Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

A Contradiction in Intelligence 27 December 2007

Filed under: Career,Randoms,Rants — ferociouskater @ 3:20 am

One of the reasons I like my job at BN so much is that a lot of the people that I work with have had or are working on the same level of education as I have had. This might not really make a lot of difference in the long run, since they are not any nicer than the people I worked with at the clinic, but being drawn to them as co-workers is a prime example of something I tend to do in my life. Something that I just realized I have always done.

My very best friend since childhood has been Kat. I have always known that in so many ways, she is leaps and bounds smarter than I. This would bother me, a lot of times when I was a kid, especially when her brains brought with them talents that I longed to possess. I don’t think I would have enjoyed drawing as much if I hadn’t been trying to be as good as she was (is). And the same went for other subjects. Being with Kat actually made me strive to become smarter/more talented.

Tonight I realized that I am, again, doing the same thing – I have been surrounding myself with super-smart friends for the past few years because they make me strive to become more intelligent. We sit around the dinner table and they talk about current events, or classic movies, or history, and I don’t know any of it but by the end of the meal I damn sure want to learn. I go on a poetry binge after B posts a blog post about poetry. I read more after he takes me to the used bookstore. I really think that by surrounding myself with such smart people I am bettering my own intelligence.

The problem is that without meaning to, my smart friends make me feel really, really stupid. Tonight I feel really, really stupid. And it wasn’t just because we were playing Trivial Pursuit (I won, in fact), it was because so many ideas and concepts were being thrown around that I had never heard of before. And everyone else seemed to get them. It didn’t help that I was the only one at the table that hadn’t completed or was working on a professional or Masters-level degree. It also didn’t help that I was the only one whose degree subject is probably worth less than the paper it’s printed on. Doctor. Mechanical Engineer. Doctor. B, who I won’t even talk about, and me. English Writing. Whoop de doo.

I need to somehow span the disconnect between these two things. No, I’m not going to become a news junkie and suddenly understand world politics. And no, I’m not going to stay awake through Carl Sagan’s The Cosmos. But I need to do something useful enough to stop this feeling that my purpose in my group of friends is to make everyone else laugh. I am the cute pet. I am their entertainment.

Sometimes I like to be the entertainment. But sometimes I want to know that the biggest hole in the ozone layer is in Antarctica, and be able to name all the major heads of State, and not only that but care that I know these things. I’m not even a real fountain of knowledge on grammar and syntax. I know a little bit about the ozone, a little bit about politics, and a little bit more about grammar. And a lot of times this quote sums up how I feel about my specialties in life:

“A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.”  -Samuel Johnson


One Response to “A Contradiction in Intelligence”

  1. awalkabout Says:

    As an English major myself, I hear you. 🙂 When I first practiced law in Miami, one of the survival techniques I learned was to watch the post game football shows. Not because I loved football, but because the first thing all the lawyers would be doing at motions Monday morning was briefcase quarterbacking. I was no expert, but I knew enough to sound like I was part of the ‘gang.’ (I actually came to be quite fond of the Dolphins…not that I should admit that now).
    What I’m finding out blog surfing is that I can pick up enough of a very broad range of dialogue so that when someone says “string theory” I don’t draw a perfect blank. In fact my 2007 NaNovel is based on string theory–which became interesting after I thought about it. Do you need a doctorate in physics to understand it? No. Leave the math to someone who loves it. You know what you love–make that your home. Just feather your nest with the flashy bits of ‘other,’ to make yourself complete.
    p.s. law school is teh debbil!!!

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