BIO     CALENDAR     MEDIA     COLLEGE     STORE     BOOK STEVE     BLOG     PODCAST     SUBREDDIT    

FREE ALBUM DOWNLOAD
Get your copy of "Dark Side of the Room" now

Los Angeles, CA      Sacramento, CA      Phoenix, AZ      Louisville, KY      Bowie, MD     
Orange County, CA      Indianapolis, IN      Seattle, WA      Tacoma, WA      Marco Island, FL     
Dayton, OH      Ottawa, ON      Toronto, ON      Toledo, OH      Lansing, MI     



The Column

Don't Get Smart With Me
12/4/05

I was recently told not to get smart with someone. I apologized, and assured her that I was only being smart in comparison.

"Don't get smart with me" is one of the dumbest phrases we use. Well, one of the dumbest phrases people use. I can't say "we" because I don't use it. Making fun of people who say "Don't get smart with me" is the only time I ever say "Don't get smart with me."Of course, the absolute dumbest phrase we use is "believe you me," because that phrase doesn't mean anything at all. That one should be "believe me, you!" unless you're quoting Yoda.

What is "don't get smart with me" supposed to mean? Typically, that's used during an argument in response to the other party making a good point. They should say, "Don't you dare bring intelligence into this in order to combat my circuitous logic!" Or something more their speed, like "I can't unnerstan yer fancy book learnins!"

The phrase is probably intended to mean, "don't be a smartass." But if the speaker means "don't be a smartass," that's what they should say. When that woman I was arguing with said, "don't get smart with me!" I wanted to tell her I wouldn't have to get smart with her if she weren't so dumb with me in the first place. Then she'd have to say, "there you go, being smart again! We're never going to get anywhere if you keep being smart!"

Why are we a culture that prides ourselves on our stupidity? When I changed the name of my column from "Observational Humor" to "Thinking Man," I lost hundreds of subscribers. I'm the same writer, I'm writing the same content, and the mere suggestion that people may have to think to read it scared a few hundred people off. That's almost as stupid as how popular Dr. Phil is.

Yes, trust a fat guy to give you advice on weight loss. After you buy his book, you should pick up the new one from Donald Trump on how to have a successful marriage, or Joe Jackson's how-to on positive methods of childrearing.

Not everyone is smart, and I don't expect everyone to be. There is no one good at everything. But if you are living on your own and smart enough to eat each day, you're smart enough to try to get smarter. Read every now and then - you might actually like it.

There are millions of people smarter than I am. Many of them write to me each week to correct my grammar. Though that shows they're not smart enough to pick their battles. Kind of like me not letting the phrase "don't get smart with me" go.

I know I'm not the smartest guy in the world, so I work at getting smarter. I read when I can, I am always learning from others, and I even do things like crossword puzzles just to keep my reasoning skills fresh. I'm amazed at how seldom my mind is tested after I graduated college. Though every time I have to give back the extra change a clerk gave me, I guess I'm practicing math.

I don't know the perfect solution to this problem. And while I joke about it, we shouldn't actually try to kill stupid people. Though they do have a habit of doing it for us - there's a LOT of dumb on dumb crime.

The only solution I could come up with is to encourage people, individually, to be proud of the knowledge and facilities they do have. And to get more. You know what the best way to learn is? Just pay attention. There's knowledge all around you - all you have to do to get some of it is listen. Which might be tough, with all the dumbasses prattling on in the background. After you turn off Dr. Phil, it will get easier.

But who am I talking to? If you're reading this, you weren't scared by the "Thinking Man" title and you've probably never said, "don't get smart with me." Except of course to make fun of the phrase.

If you're already reading for leisure, you're one of the good ones. So I can metaphorically pat you on the back and be proud that you understand the term "metaphorically." I can also count on you making fun of the next person who says, "don't get smart with me."

Just try not to let it be a cop.

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?