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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Testing for Dummies, for Dummies

(With Opening Day and a spectacular site redesign upon us over at Bugs & Cranks, the content’s flying fast and furious over there.

Me, I’m just trying to keep up in my new digs with posts like Opening Day Quick-Hitters and Hope Sags Eternal at Check ’em out, if you’re so inclined. We’re playing ball now, kids.)

I had a revelation yesterday.

I was talking with a friend, and he was complaining about having to deal with morons on a daily basis. At his office, he said. Out at restaurants, he said. “In the car, on the phone, right this minute, and ” — heeeey, I’m standing right here, dude. Not cool.

“Morons are fine. Society needs morons, so we can have bungee cord testers and marketing executives and radio talk show callers.”

Still, he’s got a point. There are a fair number of morons out there in the world, and they do tend to get in the way of getting any work done, ordering a steak or commuting to the workplace / moron holding pen area. That’s when it hit me.

The revelation, I mean. Not my friend.

The thing is this: Morons are fine. Society needs morons, so we can have bungee cord testers and marketing executives and radio talk show callers. The morons who are clearly morons aren’t the problem. You can usually pick them out by their slackjawed expressions and extended warranty purchases and subscriptions to People magazine.

It’s the morons who don’t know they’re morons that cause all the trouble. These are the people who believe they’re competent and responsible individuals able to make a contribution to society. But when you ask them for directions, they send you the wrong way down a one-way street. If you ask for collated copies of your big report, you get them back upside down and taped together and interspersed with photocopies of assprints. When your table orders breakfast from them, they don’t take any notes — and then twenty minutes later, they shuffle back to ask whether you had the Spanish omelet or the oatmeal.

It was French toast, genius. And now it’s lunchtime. Maybe you should invest in one of those newfangled ‘pencil’ doohickeys. I hear they’re all the rage for the past five hundred years.

The key, I figure, is finding a way to identify these people, these morons-in-waiting, before they have a chance to infuriate you. To that end, I’ve devised a simple ten-part test that can be administered to potential morons to plumb the levels of their ineptitude. Or as I like to call it, their ‘Moron Quotient’ (MQ).

Simply put your favorite pet maybe-moron through these paces, and the truth will reveal itself. Tally up the MQ score, and you’ll know whether you have a ‘normal’ on your hands, or a mouth-breathing helmet-wearing moron. Let’s get to the quiz; note that some scoring options are not mutually exclusive:

#1. Lead the subject to a glass door with a handle reading ‘PULL’. Observe the subject’s attempts to pass through the door.


Subject pulls handle and passes through door on first attempt : 0 points

Subject first pushes handle, then stops to read handle, pulls and passes: 1 point

Subject repeatedly pushes handle, pulling only when told to by passing stranger: 3 points

Subject bonks nose or forehead on door while pushing handle: 5 points

Subject ignores handle and passersby, ramming door with closest heavy object to gain access: 10 points

#2. Ask subject to compose an email and send it to you. Evaluate the message when it arrives.


Email contains proper English, a short message, or simply the word ‘test’: 0 points

Email is written in all-caps: 1 point

Email is sent from an AOL address: 3 points

Email contains any of the terms ‘LOL’, ‘ROFL’, ‘BFF’, ‘OMG’ or ‘WTF’: 5 points

Email printout arrives days later in an envelope postmarked the day of the request: 10 points

#3. Disconnect subject’s keyboard cable from his or her computer. Observe subject’s reactions when attempting to access computer.


Subject taps a few keys, checks cable and reconnects keyboard: 0 points

Subject repeatedly bangs keys, slowing down keystrokes to convince keyboard to work: 1 point

Subject opens computer CD tray and peers inside to determine the keyboard problem: 3 points

Subject gives up and buys new computer to replace ‘broken’ machine: 5 points

Subject requests that Microsoft Vista be installed on new computer: 10 points

#4. Make certain the subject has access to several coins of each denomination. Ask the subject to give you change for a dollar bill. Observe the result.


Subject provides correct change, in any combination, in under two minutes: 0 points

Subject provides correct change, but requires more than two minutes to calculate: 1 point

Subject provides correct change, but must count on fingers and/or toes to make math work: 3 points

Subject cannot provide correct change, and offers more than one dollar for the bill: 5 points

Subject cannot provide correct change, and most of the change is crammed up subject’s nose: 10 points

#5. Place a TV remote control in subject’s hand, with the IR transmitter facing toward him or her. Note the number of ineffective ‘clicks’ made before subject determines that remote is backwards.


Three clicks or less before examining the remote: 0 points

Four-to-nine clicks before examining the remote: 1 point

Ten or more clicks or a change of batteries before examining the remote: 3 points

Turning television on manually and refusing to examine remote: 5 points

Making clicking noises in hopes television will magically turn itself on: 10 points

#6. Ask the subject to open a child-proof bottle of aspirin. Observe the results.


