He's an idiot, the Complete and Total Loser. And getting dumber. Honestly, it's all he can do to figure out how to put the DVD back in the Netflix envelope when he mails it back. He assumes the bar code is supposed to show through the little window in back, which will make it easier for the workers at Netflix warehouse, which will in turn may expedite getting his next movie.
He's always been dumb. Any road directions with more than two turns only get him two turns away, where he asks someone new. Simple household repairs like installing a fluorescent light bulb or fixing a leaking faucet end in tears of frustration. It takes him long minutes to compose simple emails. He'll write words he commonly misspells dozens of times and a week later misspells them again. He has trouble pronouncing simple words like "citizenry." There is no such thing to him as a "user-friendly" electronic device. While he likes getting new things -- a watch, a digital camera, a recording device -- he buys them with trepidation as he knows the learning curve will, for him, be long and steep. He's always been poor at math and learning new languages is impossible for him. He lived overseas for three years and studied the nation's language diligently, getting good books, taking classes and hiring private tutors (one of whom quit outright). Despite this, he never progressed beyond the level his associates achieved in a matter of a few months, and got little out of the experience.
The average I.Q. is 100 -- that's how it's set -- but no one says their own is less than 120. The Loser is honest about his and he'll say it's about 100. He's never taken a legitimate test, but it is, perhaps, a few points lower.
The Loser does stupid things all the time. Because he's stupid, he has adapted some things others never think of to help him cope. Here are a few:
- Some years ago he shut the door to his apartment with the key inside. The landlord chargee him $35 to just lend him a key to get back in. Now he has a key well hidden outside his apartment far enough away from the door to thwart burglars finding it.
- Speaking of keys, he bought a small canister with a rubber seal at a camping supply store for his keychain. Inside he put a $20 bill and a small slip of paper with his name and cell phone number on it. This serves two purposes. It is emergency money (he often forgets his wallet) and a reward to anyone who finds his keys.
- In his series of low-level jobs, the Loser has found address books and day planners filled with addresses and phone numbers except the owner's. His own small book has his prominently on the front page.
- He knows how bad he is at doing things fast in the morning and how hard it is for him to find work, so he has always had two alarm clocks, one by his bed, the second across the room. The second is set for five minutes after the first. He aims to get to work half an hour early. With all the stupid things he does in the morning ("Now where did I put those socks?") he shows up five minutes early. Better than late.
- He takes one round-trip train ride a week at about the same time. Sometimes it's on weekdays, sometimes Sunday evenings. He can't remember the simple difference in schedules, so he has copies of the train schedule everywhere. In his bag, on his refrigerator, on the refrigerator at his destination, in his coat pocket.
- He has a table next to his door and hooks on the door's frame for his wallet, keys, watch, pen and other things he'll need. When he's washed his pants he hangs his belt on the doorknob so he won't forget to put it on. He will lean other things against the door to make forgetting them less likely.