My brother Tim wrote a letter to his newspaper detailing the differences between idiots and jerks. We here in Forest Park can also profit from this exercise.

Idiots have loud, outdoor discussions at 1:30 a.m. Jerks wait until 2:30 a.m.

An idiot loses his car keys. A jerk blames someone else for it.

Fielders sometimes look like idiots when they miss a fly ball. Jerks pretend they’re hurt after they miss the fly ball.

Idiot drivers don’t wait their turn at four-way stops. Jerks also add the upraised finger.

Idiot politicians get caught stealing from the taxpayers. Jerks blame the theft on their substance abuse.

Idiot patrons might forget to leave a tip for good service. Jerks make sure they leave a dollar.

Idiot parents take young children to R rated movies. Jerk parents take them to the midnight showing.

An idiot driver will almost run you over, because they’re yakking on their cell phone. Jerk drivers aren’t distracted; they’re simply too important to wait while you cross.

An idiot student might get in trouble during school. A jerk gets the whole class in trouble.

An idiot might have trouble operating the CTA transit card machines. The impatient jerk behind them only makes their fumbling worse.

Idiots sometimes make poor choices that lead to misery. Jerks pretend to have miserable lives to boost book sales.

An idiot mismanages money meant for the less fortunate. A jerk takes the money right to the gambling boat.

Idiots drive by your home blasting their music. Jerks park right in front to continue the concert.

A bartender may cut off an intoxicated idiot. The idiot then achieves jerk status by becoming belligerent with the bartender.

Michael Barrett of the Cubs may be an idiot but fellow-combatant Carlos Zambrano is definitely a jerk.

However, in last year’s baseball fight, Barrett was the jerk, while A. J. Pierzynski was merely an idiot.

An idiot might blame parents for their problems. Jerks give a speech about it at the parents’ 50th anniversary.

An idiot might develop a grudge but it takes a jerk to hold on to them.

An idiot makes unwanted advances. A jerk slips something into her drink.

It’s not idiotic to criticize drug addicts but, when your addiction to prescription pills becomes public, you’re officially a jerk.

An idiot might fail to follow through on a promise. Jerks are much more consistent at this.

An idiot might stand you up but a jerk definitely found something better to do.

If we call our kids idiots, they’ll probably grow up to be jerks.

We all do idiotic things by accident. We’re only jerks when we mean it.