TOKYO — I’m amused whenever I hear people who should know better tell stories about a stupid thing they did.
Put me among those storytellers.
While abroad, I thought about the stupid things I’d done after I read what Kevin Hart, a 44-year-old comedian who ought to know better, did last month in his tango with stupid.
Hart bet his friend Stevan Ridley, a former NFL player, he could outrun him in a 40-yard dash. Remember, now, Ridley was a professional athlete — a running back, no less, not some 350-pound left tackle.
Guess who lost?
Hart didn’t just lose; he came away with pulled muscles in every part of his lower body. He’s in a wheelchair as he recovers.
I feel your pain, Kev. I share your stupidity.
For I played the “stupid game” in Greece last year. My friend Manny, 27, talked me into renting a motorized bicycle on Milos Island. Hesitating a nanosecond, I decided: What the heck!
I forgot it had been a couple of years since I rode a bike and ignored the fact altogether I’d never ridden one with a motor. My rustiness showed.
On the way down a winding road, cars whizzing past me, I crashed. I swear Manny pushed me. I mean, that’s got to be the reason I fell, right? He described me as delusional, because how could he push me when he was cycling in front of me?
I couldn’t answer that one. I think he used some sort of witchcraft.
Well, I had scrapes up and down the left side of my body, and as a bonus for playing stupid, I dislocated my ring finger. I spent two hours in an emergency room.
I forgave Manny for his act of betrayal. I’ll hold a grudge, nonetheless, until he and I make our trip to Montreal next spring. I’ll exact my revenge then.
But the scrapes were my prize for stupidity, not Manny’s. The results could have been worse.
I think back 30-plus years ago when stupidity might have led to more dire consequences.
My college roommate asked me to go whitewater rafting in West Virginia with him and some of his boyhood pals. He assured me nothing could go wrong. He might have had a point. Yet I had to remind myself I couldn’t swim, so if things did go sideways, I’d be up Schitt’s Creek without paddles.
Even now, I think about the request and pat myself on the back for saying no to it. I didn’t want to win a stupid prize, the only thing you can win when you play a stupid game.
Hart played it, and while he lost the race, he did win his stupid prize.
He put it best in an Instagram post: “I got to be the dumbest man alive!!!!”
No, Kev, you’re in a league of dumb men, all vying for that honor. The good thing is we’ve lived to tell about it; the sad thing is we know stupid moments have cost others their lives.
I’m not suggesting, of course, that people should never take risks. Life itself is a risky business. But we must know the difference between calculated risks and outright stupidity. Should any of my friends harbor doubts, just call me and I’ll set y’all straight.