The title of this post comes from one of the really stupid things a former housemate said…
“He’s got four feet, doesn’t he?” I replied after he shouted at me.
“Yeah. So what?”
“That’s what quadruped means — four-footed. It isn’t an insult. It’s like saying a human is a biped.”
“No!” Housemate fumed for a moment; he did that a lot. “Why do you even know that? It serves no purpose for you to know that!” That was one if his favorite complaints: It serves no purpose for anyone to know that.
I don’t like people who think there’s something wrong with having an education, especially people who are educated themselves but think ‘knowing stuff’ is bad. Housemate was — hypothetically, at least — educated; he had already attended university for a few years and was continuing to take classes. He was intelligent, too (although you’d never know it from how he acted most of the time). That could have been part of the problem: I didn’t seem like an idiot compared to him. Suddenly, life was not fair! How dare fate give one person both above-average height and more brains than a slightly dead hamster? Tall people are supposed to be stupid, because Life Is Fair. Smart people are supposed to be ugly, because Life Is Fair. Guys who are shorter than average are supposed to be… exceptionally endowed and popular with women, because Life Is Fair.
I violated his worldview just by existing. (That happens a lot, I’ve noticed. I think it’s funny.)
“Tell ya what,” I said to him, “I promise never to call you a biped. Okay?”
It took him the better part of a week to realize he’d been insulted.