I don’t call someone an idiot lightly. But in the case of Doug Brown, I do so with absolute confidence. Calling Doug an idiot is a deeply tautologous act. It’s not easy to encapsulate why or how. He is an idiot in so many ways. Down in the depths of his soul he is densely and profoundly moronic, while up in his airy and carefree moments he is stupid beyond belief. In those very marginal areas of life where Doug is not an idiot, he is insufferable.
Let me give you an example. Recently on a picnic, after I’d carefully smoothed the blanket and uncorked the lemonade, I sat down upon my favorite hand-sewn cushion and said, “Douglas, my good man, would you please pass me a hard-boiled egg?”
You should have seen the look he gave me! What? Had I asked him to slay the Nemean lion? To clean the Augean stables? Am I human? Do I live and breathe? But I refused to panic or explode in anger. I rose calmly above his atrocious behavior and said, “Douglas, there’s a small round plastic container in the hamper with a handwritten label “Eggs: hard-boiled” sticky-taped to it. Would you be so good as to pass it over? Whenever you have a spare moment?” The irony of my concluding remark was completely lost on him and the picnic was over then and there. The lemonade was recorked without a drop having been decanted. On the way home, I hummed tunes that I knew Doug was unfamiliar with.
It’s been, I suppose, about three and a quarter years since that picnic, and I’m certainly not one to hold a grudge. But when Doug recently held a little soiree to celebrate something stupid he’d done, I arrived in my very best clothes, carrying nothing but a dozen eggs in a plain cardboard carton. I arrived very early to make sure of my point, and Doug of course opened the door with a look that could knock the IQ out of a Nobel laureate.
“Put these in hot water for about, oh, fifteen minutes, and they’ll be right as rain!” I said with a breezy cheerfulness, as though I hadn’t ever had a care in the world. “You cook, I’ll peel!” I added, perhaps a trifle loudly, because a dog started barking somewhere. And Doug—dear old Douglas—my loyal old friend who had been there from the start, that cretin to end all cretins, all he could do was stare.
This story was written by Jack Tilley. Jack Tilley works in a chicken hatchery where the eggs are warm and the chickens always in a hurry.