What I Saw: Is our Average below standard?

By Traveller


Over the last several years I’ve seen two stories that summed up our population is becoming less impressive when it comes to intelligence. This story went into some detail about test scores and that ours were lower than expected when it came to global totals. Since reading that story I’ve seen at least two other features saying how our math test scores were much lower than what most educators feel they should be. 


I’ve noticed many examples myself in the last decade of how our fellow Americans don’t seem to be raising the bar of excellence as technology increases, but rather lowering the bar of performance or at least effort to an altitude a grasshopper could reach.  


At first it was very easy to see people’s attitudes who work in lower levels of society from fast food restaurants to retail stores. There was a time many decades ago when most of the population took pride in what they do, even in the lower ranks. In the 1990s it wasn’t hard to find a retail clerk who could count back change to you. But recently I’ve noticed on more than one occasion that employees within upper ranks of management are doing as little as possible to keep their jobs. 


It seems at some point in the last decade, a saying came about, “Fake it until you make it”.  I heard it for the first time in 2017 there bouts and as soon as I did, thought it to be completely ridiculous. If a person fakes having talent and gets hired to do a job that requires it… who is the real dummy? It seems like a simple question, but what I’ve seen on more than one job is, the person who gets the job is a son, daughter or friend of a boss and no formal proof of ability was ever asked for. In other cases it’s not a family member but a contact of a family or social group who gets the job, but again never had to prove what skills they had to do the job correctly. 


In the last week I witnessed something that really surprised me. A vendor was being checked in at a national convenience store when he was giving the store clerk the invoice number and balance. The clerk didn’t understand the amount, telling him she had to see the number in order to understand it to input the data in her device. When did hearing a number become difficult to understand… to the point where you need to see it in order to input it into a portable device?


I waited to speak to the vendor in the parking lot about this and he told me in the last several years he has dealt with this issue about 5 or 6 times. In a short conversation he explained that not much surprises him anymore when it comes to the public in the category of lack of what seems to be common sense. 


When it comes to our society today and whether or not people are using common sense or not, I get the feeling they are more distracted than anything else. I’d like to think people aren’t dumber per say, they just seem to have more trouble staying focused on a task while they are doing it. I could be wrong, but one thing I am sure of. Some people appear to be naturally stupid, while others seem to make an effort.


I have seen plenty of things in the last 15 years that would question the intelligence of a person. I understand that everyone is allowed a bad day, in which they may make a poor choice. But I’ve also seen things that really question a person’s ability. I saw an ATV come into a dealer complaining the engine would crank but not turn over. The owner wanted to trade it in as it was about 10 years old. After a short inspection a family of mice was found living in the airbox. As most comedians would say… you just can’t make this stuff up.


About the Author

Traveller has recently retired and during his time on duty driven roughly 400,000 miles in over 20 states including Canada and Mexico. He has ridden an ATV at 20 sand dune locations and over 25 other off-road trail systems and tested an ATV from every manufacturer as of 2010. He rode 270 miles of the original Pony Express trail with historian, Joe Nardone who re-discovered it.  

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