I know some people who are fatuous. No, I’m not talking about those who tip the scales due to their hefty size. Being fatuous has nothing to do with physical traits but everything to do with mannerisms and attitudes.
Fatuous [fach-oo-uhs] is an adjective that means foolish or inane, especially in a complacent and smug manner. Mindless and dim-witted are synonyms of the word. It also means an idiotic person.
At times I have been mindless. Take, for instance, an experience I had while working in my late teens. I worked at a fabric store. I enjoyed sewing and I enjoyed working at the store. My boss was much shorter than I was (and I’m NOT that tall). He had carrot-orange hair and a funny orange bristly mustache. He wore big glasses that reminded me of the Atom Ant cartoon character from my youth during the Mesozoic Era.
I can’t remember what I did (thank goodness for short memories). But it was something totally fatuous (mindless). My boss criticized me to which I replied, “Well, I just wasn’t thinking.” (What kind of an excuse is that, I ask you? At the time, it made sense to me . . .)
His reply has stuck with me for lo these many years. “That’s your problem,” he said. “You weren’t thinking.”
That comment has shaped my life in ways that my boss will never know. I have become very observant, aware, and even critical of my thinking. I’ve read books on thinking. I try to improve my thinking. (And all of this was long before the threat of Alzheimer’s loomed on my mental horizon.)
Maybe you know someone who does foolish things. Maybe they seem rather dim-witted and dull. Are they complacent or smug? If so, you can describe them as being fatuous.
As I enter the downhill slope of my life, I do not want to be complacent, mindless, or inane. I want to live life to its fullest, to enjoy every possible moment, to live life with a vengeance.
I certainly don’t want to be fatuous. And I don’t want to be fat either!