I took my girl to a fancy dinner the other night cause, as you know, I’m nothing if not a gentleman (it was her Birthday). It wasn’t one of those ‘suit and tie’ deals but it was certainly some high-end shit. So, we’re sitting there enjoying this awesome meal and next to us is a family. Three older people (in their 50’s and up) and one kid. He must have been in his early 20’s and, honestly, from first glance i thought he might have been mildly retarded. He reminded me of Steve Martin’s character “Ruprect” from the movie “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”.
Turns out , my “retard-dar” was way off, as it became clear the kid was in fact a smarmy ivy league type.
I’m not really an eve’s dropping type but this kid made it hard to not notice him. Whether he was loudly lamenting some grandiose story from school or just enjoying the food, he let his presence known to the room. This reached a boiling point when he decided he wanted to recite his favorite poem to the people at his table. Now, there were a few problems with this:
1)He was loudly reciting a fucking poem to a table of people in a public place. Unacceptable.
2)It was a long poem and he didn’t really know it that well. It would have been like me rapping the lyrics to some song I hadn’t heard since high school. (except much classier)
3)It was extremely clear that the people at the table with him really didn’t want to hear him stumble through this poem. Anyone with eyes could look at their faces and see the discomfort and desire to move on.
The amazing part was, he’d draw a blank, the other people at the table would be relieved and continue on with normal dinner conversation, only to be rudely interrupted by the kid when he remembered another line. This went on for like ten minutes. I gotta say. Stop and go poetry…not a good look. When my girl and I bounced, he was still going on. I wonder if he ever completed that wonderful poem? Oh yeah, by the way, the poem was fucking awful.
So, this got me thinking about the different types of smart people. We all know people who excel in learning. I’d say these people, the school smart, are the defining class of “intelligent people”. I have never been one of those people. You might be able to tell by my horrific grammar and oft misused sayings like “Beckon call” or writing “then” instead of “than”. For every person like me, there is a person who could not do wrong in school. People who tested well and absorbed what they studied. People who excelled at writing papers that involved endless amounts of research and organization skills. The most interesting off shoot of these type , to me, were the ones who -while they were built to learn- were somehow the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet outside a classroom. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve undoubtedly met a person in a social setting and immediately thought they were the stupidest person you’ve ever met, only to find out “oh, Jim? He just graduated from Princeton”. And I’m not talking about socially awkward nerds here.
I’m talking about people who can get by in everyday normal society yet cannot have a conversation on the most basic level.
I’m talking about girls who had 4.0 grades at Harvard yet can’t figure out the dude they just fucked isn’t into them when he never calls them back.
I’m talking about a certain type of obliviousness that really should only be connected with being an idiot.
Ghostface killa would call these people “Smart, dumb, n#ggaz” and they are everywhere.
I find it kind of amazing that people can be so wired in on one thing , yet so dysfunctional in another thing that really isn’t THAT far off from where they excel. It’s not like “Oh, Jim can play the drums but he’s terrible at soccer”. That makes sense. But being school smart should carry over a little into knowing how to act. I realize, I’m a walking contradiction of this as I’m the worst student you’ll ever see but fairly well-adjusted socially. The difference is, I think I could do well at school. I just chose not to by not caring. I can read. I can write. I can problem solve. I have the ability to understand thing put in front of me. I’m just a lazy sack of shit with very few interests. But , the reality remains, I could do that shit if I really wanted to. So, for the smart dumb types, I gotta think you could corral some of that smartness into NOT being the embarrassing asshole who might read poetry at the dinner table in a busy restaurant.
Or people who corner you and talk about something they know for a fact is of no interest to you.
Part of being intelligent is being able to read other people. Understanding what MAY be going through that person’s head. The simple art of knowing when to shut up and/or leave. I suppose this would be considered “street smarts”. But to me, social graces like this are just as much a facet of being intelligent as being able to remember facts about history or spelling well. In fact, they may be even more important cause they’re applicable to EVERYONE in every day life. Not a day goes by when I don’t flex my “social grace” skills. From saying “thank you” after being helped to not calling your mom a whore when I meet her. Spell check handles my terrible spelling and rarely does my knowledge of history come into play on the average day.
To be fair, I’d have to be an idiot to not realize there is a stark difference between how one thinks and how one acts. We’ve all seen/met the people with brilliant minds who can barely function in a social setting. It’s clear that certain levels of genius seem to be a burden socially upon said person. I’m sure Einstein was an awkward dude. But I’d be willing to bet he wasn’t a shit head who’d corner you at a party and talk to you about how cheese is made for an hour. It’s the ones who , while being very adept at learning, can’t grasp the simple task of not being a dip shit in public that I’m speaking of. They’re not awkward. They just fucking idiots. And no IQ test can change that.