Not a lot of us like radical change. It’s a sort of plunge that takes you from a nice comfortable chair at harborside, watching the sunset, and dumps you into the cold ocean. One second you’re enjoying a beer, and the next, you are gasping as you surface. Not a pleasant sensation.

Of course, the idiot friend that “accidentally” pushed you in is standing there smiling. The grin says it all: “I’ve had too many drinks.”

I learned all about the idiot friend while working as a program officer at a federal agency. I was charged with creating cultural and educational programs for the public. Right up my alley as a practicing anthropologist, one would think. Well, about fifty percent of my staff’s, and my, brightest ideas never made it outside of the office. Why? Because of the idiot friend.

Fantastic ideas for programs would get generated and preliminary planning and budgeting completed. Then I’d go to my legal and procurement specialist, who’d start reviewing the program for liability.

Liability. Ah yes, it’s the idiot friend who decides to trip on the float’s cleat, hit their head on the bollard, and drown in the harbor. After a while, I became an expert in foreseeing the liability objections to specific programs and implemented prudential precautions to prevent them.

There we go, prudential precautions; the idiot friends enemy. Those are the signs that get put up saying that you should not run, jump, operate under the influence, or otherwise do idiot things. But, of course, prudential caution might also be outright canceling something because it’s too dangerous for the public. And that was when I moved from being a field anthropologist creating programs to being an administrator acting as an interface between my staff, their beautiful ideas, and the idiot friend.

The idiot will always be with us:

  • The boat operator that decides to drink and operate a boat at high speeds goes together.
  • The family refuses that to have children immunized for mumps, measles, or tetanus,
  • The two cooing turtledove lovers share an STd that one doesn’t mind sharing with the other.

You get the idea.

It’s one thing when they endanger themselves, but complications always happen, like that time when an idiot rammed into my chair and sent me into the harbor.

You can always watch out for yourself, but the idiot is always waiting to complicate things.

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