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OUT TO PASTOR: I’m too smart to be stupid

After being married for over 50 years, my wife, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, knows more about me than I know about myself.

At least, that’s the perception I get from her actions.

It must be true when she says something about me, and I won’t challenge her with anything she says. I have a Ph.D. (Pretty Hard Dude) in the husbandology field. I can take anything she throws at me.

Recently we were watching TV, and the news had an outlandish story. Looking at my wife, I said, “I sure hope I’m not that stupid.”

Looking at me, she said, “Well, my dear, my opinion is that you are too smart to be that stupid.”

I did not think I heard what I heard, so I asked her to repeat it.

“You heard me. You just want to hear it again,” she said laughingly.

It was just the beginning of a new chapter, and I wasn’t sure where it was going.

One day this past week, we drove across town, and the traffic was rather crazy. Cars were weaving in and out and racing down the street. Then a motorcycle passed, weaving in and out of the traffic.

Looking at me, my wife smiled and said, “At least you’re too smart to be that stupid.”

With a nod of agreement, I smiled as we continued our journey. I’m not sure what’s happening, but that phrase is ringing in my head like no other phrase I’ve heard before. The fact that my wife of 50 years thinks I’m too smart to be stupid has to have some credibility.

I’ve been thinking of ways to use this to my advantage. I’ve never had such an advantage, so I need to be very careful about how to use it. For example, I need to be able to use it in such a way that The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage doesn’t recognize my advantage.

I was smiling as I thought about this because I would have a great victory if I could pull this one over on my wife. The problem is, if I do have this victory, how can I celebrate it without giving myself away? After all, she said I was too smart to be stupid.

To process my plan, I needed to have her repeat what she said, so as we were driving, I pointed to one driver and said, “I hope I’m not that stupid.”

“Remember what I said,” she chuckled, “you’re too smart to be that stupid.”

Smilingly I thanked her, and we continued driving while I looked for something stupid to call her attention. By the time we got to our destination, I had found about three incidences of stupidity, and for all three, I got her to tell me that she thought I was too smart to be that stupid.

I can’t relay how wonderful it was to hear that phrase. I need to be able to develop more ways in which to hear her say that without showing my hand. I don’t often get compliments like this, so I will try to plan it out carefully.

Just before we got home, we saw someone doing something more crazy than I had ever seen. Not thinking too much, I said, “I hope I’m not that crazy.”

Smiling at me, she said, “My dear, I said you were too smart to be stupid but not crazy.”

At the time, I didn’t quite understand what she was saying, but as I thought about it, I was concerned about what she thought I was doing that was crazy. Now if I was in my right mind, and believe me, I have no mind left, I would ask her what she meant by being crazy.

If I asked that, I was sure she would tell me, and when she told me, I was sure I would not be a happy camper. It’s very obvious through time that her idea of crazy and my idea of crazy are certainly not twins.

I think crazy is something people do that makes them look foolish. That’s what I would think, but then if that’s what she thinks, then she doesn’t think I’m not smart enough to be crazy. As I was thinking about that, my brain went into an ultra-crazy mode. I had to be careful in case some of that crazy seeped out, and my wife saw it.

I thought maybe I could trick her into describing it to me, so I asked, “When have you seen me acting crazy?”

She laughed like I’d never heard her laugh in a long time. At the time, I didn’t understand what she was laughing about, and then she told it.

“Oh my dear,” she said, taking a deep breath, “when you are acting crazy, believe me, you are not acting.”

I had to think about that for a long time. So if I had to choose between “crazy” and “stupid,” my best choice would be crazy.

Later as I reflected on this I remembered what Solomon said. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame” (Proverbs 12:15-16).

I’m going to commit myself to hearken unto some wise thinking to cover my shame.

Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone is (352) 216-3025, e-mail is, and website is

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