July 29, 2011
One way to feel smart is to pursue a lifetime of learning. But that’s a lot of work. An easier method is to make the people around you appear dumber. I’ll share with you some tricks for making your friends, coworkers, family members, and spouses (your victims) look and feel like morons.
1. When your victim makes any statement of fact or opinion, look at him as if he’s wearing a turd for a hat. Repeat what he said, but slowly, as if you’re prompting him to see how stupid he is on his own.
2. After your victim utters a statement of any kind, slowly shake your head in the “no” direction and make a dismissive sound such as “pffft.” When challenged to explain your reaction, insist there is no problem, but do so unconvincingly.
3. Pounce on your victim’s every mispronunciation, misspelling, and poor choice of words like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Make sure you dwell long enough on your GOTCHA moment that it creates a lasting memory. (If people try the same trick on you, dismiss them as pedantic.)
4. When confronted with a new but minor task, such as opening an unfamiliar container, most people require a few seconds of thinking and perhaps a failed attempt or two before they work out a solution. If you see someone in this state, grab the object out your victim’s hand and try whatever solutions have not yet been tried, thus making you the successful container opener and your victim the failed container opener.
5. Continuously instruct your victim to do whatever you think he or she is likely to do on his own anyway, e.g. “Don’t step in that puddle.” If you do it often enough it creates the illusion that the victim can’t navigate the simplest obstacles in life without adult supervision.
6. Ask your victim to remember details that no normal human could be expected to recall, such as the exact wording of a conversation that happened a month ago. This method can also be used to frame your victim as a liar.
7. Ask your victim to remind you to do a future task. Pick a time for your request when the victim is distracted or can’t write a note to himself, such as when he or she is driving or swimming. Later, after you remember on your own to do the task, remind your victim of his forgetfulness.
8. Give your victim vague and unintelligible instructions such as “Can you go find the thing I put in the (mumble)?” When your victim fails to find the object, go directly to the correct drawer, produce the object you want, hold it high like Excalibur, and give a victory TA-DA!
9. Steer conversations away from topics you know little about and toward topics your victim knows little about. If the victim tries the same trick on you, excuse yourself to make a phone call.
10. Ask your victim to do a minor task for you. After he or she agrees, add a layer of complexity that will guarantee failure. The initial request might be something simple such as “pick up something from the store.” The extra layer of complexity is that the item doesn’t exist in this dimension.
That’s a starter list. You might have some tips of your own to add.