by Lyle Lofgren
August 21, 2007
[Note: This was the result of a 20-minute writing exercise using two words off a list: idiot and imbecile. Any resemblance between the characters depicted here and persons or bosses, living or dead, is coincidental. For example, I don't normally watch any of those TV channels, but if I do, I don't get nauseated unless it's a talk show. Also, I still have my Algebra textbook.]

I often wondered whether he was an idiot or merely an imbecile. If I'd have remembered my Psych 101 class better, I could have connived to find out his IQ score, and then I would have known. An idiot has a score of less than 60 and an imbecile is between 60 and  80. No, those numbers aren't right — an idiot has a score of less than Y and an imbecile has a score of less than X, where X is greater than Y. If I'd have remembered Algebra class better, maybe I could solve for X and Y: two equations and two unknowns. Too bad I sold both my Psychology and Algebra textbooks. Cheap, too, because the authors published new editions for the new school year.

I tried classifying him by observation. Every Monday, he'd ask me if I'd watched the NASCAR races over the weekend. I never had, because the TV-camera-inside-the-race-car view nauseates me. I watch golf instead, or rather, I listen to golf. I turn down the brightness and sit in front of the set listening to the commentators, because watching the ball flying towards the camera makes me flinch.

"A bad hook, Vern. Did you see where it landed?"
"Looks like trouble, Fred. He's in the deep rough."

I led him on, though, to draw him out.

"Yah. Quite a race."
"That 86-car pileup at the start was really something."

I tried to find out if he watched the TV-rerun channel, too, since I figured an imbecile might watch both, while an idiot would find I Dream of Jeannie too confusing. But I could never figure out how to broach the subject without seeming like a sissy.

And I had to be careful about how I approached the topic, because he was, after all, my boss.