Every actor, under normal circumstances, wants to play the pivotal hero’s role in a movie. Few people want to play the fool (see how little competition Jim Carrey has verses the sort of competition to be the next James Bond).
But it’s not just actors; we all feel the urge to be clever and impressive in the presence of strangers, to leave a lasting impression.
One of the cleverest breed of people I know likes to assume the persona of a fool but amazingly manage to get very clever results from other people — like that boss who seems to suck his subordinates’ brains like a mosquito sucks blood from its victim — mercilessly.
The boss appears to know nothing about what he wants done, always asking what you think should be done about a particular situation and then seeming to always agree with you.
Make no mistake, he is no fool. Even before he asked you what you thought should be done, he already had the answer, but he understood that the average human wants to be clever.
He makes you think you came up with the solution, therefore putting you under pressure to come up with other ‘clever’ solutions because, well, you need to do that because the boss has no idea... or so you think.
Behind his back (they are usually men, women are normally too proud to do this), everybody whispers about his lack of initiative; some might suggest how he must have bribed his way up because, clearly, his dimwit brain did not get him there.
Be advised, he is no dimwit. He has more brain matter than everybody in the company combined! He has mastered the art of reverse psychology. He knows that average human being is a show-off, and that all they need to egg them on is somebody who appears to be less clever.
I recently had my opportunity to prove this theory; I am not afraid of technology, but I certainly cannot claim to be techno savvy. My mind switches off whenever I try to ‘keep up’ with technology, and I always feel like it is time for a nap when people start discussing ‘apps’, a word I use as often as the word ‘dichotomy’ (try looking up the definition of that word, most confusing).
Armed with my limited knowledge of technology, and a piece of paper with specifications written down by dear husband, I walked into an electronics shop to buy a laptop. What I thought would be a straightforward business deal turned out to be a session with the CID — questions which filled my brain with water.
My piece of paper with specs didn’t seem to impress the attendant; he barely looked at it as he asked questions that made as much sense as the definition of ‘dichotomy’. The attendant reminded me of a Japanese robot designed to ask un(necessary) questions, so in a huff, I walked out into the next electronics shop (aren’t they a dime a dozen, these shops?).
If the attendant in the first shop was a Japanese robot, the second one was its bad imitation. I quickly walked out and into the third shop. At this point, I had learned my lesson well with the two attendants, that either they could not read (neither bothered to check my written specs), or they couldn’t be bothered to because then they wouldn’t look so clever.
With the paper tucked away, I engaged my reverse-charm offensive aka reverse psychology, explaining that I knew nothing about computers, but I needed one that could do a,b,c and d. Oh, the radiant smile on the attendant’s face as she informed her colleague that I needed help because I knew nothing about computers.
Within two minutes, I had four attendants knocking each other out to say clever words affiliated with computers, words that sounded like Greek to me, but I smiled encouragingly, amused by the ‘woie she knows nothing’ look on all their faces.
Ten minutes later, I walked out of the shop a very amused and satisfied customer, and with a new resolve, that in future, I will be assuming my dumb persona and have everybody do the thinking for me. So much fun.