Saturday, September 24, 2011

Genius Deconstructed

You may be wondering why a humble guy like me would use the word genius in the title of his blog or maybe you aren't. In either case I'm going to explain it to you.
I am a certified genius, no brag, just fact. I have nothing to brag about because I had nothing to do with it. It would be like bragging that I have blue eyes or that I am left-handed.
[warning mind numbing mathematics ahead skip this paragraph if you have a fear of numbers]
There is irony in this story so lookout for it. My I.Q. is in the top 1% of the world population. Wow, that sounds impressive. Let's break that down. The wold's population is roughly 6,800,000,000 (that's 6.8 Billion with a B). 1% of that is 68,000,000 (68 Million with an M). Now since my I.Q. score is within the .2% of the bottom of the percentile that means that I am grouped with 13,600,000 (13.6 Million with an M) at the bottom of the larger number. Quickly doing the math, there are somewhere between 54,400,000 and 68,000,000 people in the world who have a higher I.Q. than I do.
This genius doesn't appear to be that genius anymore, eh? No ivory tower for me. I must live among the peasants.
Let me clarify one misconception. Geniuses are not smart.
I sense confusion. The tern genius is a term used to describe people who have scored above a predetermined mark on a test designed to measure a nebulous attribute which psychologists have named Intelligence Quotient.
These so-called I.Q. tests do not test knowledge (that is what SAT and ACT tests are for). So I could have just enough intelligence to speak and not enough to come in out of the rain and still be considered a genius according to psychologists.
So (I hear you thinking, not really just kidding about that), what does an I.Q. test test?
Here goes. An I.Q. test measures one's speed and accuracy in performing certain tasks and it measures one's ability to determine obtuse spacial relationships within an allotted time period. There are a few other attributes it also tests but I think you get the idea.
All in all I.Q. tests somehow, with some degree of accuracy, measure the speed and completeness with which one learns new things.
Here is where I start getting shifty. Several factors determine how much of that I.Q. is actually used in learning something new. One factor is, how much one is interested in learning the new thing. If I'm not interested in learning cabinet construction many people with markedly lower I.Q.s will learn this ability much faster than I will.
Here is the biggie: If I don't realize that either I don't already know a subject or that a subject requires learning I'm an idiot.
How could this happen you ask? Book learning does not fall into this category. Social interaction in which there is no formal training is ripe for all the reasons to remain ignorant. Many items I thought I knew. Others I didn't even know existed and still others I wasn't interested in learning.
So there I was a socially inept genius, who thought that people appreciated someone who corrected their erroneous statements and enjoyed hearing obtuse factoids just as my teaches did in high school.
I'm sure you have heard of the four types of knowledge but I will repeat it here.
There are the things that you know you know, things you know that you don't know, things that you don't know that you know and things that you don't know that you don't know (i'll wait for those who need to re-read that).
The most dangerous of the four is not knowing what you don't know. One might look at this and think well if you don't know about it what's the problem? The problem is when you think you know about it and think you know it but you are completely ignorant on the subject.

Genius Divorces Wife of Four Years Two Daughters Involved

Madrid, Spain

Just released from the United States Air Force Information Bureau so called genius was unable to keep his nuclear family from splitting.

Genius Marries for a Second Time to a Demanding, Jealous, and Domineering Woman his Young Girls are also Involved

San Diego, CA

A local genius leaves his Christian  faith behind and becomes a Jew in order to marry a shrew. His children follow in his wandering footsteps.

Geniuses Second Marriage ends in Failure and Loss of Connection of Daughters

Hampton, VA

Transplanted genius not only loses his wife, but his children and grandchildren in a bitter divorce.

Genius Studies Reasons for Bad Relationship and Becomes a New Man

San Diego, CA
He returns to his Christian roots and finally figures out that he has to learn to be in a relationship.

Smart? Yeah, right.

