Too stupid to live

“Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”… Albert Einstein

I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately. One I was reading was really enjoyable – until the main character did the unthinkable, an action whereby I decided she was *too stupid to live* (TSTL). Of course she did and by the end had managed to solve the murder. Unfortunately by then the book had lost its shine for me.

I’m sure you’ve all read stories where one of the main characters has been TSTL. You know, where the heroine meets the suspect in a dark alley, without a weapon and hasn’t told anyone where she is?

I think the only thing that keeps me reading in a TSTL book is the fact that I’ve read about a lot of recipients of the Darwin Awards. Named after Charles Darwin (the father of the theory of evolution) the awards commemorate people who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. There really have been a lot of people who have been TSTL.

Take the case of the bank robber who decided to rob a gun shop, full of firearms customers after having to walk around a marked police car parked at the front door. Inside the uniformed officer was standing at the counter. When he saw the officer the wannabe robber announced a hold-up and fired a couple of wild shots. The officer and store clerk returned fire (several customers also drew their guns) – and the robber was removed from the gene pool.

Or the case of Matthew who decided to steal the yellow foam cushion safety protection from the legs of a ski-lift tower (designed to protect skiers who hit the tower). He used the foam pad as a makeshift sledge on the ski run, crashed into the legs of a lift tower – the one he’d stolen the safety protection from – and died.

If you want to read more Darwin Award recipients you can read about them here.

Even so, just because it happens in real life doesn’t mean it should happen between the pages of a book – not unless you are wanting to kill off a character.

Have you ever read a book where the main character was too stupid to live?


12 comments on “Too stupid to live

  1. Terrific post, AJ. The title drew me in immediately and then the content kept me reading … and grinning.

    I’m feeling a bit dull this morning (fortunately not TSTL) and can’t think of books where this has happened, although I know that I’ve read several.

    However, movies. I know it’s to build suspense but there are an amazing number of movies where the main character is too stupid to live. The action that always gets to me is when the main character knocks out the bad guy or fires an obviously non-fatal shot and then ignores the gun or the knife that’s laying right beside the bad guy’s hand, turns their back on the guy and hugs someone.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Karen. Movies! I hadn’t thought of them, but they are probably worse than books for TSTL characters.

  2. Yes! Many movies, TV shows, and books where the protagonist is definitely TSTL. Lazy writing, what more can be said? Can’t put my finger on one recently though…(mostly because the weather is too good to be indoors!!!)


    • How awesome you’ve got great outdoor weather, Deb. We’ve just had a weekend of cold and damp =(

  3. I love the Darwin Awards. This one from 2018 is precious: A 19-year-old and his soon-to-be-ex were walking along the beautiful Havel River, quarreling. Unable to win his conversational point, the frustrated man suddenly shoved the woman into the icy river, jumping in to push her under again and again! But she could swim. He could not…

    And I love the acronym–TSTL. I don’t mind them if the character isn’t the main. Otherwise, I have no interest in getting to know someone TSTL.

  4. Ah yes, I’ve used the acronym TSTL more than once. And I’m definitely familiar with the Darwin awards. Sometimes one wishes stupidity was more painful. (But then I think of all the stupid things I’ve done, and I’m grateful that it’s not.)

    • Oh, gosh, I’m glad all the stupid things I’ve done over the years aren’t listed on a website for the world to see.

  5. An author who shall not be named, whose work inspired a TV series, has a heroine who always seems to be interfering in a murder case, no matter what warning she gets, always ends up in a room with the murderer snarling, “You interfering bitch, I’ll get you!” Every novel I’ve read. I enjoyed them enough to read a few, but gave up after that scene repeated itself over and over.

    • Urgh, not only having the heroine in a room with the villain, but repeated over and over? That would drive me nuts. I’m not surprised you gave up, Sue.

  6. TSTL will kill my interest immediately. All I can think of is how I want to kill off the character myself, even if the antagonist doesn’t manage it.

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