Monday, March 10, 2014
Not The Brightest Bulb In The Flower Basket
Have you ever been asked a question about yourself that you just cannot effectively answer? I have, on several occasions. Thousands of occasions in all probability.
The first time I can remember being asked a question about myself that I could not effectively answer was when I was 10 or 11. That question was, "Why don't you grow up?" I couldn't answer that question then, and not on the several hundred other occasions I was asked that question as I was in fact growing up either, simply because I didn't realize that what was really being asked was, "Why don't you mature and take life a bit more seriously?"
I only figured out what the real question was when I became neurotic enough to finally ask myself what it means to grow up, to grow from a child into an adult.
Truth be told, I'm still working on that one. Seriously, I am nowhere near as mature as I should be. Though I'm mature enough to be cognizant of that.
The other question I get asked a lot that I cannot seem to effectively answer, though I have made great effort to, is "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"
It's frustrating for me to get asked that question BTW, as I never present myself as a smart person - at least I don't think I do.
Other people must think I do however, because I get asked that question a lot. I better look into how I'm actually acting in front of people - there is the possibility I'm being an overbearing, arrogant douche.
Anyway, I was asked that question once again last night, after pub trivia.
The answer I always want to respond with is multi-faceted, but the first part of the answer is, I am not that smart.
I just have a good memory. Being able to recall who wrote Flowers for Algernon is not being particularly smart, it's just a coupling of being an avid reader and having a good memory. BTW, it was Daniel Keyes. And, BTW, The only reason I recalled it was Daniel Keyes was because Keyes also wrote for EC comics in the '50's, of which I am a huge fan.
To me, being smart is being able to solve problems, on an above average level. I solve problems on an average level, and usually it's not because I actually figured something out, it's because I recalled reading how the particular problem in question was solved by someone else and just applied their solution.
The second part of the answer is, it does not take being smart to be rich. Talent, perseverance, and luck contribute far more to becoming rich than intelligence. I have had more conversations with incredibly intelligent homeless people than I can recall, and my line of work introduces me to more extremely wealthy people I wouldn't trust around a blender than I can recall.
Honestly, I would love to be rich, or at least very financially secure - and by that I mean I want to live in a villa on the Costa Del Sol and never have to look forward to a payday again as long as I live - but being Joe Average, I have learned to live within my means and to enjoy all the great things around me that really cannot be bought.
And I've learned to respond to that question with a short quip, which is, "I'm not smart. I'm just very lucky."
Yep. The luckiest person you will ever meet. Except for the two short marriages and subsequent divorces part.