Everyone on Planet an Incompetent Buffoon, Study Finds

Cedar Shingle, Nebraska, June 11, 2041 -- A major study recently concluded by the Institute for Highly Normal Phenomena has determined that every individual on the planet is an incompetent buffoon. The results, while unsurprising to most laymen, nonetheless confirm scientifically for the first time an impression that has been shared by most members of the human race since, approximately, the dawn of time.

Incompetence Chart: Incompetence Levels (People), as determined by Institute for Highly Normal PhenomenaIncompetence Chart: Incompetence Levels (People), as determined by Institute for Highly Normal Phenomena

A spokesman for the institute said they were "fairly pleased with the results, but not really sure what to do with them now that we have them".

The five-year, $89.2 million study was commissioned by a wealthy private donor who, according to Dr. Barley Pinestickle, director of the Institute for Highly Normal Phenomena, "wanted to find out why everyone he ever had to have anything to do with in any context always turned out to be such a total idiot".

"The donor, who has asked to remain anonymous, had been consistently disappointed throughout much of his life by what he saw as the gross incompetence of everyone he had ever relied on for, well, anything," said Dr. Pinestickle. "Car mechanics, tax advisors, employees, bosses, doctors, dentists, building contractors, politicians, elementary school teachers, baggage claim clerks, waiters, any kind of consultant, shoe salesmen, slot machine maintenance supervisors, you name it—he'd found major problems with the performance of people in all walks of life throughout his entire existence. After a few decades of this sort of thing, he finally grew so frustrated that he decided to privately commission this huge study to find out whether incompetent behavior were somehow endemic to the human population."

Matters reportedly came to a head on a specific Wednesday about two months prior to the commencement of the study, Dr. Pinestickle said.

"The donor," said Dr. Pinestickle, "started his day late for a meeting after oversleeping due to a faulty alarm clock. That was followed up by burnt toast due to a poorly functioning toaster, then the wrong kind of coffee at Starbucks and a seemingly endless trip with a taxi driver who'd apparently never been to the city nor driven a motorized vehicle before and who then tried to overcharge him. Later there was an issue with some carpenters who were supposed to install a door in his apartment, but instead took one away. At the restaurant where he had his lunch, the waiter brought three different wrong orders, then tried to charge him for eleven diet Frescas that he hadn't drunk. At the same time, he saw the president stammering through an attempt to declare it a 'National Day of Prayer for Lesser Ineptitude' on the television. You know, basically a typical day for any of us, but I think something snapped."

The Institute for Highly Normal Phenomena study consisted of extensive job-application-style interviews, focus group interactions, problem-solving exercises and follow-up analyses of nearly 30,000 people in "as broad a spectrum of vocations as we could think of," according to Dr. Pinestickle.

"What we found, interestingly, was that many of the people we interviewed had at least a cursory competence in, for example, their specific area of expertise, but this competence was consistently overshadowed by breathtaking imbecility in other areas, or by mitigating factors such as lack of sleep, romantic distractions, angst, bravado, bad hair days and so forth that rendered their base competence moot when actually put to the test."

"We found," Dr. Pinestickle continued, "that in any given task, either within or without the individual's specific area of knowledge, there was no better than a 50% chance of the individual actually getting it right. This applied across the board, from toilet repair to particle physics. It was really quite striking."

The study, while conclusively proving the utter incompetence of everybody in the world at precisely everything, provides no recommendations on how to ameliorate the problem.

"Solutions are outside the scope of the study, unfortunately," said Dr. Pinestickle. "Besides, there may be a small element of doubt as the accuracy of our findings. If our conclusions are correct, of course, that means we at the institute don't know what the hell we're doing, either."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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