Subject opens bottle, using only hands, without assistance: 0 points

Subject opens bottle, using some combination of teeth, pocket knife or can opener: 1 point

Subject opens bottle by stepping on it: 3 points

Subject swallows pills spilled on floor after violently opening bottle: 5 points

Subject swallows bottle, unopened: 10 points

#7. Place a large uncovered cup of coffee in subject’s hand where wristwatch is worn. Ask the subject for the current time. Observe the subject’s actions.


Subject switches coffee to non-watch wearing hand and reports correct time: 0 points

Subject turns wrist to look at watch and spills coffee on ground: 1 point

Subject turns wrist to look at watch and spills coffee on self: 3 points

Subject doesn’t bother to turn wrist because subject cannot tell time: 5 points

Subject doesn’t bother to turn wrist, but spills coffee on self anyway: 10 points

#8. Ask the subject to recite his or her Social Security number. Note the response.


Less than three numbers reported, or ‘who the hell wants to know?‘ response: 0 points

Four to eight numbers reported before stopping: 1 point

Full Social Security number reported: 3 points

Full Social Security number, birth date, mother’s maiden name and name of first pet reported: 5 points

Elastic lining of subject’s underwear consulted to retrieve personal information: 10 points

#9. Ask the subject to sign his or her name with an empty ink pen. Observe their efforts to write with a non-functional pen.


Subject scribbles a few times, diagnoses problem and asks for replacement pen: 0 points

Subject scribbles many times, bends and/or disassembles pen: 1 point

Subject scribbles a few times, diagnoses problem and asks for replacement paper: 3 points

Subject at any point places the pen tip in his or her mouth: 5 points

Subject attempts to sign name without noticing paper is ‘Transfer Power of Attorney’ form: 10 points

#10. Glue a dime to the sidewalk outside the subject’s home. Observe his or her actions upon noticing the coin.


Subject spends fifteen seconds or less trying to pick up coin before walking away: 0 points

Subject spends fifteen seconds to two minutes trying to pick up coin before walking away: 1 point

Subject spends at least two minutes trying to pick up coin before walking away: 3 points

Instead of walking away, subject returns to home to retrieve hacksaw, pliers or blowtorch: 5 points

Instead of walking away, subject builds home addition to safely enclose coin: 10 points

Final Moron Quotient scoring:

0-9 points: Congratulations! Your friend is a rocket scientist, apparently. Or at least good at Boggle, probably.

10-29 points: Your friend may have a case of mild moronia. It’s nothing a little bed rest and a couple of aspirin — not the whole bottle — won’t cure.

30-49 points: Your friend’s idea of cerebral entertainment is probably watching Jackass with the closed captions in Spanish turned on. Not a subject I’d trust with sharp objects, children or cash.

50-75 points: I’d be shocked if your friend isn’t wearing a padded helmet right now. Or buying useless crap from a TV commercial. Or playing the lottery. And possibly all three.

70-99 points: There are rutabagas smarter than your friend. Actual, honest-to-god rutabagas. And rutabagas don’t even wear wristwatches, or register for Social Security. Pitiful, really.

100+ points: I’m a firm believer in evolution. But if your friend with this kind of score is still out there, stumbling and grunting and drooling around, then I’d be willing to admit that Darwin just might be wrong. Or at least asleep at the wheel. Get your friend a strait jacket, something shiny to play with, or a job in marketing, and get the hell out while you can. There’s nothing more you can do now.

I hope this handy guide can help you identify and successfully avoid the legions of knuckle-dragging slope-browed morons out there. And hopefully, if you take the test yourself, you won’t score too highly. Frankly, I’m sure you’re fine — I mean, you’re here, aren’t you? Just visiting this site shows remarkable wisdom and savvy on your part. No doubt you’re outrageously attractive and highly successful, too. Of course.

As for my score… well. Let’s be honest. I’m not taking the full test, ever. I once sat for three days with a flipped-around remote, trying to get the TV to work. It’s probably a good thing my wife has power of attorney already. And she always knows just what to write on my underwear. Ooh, look — something shiny!

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “Testing for Dummies, for Dummies”

  1. Shawn says:

    You have done society a favor by creating this test. I am going to campaign tirelessly until this test is mandatory for anyone considering procreation.

  2. Pamela says:

    Too funny, I must use this test on everyone at work, at play…

    I will join the campaign!

  3. kerry says:

    i’m not sure i’d pass this test anymore since i had kids…

  4. Mike says:

    Faithful reader from Canada. This and the rest of your ramblings, thoughts, observations are absolutely entertaining. -Mike

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