Tom Hanks uttered this famous saying in his role as Forrest Gump. It means that if a person, even a smart person, does stupid things, they're stupid. In other words, you are what you do.
My ex-wife Linda fought this battle with her parents her whole life. I remember hearing her mom tell her on many different occasions that she was just stupid. So she spent her whole life while they were alive trying to prove them wrong.
She was a high school and college cheerleader. She was president of her sorority. She was named one of the 10 most beautiful women on campus. She achieved a bachelors degree, a master's degree and did substantial work on her Ph.D.
She was named the outstanding kindergarten teacher in Oklahoma. She married me and we had and raised three wonderful boys.
But as far as her parents were concerned, it was all to no avail. She was convinced they went to their graves still thinking she was stupid.
That's a heavy burden for a child to endure and she did what many of us would do. She worked her entire life trying to prove them wrong but, at least in her own mind, she failed. On the other hand, some people don't work on it at all and that's even worse.
We see this today in our messed up world of politics where both sides think the other side is stupid, so they pay their ideas no mind. Neither side is willing to move toward the middle or compromise for the good of the country. They've drawn a line in the sand and they're not moving. It matters not what kind of effect this has on the country as a whole because they're more interested in getting re-elected than they are in serving the people who elected them in the first place. That's stupid.
We see people make the same kind of mistakes every day. The person who was placed in jail because of a break-in he committed at J.C. Penney's in McCook writes a letter from his jail cell threatening to kill the President. As if he could. Now he's looking at a much longer sentence than the one he was serving. That's stupid.
Young people come to college and instead of preparing themselves for their lives as adults, they skip classes, sleep through classes, don't become involved, don't study for tests, don't do their homework and end up failing their courses. That's stupid.
People get second chances to get their lives in order. They're in bad relationships and they have a chance to get out of a bad relationship and into a good one but they don't.
They've been in it so long, they know what to expect, even though what they expect is more bad than good. They're afraid of change, even though that change might set them free and make them happier than they've ever been. That's stupid.
People have an argument or a disagreement with their good friend, maybe their best friend, and instead of apologizing and attempting to patch things up with them, they convince themselves they were right and the other person was wrong. So they dig their heels into the sand, refuse to budge and because they won't, a meaningful friendship is severed forever, even though the number of true friends most people accumulate in a lifetime can be counted on the fingers of one hand. That's stupid.
If you'll put your mind in gear, I'm sure you can think of many more examples of people making similar mistakes and, sometimes, those mistakes change people's lives forever.
Forrest Gump was right. Stupid is as stupid does.