Stupid is what stupid does

The following post is based on actual events as it would be impossible for me to make this up, even if I tried.

A few years ago I was having a very masculine apple martini in a sky-bar, as the sun was waving goodbye to Manhattan.  It was a bucket list thing.  I blame my choice of drink on the spirit of the Big Apple possessing my soul at the time.  I’ve just finished my stroll down 5th Avenue, popped into bling-central, i.e the Trump tower, as I felt very sophisticated and shit.  But the sheer volume of gold and mirrors in that place provides an unnecessary opportunity of seeing yourself in reflections everywhere, shattering any self-worth you might have had prior to entry.  Hence, my need for a drink.

So there I was, sitting on top of a skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan, with my best I’m-not-a-serial-killer-just-travelling-alone expression, hoping I wasn’t going to be arrested.  Most people don’t like chatting to strangers, so I did what I always do on business trips,  which is sit in a corner and mind my own business.  Fortunately for me, the view from my table was breathtaking.

I have a wife, so I know I don’t look like the Elephant man, but imagine my surprise when the blonde waitress started speaking to me as she brought me my second drink. I tried channelling James Bond, whilst drinking an apple-martini through a straw with a t-shirt, denim and sneakers.  I unhinged the huge camera from my neck and placed it on the table.  Very cool.

“Where are you from?” she asked in a somewhat friendly, god I hope this increase my tip, kinda way.

When ordering drinks in a foreign country, there’s no way for a South African to hide his accent, which appears like a neon sign, flashing on your forehead, every time you open your mouth.

“South Africa.”  I said, trying to get rid of the straw, which was poking me in the nose.

“Wow, like seriously, Africa.  I would really like to go there one day, you know.  Like it’s all wild and stuff.  Like really awesome.  Which country in Africa are you from?”

She didn’t even blink.

Neither did I.  I was transfixed, realizing I was having a one-on-one with stupid.  I remembered stopping mid-sip, my lips glued to the cocktail glass, staring at her, whilst she looked back at me with the most sincere expression ever recorded by man.  Just to confirm that she wasn’t kidding.

“Excuse me?” I asked, trying my best not to come across as condescending.

“I said, like which country are you from? Like in Africa.” Ironically her tone of voice was wrapped in an aura of are-you-deaf-or-stupid.

“South Africa.  I’m from South Africa.”  I tilted the content of my glass, wondering if I was being drugged.  Or worse.

Blonde bimbo released a deep sigh, and then something in her facial expression changed, probably regretting the conversation.  As was I.  Then she revealed the full extent of her ignorance.

“I know, like I heard you the first time.  But I meant like, which country in like the Southern parts of Africa are you from?”

Normally I have a million comebacks ready for fire.  However in that moment I was too stunned to react properly.  I couldn’t believe what she was asking.  I must have looked like the kid who caught his parents red-handed playing Tooth Fairy.

After a minute or two I managed to regain some composure, without laughing in her face, and proceeded with my lesson on Nelson Mandela and him being the president of a country on the Southern tip of Africa, which is actually called SOUTH AFRICA.  To be honest I wasn’t sure if my information was sinking in or if I was just wasting ten minutes of my life.

In her defense, she did seem moderately intrigued and her eyes only glazed over once.  When I finished my drink, she offered me another one, which I declined, a little too quickly.  I paid and left.

There’s always a chance of stupidity becoming contagious and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna risk it.

30 thoughts on “Stupid is what stupid does

  1. Bahahahaha! The ignorance of some people is astounding to me at times!

    We had a similar experience at the Citadelle in Quebec City, a historic military fortress which his over 300 years old. As the young historian stood describing some of the battles that had taken place there, he explained how long it took the men just to load the cannons. He then went on to describe how far the cannons could should out over the walls of the fortress & into the waters below. After his history lesson he politely asked if anyone had any questions.

    An American woman raised her hand & without a word of a lie she asked, “do you still use the cannons?”

