A Tribute To Education's Teaching Heroes & Studious Learners

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A Tribute To Education's Teaching Heroes & Studious Learners

The YA Writer's Frustration With Students

For fifteen years I stood in front of audiences of teens and started every talk I gave with the following question/offer,

“What do you want to know?”


“You can ask me any question on any subject in the universe.”

Then I’d explain, “I’m old and famous and have written a bunch of books and I have nothing to lose in answering you honestly — So, let’s go. What do you want to know?”

To me, this always seemed like the safest way to assure that these kids might enjoy and get something out of our time together.

I mean, this way it would be about them, right?

And about what they wanted to hear/learn/understand and not me just standing up there carrying on like some asshole about my fabulous career and genius and my Corvette and houses and swimming pool and gorgeous women wanting to touch the hem of my garments and how fun it is/was to be me.

I’d usually be getting paid a fair amount to be there and to talk as an “enrichment” activity, something out of the ordinary school day of testing and curriculum and what-the-fuck-ever that daily dance involved.

So, again, I’d simply ask, “Whata ya wanna know?”

And this approach wouldn’t, shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone because I’d always tell my hosts before I arrived, and again before I’d start to talk, that my presentation would be based on Q&A, on anything the kids or teachers wanted to discuss.

And here’s the kicker: I rarely, and I mean RARELY ever got anything even remotely approaching a reasonable or intelligent question:

Not from the straight “A” National Honor Society kids.

Not the Special Ed. kids.

Not from the jocks, goths, stoners, suck-ups, bullies, wimps, mean girls, cheerleaders, motor-heads… (You getting the picture here?)

Not from ANYONE, EVER including the teachers, teachers’ aides, cafeteria workers, custodians, coaches, athletic directors, principals, vice-principals, nor any other administrators (school or district) or from any employees or other adults in my audiences.

In other words, at these institutions built for the specific purpose of educating, most of the time, almost always, nobody ever wanted or felt they needed to ask me anything about anything.

Did they think they knew all they needed to know about anything/everything already?

Did they feel that I wouldn’t know or have an answer for whatever it was they asked?

Sometimes I’d get a smart-ass question, actually not so much “sometimes” as frequently.

And I’d joke back and everyone would laugh and the room would loosen up a tiny bit, but not even this would open up the space enough for an intelligent or sincere or meaningful query.

And now I’m sometimes asked by other authors or friends, “Do you miss getting out on the road, visiting schools, and meeting your readers?”

And I want to answer, “Are you shitting me?”

But instead, I say, “Not really,” happy to be asked a semi-reasonable question at long last.

The Theory of Multiple Ignorances: What kind of stupid are you?

Understanding the Modalities of Stupid


Much like Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which in no way shapes this groundbreaking hypothesis, the Multiple Ignorances Theory meets with criticism. Obvious, glaring differences in ignorance should easily guide one to the veracity of the modalities of stupid, yet researchers, psychologists, and all other academics find unusual unanimous agreement, claiming the theory “pseudoscience.” A lack of alternative explanation indicates this unanimous disbelief forms from bias against half-Italian, quarter-German,  and quarter-Native American men of science lacking formal research credentials and experience in necessary education fields, ignoring this author’s work selling term papers to said education system filled with lazy people: discrimination needing attention as a matter of social justice. While this problem is outside the bounds of this paper, the author feels this bias needs mentioning since this paper’s only readership will be academics.


The theory of multiple ignorances posits idiocy variations form from specific “modalities of ignorance,” countering the accepted view of a singular form of stupid. The complexity of human ignorance challenges the paradigm of stupidity often voiced in uncritical generalizations, “dumb as a box of rocks,” or “not the sharpest tool in the shed.” Such singularly focused views of ignorance overlook the vast, diverse, and robust forms of stupidity flourishing in the human behavioral spectrum. Driving this theory is the observable evidence easily viewed in nature but ignored by blow-hard academics. Coincidentally, their bias reflects the Illogical-unmathematical modality of ignorance (see Illogical-unmathematical Modality below).

Ignorance cannot be understated nor distilled in a singular form of stupid as the clear derivations of stupidity force the questions of “not what is stupid” but “what kind of stupid are you and to what degree?” Clearly, all people manifest the stupid modalities with some stronger in some areas than others, such as the racist, creationist conservative who exhibits high degrees of Noninterpersonal and Unintrapersonal ignorance (see Noninterpersonal and Unintrapersonal Modalities below). When ignorance clarifies in the full, diverse spectrum, the modalities of stupid become the only accurate and precise way to describe dumb.

The Modalities of Stupid

The following modalities of stupid are categorized with videos to help evidence these variations using real-world examples.


The modality of unmusicality describes an area of stupidity formed in a lack of sensitivity to sound, rhythm, and tone, often verbally denoted through people expressing, “Christ! You can’t carry a note to save your life!” “You’re giving me a headache, asshole!” Individuals exhibiting high unmusicality cannot sing, play instruments, or even talk in a tone that does not make the skin crawl.

Spatial Blindness

Spatial Blindness is a form of stupidity in which a person cannot judge space and visualize appropriate dimensions. Spatial blindness takes many forms but appears clearly at the macro layer of society in architectural failures. At the microlayer, individuals often exhibit spatial blindness by not reading directions before putting things together. Both layers confound the unstupid with individuals arguing the lack of need to read such directions.


The unlinguistic-illiterate lacks ability with words and language, most often making terrible joke tellers, unskilled writers, and cannot remember events and dates like birthdays. Most notable examples appear as content article writers and bombing comedians.



The illogical-unmathematical person lacks logic, has no abstract thinking, and exhibits no critical thought. People showing high levels of this modality can be identified by surrounding persons, screaming, “You unreasonable son of bitch!” or “What the hell are you saying?” Most notable in those of high illogical-unmathematical ability are the glaring thought contradictions.


The klutzy-kinesthetic intelligence presents as a lack of control over one’s body and inability to play sports and perform movements without having accidents most of the time. Often called “bench warmers” in youth, these people are undaunted by two left feet and press ahead, committing embarrassing feats in front of millions.


Non-interpersonal ignorance manifests in a lack of sensitivity to people’s feelings, moods, race, gender, or the entire person. This modality of ignorance is a vast and diverse form of dumb readily exhibited in most Republicans. While one might think a person of high non-interpersonal ignorance could walk a dog without offending an entire race of people, this assumption proves wrong.


This domain of ignorance refers to unintrospective and self-reflective inability. This form of dumb is the least understood as it is an inward journey of absurdity. The Unintrapersonal gravitate to assumptions and often believe with no good reason that their thoughts are meaningful.


These examples reveal ignorance’s depth and personal obliviousness to one’s stupidity, highlighting the need for modalities of stupid to achieve effective curriculum and policymaking. For instance, teaching stupid people might achieve greater efficacy by taking cameras away from them as well as providing them with honest assertions like, “Don’t do that, dumbass!” None of these lofty goals will actualize until the full spectrum of stupid is realized, stressing the need for continued research.


Gardner, Howard. (2021) I’m just fucking with you Howard

Just Weighing Separator

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash 

Copyright Vincent Triola & Terry Trueman 

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