're better people than that, aren't we? We can stop being foolish before we've lost everything, can't we? We can admit an error, and reverse it. We can ignore the siren's song, sweetly telling us "You are right. You can win. You can save the world from stupid."

Commitment is valuable, but dangerous. If you commit to the wrong thing, you become a threat, or at least a nuisance.

To commit to eradicating stupid is to become another form of stupid. Stop. You can't win. Stop f***ing trying.


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