Smarter Than You

*I think I initially wrote this late at night or early in the morning. So, it's not a very consistent or fluid train of thought. It wasn't my goal but it's very dear diary-ish. I thought of editing it but decided to leave it a bit rough and tangled because I'm human.*

**I share this at risk of maybe coming across vain or offensive. I don't want to but I will do so because my true point is much bigger and important .**

Smarter than you. My therapist says I am but it’s not really that fun or glorious. It doesn't bring me much joy or satisfaction. Hasn't made me rich yet. I'm not in MENSA (cuz that shit is expensive!) I'm not lounging on a beach being fed mango slices by a singing Puerto Rican Beyoncé. In fact, that was just a provocative title. No one knows what smart or intelligence is really. Most common definitions point at the ability to retain and/or recall information. That information being accurate or useful is another thing altogether. But what about critical thinking and reasoning? What about creativity? What about problem solving? How do you measure that stuff? Who creates the standards? Who is the norm sample? While I’m curious to know what my exact IQ is these days I also reject the notion of an IQ and things like it. The concept is usually, as I have found, inherently racist and/or classist. For instance, "WTF is  a pagoda?"

Short story. When I was in grad school the first time, we were practicing administering intelligence tests. One section had you identify pictures. It was a vocabulary kind of thing. There were two that really pissed me off. The answer for one picture was "tourniquet" and the other "pagoda". WTF is a pagoda? For one, at the age of 21 I had never been exposed to those words before. Not ever. Why or how would I be. For two, not sure why, but the images used in the assessment were dated. Tourniquets don't even look like that anymore!

What I actually mean by all this is that in a room of a random arbitrary # people, I will have trouble coming across a person who thinks or cares about the things that I think or care about, the way I do, and to the degree that I do. Temperament and character aside. That’s not to say everything I do is wise, witty, strategic and well planed out. I do a lot of stupid shit. Sometimes as entertainment, other times as experimentation, sometimes i'm misinformed, or stubborn. Also because I can’t be and do all the things. I can sometimes lack commonsense (because that's for common people). I don’t know much and am not profoundly skilled at any one thing. All I know is that I exist. I’m more of a jack of a few trades. I just don't find people with a mind like mine very often and it’s isolating.

People who are "smarter" than others look like assholes if they ever express the realization. But again, I don't really think I'm smarter than other people. My junior year of college I realized I actually don't know much about anything. I can't shoot off trivia facts. I suck at mental math. I find jigsaw puzzles banal. My vocabulary is not extensive. I rely on google heavily. My Google Home is probably going to be my life partner.

But thinking. I think a lot. Maybe, definitely, too much. I wonder why others don't seem to very much. Too busy living I guess.

  • I had one mentor tell me that I’ll be one of the great minds of my generation.
  • I had another tell me that I’ll have to find a way to deal with working with/for/under people a lot less intelligent than myself.
  • I had a therapist tell me that I was a lot more knowledgeable and skilled in the field than many of his colleagues with degrees and licenses.
  • You ever contribute something to a conversation that you’re sure should move it along and then people continue talking as if you hadn’t just provided new information or ideas? As in can't/don't/won't process it and continue with a trivial matter?
  • Honestly. Am I smart in the sharp, refined mind sense? Am I intelligent in the sense that I posses a lot of information? Am I intelligent in a sense of having great logic and ability to understand apply knowledge and understanding? Eh, I think I have a voracious appetite to always develop these. It is in some sense my mission in life; seeking information, aiming to know and understand more. I'm always trying to sharpen my mind and always looking for the truth.
  • It has always been my assumption that this was the best way to operate. It was the higher calling. But I also always assumed that everybody wanted to be this way. Maybe before, I judged people who weren’t this way or at least didn't seem to be in a way I could recognize.
  • Too much of my identity has previously been wrapped up in feeling smart. But I don't feel that way anymore. I can't even tell you what that means. 
  • I don’t know. My lived experience is one where it’s hard to find folks willing, wanting, and able to go where I aim to. I just don't care about a lot of things.
  • But I also exist in a pretty bleh way and I can't look down too much on people who might be subconsciously trying to avoid it.

Fun with Dick & Jane