Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge: I is for Idiot by Matt Posner

It's that time again!!!  Unwritten and some 1000 other blogs participated last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Just like last year, I've opened up the blog to host 26 fabulous writers, with each day of the challenge representing the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. I've asked each writer to focus on something that is personal to them, so we can learn more about each other. 

Please check out some of the other blogs in the challenge here: 


I is for...Idiot 
by Matt Posner

The term idiot used to be a scientific term, and referred to people at a certain subnormal IQ level. The other two such terms, in descending IQ order, were moron and imbecile. Now we use all these words interchangeably to refer to people whose actions and behavior are, in our minds, not what an intelligent person would do. A person who weaves in and out of traffic at a high speed, recklessly pursuing advancement, even when approaching a red light or a knot of slow-moving vehicles, could be called an idiot, moron, or imbecile (or lots of less scientific terms). A person at work who tells us to do something whose purpose is obscure, or something that is not in our job description, or something that we know will not work, is likewise an idiot, moron, and imbecile. And so is the rude person in the department store, whether the clerk who is slow, socially awkward, and mistake-prone, or the fellow customer who barges in front of us through some form of pointy-headed unawareness of the presence, needs, and priority status of others; and so is the family member who tells a story to our disadvantage; and so is the literary agent who declines to represent our books, or the editor who doesn't understand the intent and makes unacceptable changes; or the artist whose style does not match our sensibilities; and so is the politician whose expression is at odds with common sense or common decency as we define them. (These days, what politician does not fit this category?)

We can call ourselves idiots from time to time, in response to mistakes we make whereby we inconvenience ourselves; but this is temporary. Overall, we are always okay.

We don't so much use the term for vicious or evil people, because it isn't strong enough for them. In general, we use it for people whose blunders make our day worse, whether for practical or social reasons. We don't apply the term to murderers, traitors, or warmongers, or even to thieves, swindlers, or dishonest bankers and corporate types. Rather we apply idiot to the teacher who gave our daughter a C in conduct; or to the youngster loudly reciting rap lyrics on the bus to work; or to the slurring drunk trying to cozy up to sober women in late-night venues; or to the truck driver who blew his klaxon only a yard from the back of our cars; or the store employee who changes the price at the last moment; or the well-muscled young man who stole the subway seat from the slower-moving pregnant woman; or the plumber who came two hours late and then left again with the work unfinished and clutter all over the bathroom floor; or the intoxicated teenagers shouting outside the bedroom window at 1 AM when we have an important meeting the next day; or the unshapely woman whose black thong we can see through her white pants.

I hope you enjoyed my article. If not, then you are...   well, never mind.


Matt Posner is the author of the School of the Ages series, about a magic high school in New York City, and the co-author with Jess C. Scott of Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships, an advice book for young people. These books are sold at Amazon and many other venues.

Matt is a reader-friendly author who can be contacted at


  1. Well, most of us go through life being called the 'I' word a time or two. God only knows how often behind our back.

    I enjoyed your post, Matt. Nice humor piece.


  2. Good post Matt. I suppose we all have our own idea of what an idiot is ad you hit the nail on the head for most of them. LOL

  3. Ah, idiots. They're the ones I describe as: The wheel it turning, but the hamster is dead. :)


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