    Now, I know we Canadians have been accused of not having the most up to date equipment when it comes to battle but seriously? It took every ounce of Canadian good manners for me not to look at his woman as say, “ARE YOU F&%$ING KIDDING ME?” My husband & I had to walk away for fear of bursting into hysterical laughter. The young tour guide was much more gracious & although, I am certain that went down as one of the most stupid questions he was asked all summer, he simply responded, “No, we have more updated equipment these days”


    • America has apologized for our stupid vacationers on many occaisons. We, on the west and east coast, also feel your pain. They come to see us too, replete with fanny pack and in-the-way-itis. Also, it is taught in school that we live in the greatest and possibly only country in the world. If you were really stupid, as these people are, you could have come out of school with no understanding that other countries exist except to make stuff for us. And that we’ve never lost a war. Ha! And that ours is bigger than yours- no matter what.


  2. In her defense:
    1. South Africa is a pretty boring country name compared to, say, Mozambique. They could have put a little more thought into the name if they wanted it to be clear that it wasn’t, ya know, just the southern part of Africa.
    2. South America. That’s not a country, Mr. Smart Guy.


    • As per point 1, the name of our gorgeous country is actually the Republic of South Africa, and 2, that’s correct, but the blonde waitress probably thinks Mexico is one of the states of your ginormous country.

      All in all, I loved my trip in the US of A, especially New York. And the waitress was the only “ignorant” person I met.
      Oh then there was this guy who was surprised to learn that there were still a few white people who lived in the RS of A.


  3. DUMB AND SKANKY! Great post. So dumb she couldn’t even accept “South Africa” is your home and move on.
    Oh My God, she was hitting on you because you have a sexy south african accent and she hails from “nawth Joisee” I love it.
    If you live here, NY Metro, you’re whole life you have (no doubt) acquired one of many ugly terrible accents, and will try like hell to find men who do NOT share that particular quality. She’s dumb AND skanky! love it.
    (Just BTW– I do NOT own a north jersey/5 boroughs accent. Except when I’m mad, and I try to stay calm. I try very hard… nobody wants to hear that.)

    Still laughing. Love it, you sexy south african foreign dignitary. LOLOLOL
    (Not that you’re not sexy, I woudn’t know. The LOL was for me.)
    I apologize for all my undereducated and impolite brethren. We can’t help it.


    • I didn’t think she was hitting on me at the time, as I’ve been happily married forever. And maybe I should’ve mentioned that the sky-bar wasn’t packed at the time of me drinking an apple-martini with a straw…

      I’ll walk away from this comment thinking she was, in fact, hitting on me…as it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?


      • You should– although when I wrote that comment I had forgotten the camera and straw. Still, it does have a nice ring to it.
        I’ve been married and been hit on twice of late. It’s not like you’re dead, you know.


      • Yes, I know, it’s a figure of speech. One that I’m regretting already, but don’t worry, most of the ringed pigeons I know here in South Africa tend to stay grounded as well…


  4. Ha ha ha. First, I’ve had many very masculine apple martinis. I find they’re very effective at increasing my testosterone levels as required.

    Whenever I’ve had a visit to the States, someone always asked where I was from. I’d moved a few times to different provinces in CDA, so I would answer with the current province. I don’t think there was a single visit where the response to that answer was met with either the comment that they’d never heard of that state or to ask which state that was in?


  5. Here is what I know about RSA: Nelson Mandella is no longer President, the Springboks are good but not good enough to beat NZ, penguins live there, Rodrigez is the most famous singer in RSA’s history, people there talk funny in English and speak some other strange language, Mel Gibson killed South Africans in Lethal Weapon 2, and there is good surf.


    • I’m impressed, you know pretty much for a guy from the North, but I would like to expand your current knowledge, just slightly, if I may.

      Nelson Mandela is dead, the Springboks play impressive rugby and haven’t beat NZ YET, but we will, we do have penguins and a few lions, white and black rhino’s (it’s not a racist thing!), cheetahs, leopards and herds of buffalo, commonly known as the big five, along with a million other different buck species. South Africans speak English, not American as well as Afrikaans and a wide array of other black African languages (9 in total). Mel Gibson is a dick and we have GREAT surf.

      And then you forgot to mention our fabulous red wine and the most tender steak you’ll ever eat. Combine that with biltong and sipping Amarula cream around a bush fire, watching a crimson sun setting in the African sky whilst listening to Hyenas laughing somewhere close…

      In short there’s no better place on earth.

      Consider yourself informed. It’s my pleasure. 😉


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