Why Smart People Bother Me
by Paul Blair
My name is Paul. If that sounds
familiar to you, it might be because my name is on the first line of the column. You smart
people probably already made that connection, though, didn't you? You think you're so
special because mommy and daddy could send you to a good school, surrounded by other smart
people like you. Well let me tell you something. Your smartness means nothing to me.
Actually, it bothers me. That's right. I don't like it one bit. You can spell good and do
grammar stuff good, too, so you think that you're better than me. You think intellectual
thoughts and wonder about life, while I'm having a good time living it. Contemplate all
you want, but it won't make you happy. As a matter of fact, I find thinking rather
depressing, so don't try to spray me with your ideas about religion and death because I
don't give a shopping cart of broccoli what you think.
If you haven't stopped reading by now, I thank you. I suspect that the really stuck-up
know-it-alls already accused me of being ignorant and violently clicked the mouse button
to go back to the Editorials page. Maybe they even just turned of their computers in a
passionate rage. Anyway, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm a hypocrite. You
see, I'm one of you. I go to a smart person school and write smart person essays about
intellectual stuff. I think about life, sometimes more than I should. Also, I faked the
incorrect grammar usage earlier. It was for effect.
The thoughts I am about to share with you are rather contradictory, but try to bear with
me. I'm going to let you in on the best-kept secret of all time. Are you listening? I hope
not, since I'm writing and not speaking. Anyway, the best-kept secret of all time is that
intelligence is a disease. You read correctly. It's a disease, spreading like a wildfire.
Much like mosquitoes proliferate in still water, intelligence breeds greatly because of
two things. The printing press and reproductive organs are the two main culprits. You see,
before the printing press, it took forever to write things down and even longer to make
multiple copies. So, when the "one in a million" smart child was born, he or she
had to think for itself because it couldn't refer to very many earlier smart people's
writings. (I'll say "it" to avoid having to use "him/her" in my
sentences.) Then, after it had thought for itself, it might write some thoughts down and
it would die. There was very little communication of these smart thoughts to later
generations at all.
Then Gutenberg came along and invented the printing press and got the snowball rolling.
From that point forward, people could be born and acquire all sorts of knowledge without
even having to discover it for themselves. The key word there is "knowledge"
because it is NOT intelligence that they acquire. Intelligence is not acquired. Never.
Smart people could then devote their lives to one aspect of life, gain personal knowledge
from their endeavors, publish their work, then have ignorant fools read it without having
to flex a single brain cell because the thinking had been done for them.
Now the real problem arises. Thanks to the wonders of the human body and the mystical
hormones involved, babies continue to come into existence, being born equally ignorant and
stupid as any baby born thousands of years before them. The chances of any of these babies
ever being intelligent are no different than those of a Neanderthal child. The hairless
ape that would potentially bang rocks together for fire and hunt rabbits is taught
completely differently in today's society. We give the hairless monkey centuries worth of
knowledge, courtesy of the printing press, and then consider it intelligent. It learns to
groom itself and read and write, then it becomes one of the dreaded smart people that I so
The reason they bother me so much is that they feel they have accomplished something by
using dead people's intelligence, printed on paper, to raise themselves up above the dumb
people. In fact, though, these people are just as dumb as the dumbest human, only they've
had the "privilege" of having parents who value knowledge over intelligence.
Dumb people with knowledge can be a scary thought, so I try not to think about it. Either
we as a society have to stop printing past knowledge or we need to stop reproducing. If
neither of these is reasonable, then we might have to do the unthinkable: teach students
to think their own thoughts and not to regurgitate dead people's thoughts. Until this
happens, I'll have to continue to deal with these knowledgeable Neanderthals.