Americans lack common sense

David Soler

It’s a curious phenomenon. I’ve been trying to explain it, and I was unsuccessful until last week.

After forgetting my home keys in my office and having to pick my apartment’s lock with my Ohio ID, I found my roommate talking on the phone in her room.

“Didn’t you hear me knocking?” I asked.

“No,” she replied. “Why?”

“Well, I forgot my keys,” explained. “The apartment was locked, and I couldn’t enter.”

“Uh, OK.” And she went back her room.

In this situation, my European friends would have asked, “And then, how the hell did you get in?”

But not the Americans, surprisingly. How come? Maybe they don’t care, maybe they’re too busy? No – they don’t have common sense!

This phenomenon is the one that brought so much might and demise to America. On the good side, the epitome of it led Thomas Edison to inventing the light bulb, a.k.a. electricity. Who on earth with common sense could have done it in the nineteenth century? But on the dark side, we have Edison’s attempt in his last years to develop a machine designed to talk with spirits. Why not? To someone who doesn’t have common sense, either invention makes perfect sense!

Where can we find Edison’s sense in today’s world? I would dare to propose the paranoid style of American politics verbatim of Richard Hofstadter. “But don’t lecture me today,” you’re saying. “Give one day-to-day example.”

OK, dig it. Americans are the most prone to get easily mugged whenever they leave their homeland, i.e. they are the most gullible tourists on the planet. My friend’s roommate got mugged in the stupidest way: shaking hands with a gypsy in Rome’s criminally rigged Stazione Termini.

Want another example? The roses-are-red trick in the famous Ramblas street in Barcelona city. Spanish con immigrants love to push a half-dozen carnations under some Kansas tourist’s nose while another sneaks his wallet. Still unaware of what’s going on, the Americans are left saying “Oh, they smell so good! How much?” For their bravado, in court circuits, those immigrants are called “the carnations.”

As you suspect, the list could go on forever.

Can common sense be learned? I would say no. It is something you have or you haven’t, and for some reason, maybe its absence heaped advantages on the first Indian-fighting colonists. If not having common sense is an American quality, then the top-notched citizens lacking it should be found in the far west states, following the frontier expansion during the Wild West decades that made Americans more American.

In that matter, it’s interesting to find the developments of the transistor in California, the software in Seattle and the atomic bomb in New Mexico. Indeed, not lacking common sense seems to be the ultimate invention tool. Maybe, for the sake of future generations, long live not having it.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].