I think those two years in the Gifted and Talented program in junior high ruined me. I mean, sure, it taught me the value of lateral thinking and finding novel ways to approach problems and solve them. But they never told me that lateral thinking wasn’t always necessary…or welcomed.
I found myself quite often doing things and acting ways with people that they wouldn’t expect, and it usually got me nowhere. In situations where I was uncomfortable, I’d default to trying to overthink, and enough of that, all I’d get was, “Shawn, you’re weird.”
Yeah, maybe, possibly. OK, yes. Weird enough to get in the way of really connecting with strangers and acquaintances. Kinda gotta know me long enough to really get me, I guess. Et cetera. Or whatever.
Two years wasn’t enough. Longer, and I would’ve learned this, and the important lesson that even though I had some mental skills, I wasn’t intrinsically more special than any other kid, regardless of what the entrance exam rated me. I should’ve been taught that real work, real study, real growth, was the way to find success; it wasn’t just something granted to me because of my special classification (or, at least in an ideal world, yeah).
I was praised for being smart and having potential. I should’ve been praised for actually applying myself. :shrug:
Not everyone I interact with wants to be a puzzle to solve.
2022. I dunno what to say. What motivational statement could I give that hasn’t already been written by Zig Ziglar somewhere? I could say it’s a new page, a new chapter, a new book, but is it really?
Today feels just like yesterday, except I’m sore and my belly’s full of peas and cornbread. Still in a pandemic. Still woke up alone. Still have to return to work on Monday. My holiday week off has been unproductive and joyless, and I have the weighty guilt of knowing that I am responsible for that. I could’ve done better.
What do you call someone who can make anything political? Like, you could be having an innocuous conversation with someone, all small talk, and then they go off into the weeds?
“Nice cool breezy weather we got today, yeah?” “Not as cold as the day we finally get all of them dirty sumbitches outta Congress an’ string those motherfuckers up to twist in the breeze!” “Dude, is everything OK at home?”
Have we all just lost our sense of smell? Have we forgotten how to read the room and decide what’s appropriate? Have we got so self-absorbed that we don’t care what someone else has going on?
There are four professions in which one can never, ever be wrong (especially when they are wrong):
This week I talked with a teacher I tangentially knew at a bar, and we found there was some common ground between us. As the chatter went on, I said something that she didn’t think was correct, so she put on the brakes as we hashed it out. Went so far as to look at her phone long enough to find something that supported her claim; even got others involved.
I know my experience taught me one thing, her experience taught her something else. But I was wrong, because she couldn’t possibly be wrong. She’s a teacher, and teachers tell students what’s up.
Having no other graceful out, I referenced the conversation we were just having before our argument, wished her well, and did the Irish exit. So I’m stupid and wrong.