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Monday, August 08, 2011

Stupid is as stupid does

This week I read Aron Ralston's book Between a rock and hard place.

Did you know he's quite possibly one of the stupidest people I've ever heard about?

You've probably heard of him too. He's the outdoorsy guy who was hiking alone in Utah and got himself wedged between a rock and a, wait for it, hard place. He hadn't told anyone where he was going when he left for the adventure, just that he'd be in Utah.

Throughout the book, Aron tells of his other adventures, which are also stupid. He gets stalked by a bear in the Tetons, also while hiking alone. He gets himself and two friends stuck in an avalanche that almost takes all their lives. He suffers frostbite in both hands and treats it himself in the kitchen sink instead of going to a hospital. He almost drowns in Havasupi. The list goes on.

I understand that some people are adrenaline junkies and they simply can't enjoy life without taking risks. I get it. What I don't get is how Aron can be so reckless without giving thought to the lives of those around him who stick their necks out to save him when he refuses to use proper judgment. He's incredibly selfish.

When Kev and I discussed the book, he agreed that Aron is one of the dumbest people EVER. Additionally, we agreed that he got what was coming to him when he found himself trapped in the slot canyon. I'm not saying I'm glad he almost died, but I am glad that he was given an opportunity to learn that he is stupid and that he needs to use his teeny tiny brain once in a while if he's going to stay alive.

How can someone who successfully completed a mechanical engineering degree with a double-major in a foreign language be so incredibly stupid? Ralston is an example of the two different kinds of smarts- book smarts and street smarts (aka common sense). He is clearly lacking in the rational thinking department. He loses friends because of it and, ultimately, he loses his right hand.

I can't imagine Kev being as stupid as Aron. I've never had to worry that Kev would get himself killed while rock climbing because he is so thorough. He's the kind of climber who organizes his gear on the floor before and/or after a trip just so he can admire it and take stock of it all. I think he sometimes sneaks into the cellar and sings his gear bedtime songs too. He's just so aware of himself, his gear, and his surroundings. Aron is the exact opposite. He's uncalculated and under-informed about the skills needed to attempt the adventures he plans for himself.

Ugh. He's just so stupid it hurts my brain.

4 comments:

  1. i dont think he's incredibly stupid, although i do think that not telling anyone where he was going was stupid. i think he's incredibly courageous and talented, and an extreme outdoorsman. i think its great he found a good wife and has his own family now. and it was good that he learned his lesson and now always tells people where he's going. so yes, i agree what he did by not telling anyone was stupid, but i think he's awesome.

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  2. I agree with yours truly dear. Yes it is dumb to not tell someone where you go - but I used to do it ALL THE TIME. You're right, it is selfish to forget to tell people where you go, but I don't know if that equates stupidity. Selfish and absent minded are better decriptors. I think you would have to have a lot of common sense to climb the things he did. But my problem with his character is his arrogance. Wow, so arrogant. I guess that goes along with selfish. I do however this his courage is inspiring.

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  3. but he's not that great an outdoorsman! he doesn't know what he's doing!

    yes, he has accomplished some amazing summits, but it's more like he managed to NOT DIE doing those fourteener ascents rather than anything else. i don't think he's dumb just for not telling someone where he was going that one time. i think he's dumb because he doesn't sufficiently train or prepare for his outings (at least prior to the blue john canyon incident).

    his ability to survive the ordeal in the slot canyon is wonderful. thank goodness he didn't die. yes, he has stamina and courage. but it's almost a slap in the face to those who really do take nature seriously.

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