I say this is a clever verbal strategy for identifying stupidity. My wife says I’m mean and wrong. Settle the debate.

My wife says this is mean.

I think it was brilliant.

I was speaking to a person whose intelligence, at least in regards to the nature of our discussion, was questionable at best. On a whim, I decided to test his knowledge of the subject matter and his overall intelligence by inserting an invented word into a sentence at a critical juncture to see how he would react.

I said, “The problem with that education policy is that it’s fiscally unsound and pelepanatic.

Pelepanatic was the invented word, and please note that it’s meaning is critical in understanding the nature of my argument. It was not an arbitrary word that had not meaning in terms of the sentence. 

The person to whom I was speaking pressed on without asking about the  invented word, confirming to me that he was an idiot.

Thus I thought I had stumbled upon a remarkable effective strategy for weeding out the morons of the world, but my wife says not so fast.

While ignoring the invented word may suggest certain characteristics of the person, intelligence or general knowledge is not one of them.

Perhaps the person was too embarrassed by his ignorance of the word to  ask for a definition.

Maybe the person used context clues to make an assumption about the definition of the word.

It’s possible that the person took a mental note to find the meaning of the word at another time.

Maybe the person opted not to display weakness in the midst of a debate even if that meant letting the word go undefined.

My wife claims that this newfound strategy is mean and does not serve the purpose intended.

I’m not so sure. I kind of like it. I think it has potential.