One of the drawbacks of getting older is developing the belief that subsequent generations are somehow stupider. The world becomes more complex, and the people in it become less capable of managing it. Of course, it’s not really a question of intelligence. It’s a question of common sense. In just the last few months, I’ve been collecting squibs about people who, as the popular cat web site would phrase it, just don’t has it.
Better Than Leaving the Newspapers on the Driveway. According to a May article in the Billings Gazette, a Great Falls, Mo. couple posted their travel plans – where they are going and how long they’d be gone – on their Facebook page, and were actually surprised to come back and find that burglars had ransacked their house.
There’s This New Thing Now – They’re Called Passwords. Two reporters at WSYR in Syracuse, N.Y., ended up losing their jobs in a sex scandal. The daughter of one sent an e-mail using her father’s account to all of his co-workers announcing that he was having an affair, and with whom. Don’t most people need a password to log on to their e-mail? Don’t most reporters have sensitive information on their computers? How embarrassing is it to have the world learn that your daughter is smarter than you are (which, of course, disproves the “stupidity of the subsequent generation” axiom)?
Maybe Those Weren’t the Ones You Wanted To Fire. The media recently has been full of news about corporate networks being breached, but few were as highly reported as Sony’s gaming network lapse. One of the big issues about the Sony breach was the amount of time – at least a week – before the attack was announced. It turns out that two weeks before the breach, Sony had laid off more than 200 people, including several that were in charge of … security. (In a related story, a laid-off IT security tech replaced the content of his CEO’s PowerPoint presentation to the board of directors with pornographic images; these are the not the folks you want to mess with.)
Where’s the FAA When You Need Them? This one is just sad. Just last week a sixteen-year-old was hospitalized in serious condition after surviving his second plane crash in eight years. The first one took the lives of his mother and two siblings. The second one killed his father, who was the pilot. I know the old saying about getting back on the horse, but clearly, flying was not a skill the father possessed.
So who wouldn’t read stories like this and conclude that common sense is no longer common? Thankfully, there’s always someone that comes along and restores your faith in humanity’s ability to be wicked smart:
Counties with Benefits. Last month, in the little town of Gastonia, North Carolina, a 59-year-old man walked into a bank and demanded $1. He was arrested for bank robbery and thrown into jail. Why did he only ask for $1? Because he knew that being arrested would also give him access to county medical facilities for which he wouldn’t otherwise be eligible.
Now, that’s common sense. Of course, he is middle-aged. So perhaps the axiom still holds.