Odd ducks and other base canards

Sometimes you just want to scream:

I’ve lived in Oklahoma for more than a decade now. Almost everyone I meet is pretty nice. All of the Okie bloggers I read seem like nice, decent, perfectly normal people. But, of all the places I’ve lived, Oklahoma definitely has the highest percentage of people whose lives qualify them to be on the Jerry Springer show. (Full disclosure: I’ve only watched Jerry Springer once, when I was trapped in a waiting room where they had it on.)

I don’t know these people — I don’t actually know many people at all — but I often hear about them. They’re on the the local news almost every night and I hear about them from people that I do know. I have to drive past their homes and see the trash in their front yards and I have to overhear their bickering in the grocery store. This weekend a person whose identity I will not reveal was telling a story that sounded like an episode of Jerry Springer and I found myself saying (again) “What the hell is wrong with people in this state?”

I suppose I could argue that California has a higher proportion of misfits, but they don’t get on the Springer show because of language issues: either their English is not good enough, or it’s too good.

Still, just about everybody I know around here knows someone who knows someone like that, so it’s not like Lynn’s imagining things. The list of offenses:

But really, whether it’s here or somewhere else, what the hell is wrong with some people? Why do some women continue to live with unemployed boyfriends who treat them like crap? And why do some men act that way? Why do some women leave their small children with people they barely know so they can go out drinking and gambling? Why do some people have practically full scale wars with their neighbors over petty nonsense? And while we’re at it, why are there so many people who simply can’t be bothered to pick the trash up out of their front yards? I swear sometimes I just want to start grabbing people and shaking them.

I offered this as an explanation, but it’s probably too facile to serve as a proper hypothesis:

I think it’s an inevitable consequence of advancing technology: used to be, really stupid people got killed before they had an opportunity to reproduce. Now they survive, and spawn, and the cycle repeats.

Alternative explanations are herewith solicited.


  1. McGehee »

    9 July 2008 · 2:43 pm

    No, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it.

  2. Tat »

    9 July 2008 · 2:57 pm

    I suppose I could argue that California has a higher proportion of misfits, but they don’t get on the Springer show because of language issues: either their English is not good enough, or it’s too good

    Do you mind if I print it in gold, laminate it and produce every time someone tries to compare the whole world (unfovarably) to Calif?

  3. localmalcontent »

    9 July 2008 · 3:23 pm

    I can go with the advancing technology theory you posit; or good, old-fashioned karma.

  4. Margi »

    9 July 2008 · 5:00 pm

    No alternative springs to mind, here. I think you’re pretty much explained it.

  5. fillyjonk »

    9 July 2008 · 5:20 pm

    Perhaps it’s also a function of the fact that there are lots more people in the world now. So, if, say 1% of the human population is dysfunctional in a major way, that means that, say, at the time of Christ, there were 200 million people in the world (or so estimates go), meaning there were 2,000,000 seriously dysfunctional people (and probably a more than few in the Roman bureaucracy, I’d bet). Today, with six billion (give or take), there are 60 million – 3 million in the U.S. alone.

    I suppose this argument falls apart a bit for Oklahoma seeing as we’re one of the less population-dense states. But I guess I take comfort in assuming the proportion of seriously screwed-up people is about the same, but there seem to be more because there are just more of us.

    Of course, I’m pretty good at avoiding them, except when I travel. Or get in the checkout lane at the grocery.

  6. Jeffro »

    9 July 2008 · 8:38 pm

    I think you’ve nailed it as well. It’s not just OK, either – we’ve got plenty here as well.

  7. Jeff Shaw »

    9 July 2008 · 9:22 pm

    Nitrites, Velveeta, kerosene heaters without proper ventilation. Oh, and whatever they put in those Top cigarette papers. These are a few of my favorite things.

  8. Mark Alger »

    10 July 2008 · 8:24 am

    Why’s it too facile? Seems dead-on target to me.


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