What, me worry?
“Being too intelligent is a curse,” said Mumsy in one of her periodic embittered forays into temporary sobriety. I think it was on the occasion of my acquisition of a university degree.
“Thanks, Mom, you just really warmed the cockles of this boy’s heart,” I replied. Actually, I don’t think I said any such thing, but her statement at the time has always stuck with me.
My mother was, despite her myriad emotional, psychological and addictive woes, an extremely intelligent woman. She skipped school twice and graduated at 15. She evidently excelled in creative writing, English and probably lots of other things. In that, I suppose the apple doesn’t fall so very far from the tree. Yet, after school was finished she never, as the old saying goes, ‘amounted to a pinch of coonshit.’ Sad, that, I always thought. But, she made her choices, married an up-and-comer who would always keep her well, and spent the remainder of her 72 years steeped in discontent, frustration and anger, seeking ever increasing doses of her twin Vs – vodka and valium – to keep her going. Yes, very sad, that.
But, that isn’t my point here. My point is merely her statement about intelligence. My mother sought I was intelligent, too, so on the occasion of my graduation she (for whatever reason) thought it apt to bestow the ‘curse’ on me. I guess she saw it as a caveat.
I don’t know how intelligent I am. I have never checked out my IQ, and have no impulse to so do. If it’s higher than I thought (I mean, I have an idea of what it ‘might’ be, at least a ballpark of what it might be) then I am going to feel like a huge failure. If it’s lower, then I’ll feel all inadequate and lacking.
At the same time, I think my work and a few accolades I’ve garnered indicate that I must have a reasonable degree of smarts. Which leads me to the question: ‘If I’m so smart, why ain’t I rich?’ Well, that’s mainly because largesse comes from a different sort of intelligence than the kind I seem to have been blessed with. My mother’s least academic sibling, for example, ultimately became the richest. Uncle Bob deserved his wealth considering the awful crone he was married to. Smart about money, but not so smart about life-partner choice. I would have poisoned her tea.
Then there is also the matter of ‘emotional intelligence’. I may have been intellectually somewhat astute, but at an emotional level – certainly for a lot of years at least – I was a bit of a moron, considering a few of the decisions I made. But, those weren’t decisions that were made with the brain, or even the heart, but with quite another part of the anatomy. Enough about that.
Going back to mater’s premise, is intelligence a curse? Is life easier for the simple souls? Arguably, it is. If you are less aware of the panorama of everything you are possibly less stressed. You are also more accepting of that which is around you, in all likelihood because you won’t have explored all possibilities. I don’t mean this in a demeaning sense. I have known people with relatively low expectations, and their lives have revolved around home, hearth and family, and all the verities therein, and their homes are always comforting places to visit.
Comforting but, alas, a bit on the boring side at times. But, that’s just me. And, probably you considering the fascinating calibre of writing I see among the members of my blogroll. I don’t say that all bloggers are real smart folk, but the ones I’m in contact with, either on my roll or elsewhere in the sphere, certainly are.