The Beat of the Conundrum

Allen suffered from agoraphobia but was the adventurous sort. One could find him exploring the guest bedroom as if it was uncharted territory. Ah ha! A new box atop the dresser in the very pink room. Why pink you may ask, and I wouldn't be surprised if you did.
It was, indeed, an artifact left by his wife. And by left I mean at the height of Allen's disease his wife left for the corner store to buy a loaf of bread and forgot to return. This of course left Allen feeling very sad and lacking anything onto which to spread his peanut butter.
While Allen acted oddly, he had survival instincts that would make Daniel Boone proud. He discovered that one could cut waxed paper into bread sized squares and it would hold peanut butter just fine. It not only sufficed as makeshift bread, but Allen found that he liked the fact that the paper didn't interfere with the taste of the peanut butter as bread had. He was elated. That is until he ran out of peanut butter.
Mashed canned peas was a poor substitute, as was pureed artichoke hearts. He was no longer the happy-stay-lucky Allen. He combed the yellow pages(tm) for a fast food delivery service that delivered peanut butter and waxed paper. There were none. He attempted to plant the nuts from a can of mixed nuts in an old ivy pot. After six weeks of tender care and hunger pangs he gave up on that project.
He was growing weaker every day, so weak he didn't even venture from his bedroom any longer. He feared the worst. Yes, my friends, he feared he would have to venture outside of his domicile in search of supplies.
There he stood in front of the door. Although it was summer he had donned sweat pants and sweat shirt in his favorite color, gray. Over that he had placed a hoodie he had found on the floor of the closet. Judging from the tightness of the purple garment he surmised it belonged to that woman that used to roam the rooms there. Tennis shoes, that is to say running shoes, or maybe cross-trainers or walking shoes, he wasn't up on the latest shoe fad, over his stylish gray socks. He had topped this menagerie of textiles with a fedora hat, with feather, that had belonged to his father, if he remembered correctly, which was doubtful.
The door was a barricade. The strength of it Allen found reassuring, knowing that if he had accidentally bumped into it he would not be thrown out into the street to be attacked by who knows what. Which reminded him. He ran to and explored the umbrella stand, disregarding the fireplace poker as too obvious, and the samurai sword as possibly unlawful to carry, the same with the sawed-off shotgun, eventually finding an umbrella with a stiff point that could be used to fend off all sorts of wild beasties and yet not an obvious weapon.
He returned to the front door now prepared for anything short of a medium or larger sized dragon. He stood there immobilized by fear. Perhaps a football helmet? No, he didn't want to draw attention to his vulnerabilities. Would a hard hat fit under his fedora? What a silly thought, after all he didn't own a hard hat. He took a moment to place himself in the en guarde position left hand above his head, legs spread. And his umbrella pointed forward and at the ready. Well, retuning to his former position, that certainly made him feel less anxious to wield a weapon with such professionalism and grace.
The door stood there, blissfully ignorant of Allen's fears, with all seven locks in place and battened down. Allen reached out and twisted the knob on the top deadbolt. At the creaking and click of the lock fear overtook him, causing him to flee at top speed to the bedroom furthest from the front door, where his bravado reasserted itself and he raised the umbrella prepared to do battle with whatever could penetrate the remainder of the door's defenses.
The telephone rang. The umbrella flew into the air, Allen dove to the floor, and avoided being impaled by the umbrella by a quarter turn. It merely bounced off of his skull, undamaged. The phone rang once more. Allen with an air of savoir faire climbed to his feet, sat on the bed, and answered the phone.
“Hi, may I speak to Caroline please,” a female voice asked perfunctorily.
Not wanting to sound rude, Allen answered with approval, “You are certainly welcome to as far as I am concerned, although, I must admit, I am curious as to why you believe you need my permission.”
“Ummmm...Wha?...Is she at home?”
“Sorry I have no clue. In fact I don't even know where her home is.”
“ this the Melton residence?”
“It is indeed.”
“Are you saying that Caroline has left you?”
“Well I didn't say that exactly. But now that you mention it, I would have to agree with that assumption.”
“Uh huh. Well, your name is Allen right? I was headed to the store and thought I would ask if I could pick up anything for you?”
The heavens opened up and angels sang hosannas.
Allen was shaking with excitement, “Could you please pick up ten rolls of waxed paper and thirty jars of peanut butter for me?”
“Ummm... wow... I...I....guess I could do that.”
“Just leave it on my front porch. I'll mail you a check.”
“Are you doing okay, Allen,” she asked doubtfully.
“I'm excellent thank you,” Allen hung up the phone.
Allen jumped for joy and danced around the bedroom. He stopped suddenly. The supplies would be left outside. So close and yet so far.
Perhaps he needed the shotgun after all.