March 29, 2001

I'm A Genius! And I Insist On Making Sure Everybody Else Knows It!

2001.03.29 I'm A Genius! And I Insist On Making Sure Everybody Else Knows It!

This one came to my attention courtesy of Steve Jackson Games' Daily Illuminator: William Christopher Holley's Genius web site is simultaneously a chest-thumping "Look At Me--I'm A Genius!" brag piece and a "Why Won't Anyone Hire Me?" whine/rant.

My take? It reminds me of the quote behind the dysfunction poster at"The Only Consistent Feature of All of your Dissatisfying Relationships is You." It also reminds me of something else. Back in my elementary school days (basically, the Nixon and Ford Administrations), it was a well-known fact that I was the smartest kid in my class. Every year. Nobody else was close. A couple of kids thought they were, but they weren't. Now before you write me off as a Holley clone, here's my point: despite the fact that I spent those years in the company of the same sixty kids, and by the end of kindergarten all but the dimmest knew the score, I spent a lot of time and energy making damn sure that everybody around me knew I was the smartest kid in the class. Yet somehow I was always surprised when anybody called me 'arrogant.' I wasn't arrogant--I was just smarter than they were. Sure, it's a cliche, but it fit. It took me many many years before I realized exactly they thought that way (I'd previously attributed it to jealousy; I mean, the problem couldn't have been with me, could it?), and what did it was seeing myself at age 10 in the person of one of my son's friends. Let's call him Hal. Whenever any kid said anything incorrect, Hal corrected him. Whenever a question was asked, Hal was the first one to answer. If by chance another kid answered first, Hal gave a 'better' answer and then proceeded to explain why his answer was better. And on and on and on until I was ready to, ah, hell, I don't know what but it wouldn't have been very nice. My realization that I was seeing myself at that age was a whack on the side of the head unlike any I've experienced before or since. So to my classmates, I belatedly say, "I get it, and I'm sorry." So let's not be too hard on W. C. Holley; I just hope he gets a similar whack while he can still do something about it.

Posted by Chris at March 29, 2001 08:53 PM

Category: General Weirdness