Sunday, November 18, 2007

Musings at 39- Not So Smart After All

When I was a young kid I shared a room with my brother who was five years younger than I. For the most part it wasn't a cool scene- he knew how to exploit my last nerve and I knew how to beat him up. More on that some other time, I'm still gathering my thoughts on that one.

Anyways, I had "my drawer." Every kid has a drawer or a box or a hidden compartment that only he is supposed to go through. It allows a kid to have some semblance of control, some element of privacy in a world where nearly every choice is made for them. It's not even important what you PUT in the drawer, only that it is YOURS. If I recall, I kept my Mad Magazines and limited comic book collection here, my limited cash, the guns for my Star Wars figures- you know, the important stuff.

Well, my brother liked to go in the drawer, because he knew how to press my buttons. Kid couldn't even read yet and he wanted to look at my comics. Unacceptable, right? Of course, redundant question. So to fix this, I tore the bell off the top of a toy schoolhouse, and tied a string between it and the drawer handle, precariously teetering on the edge of the dresser so that, should a bandit want to search my treasure drawer, he would surely be caught red-handed.

This is a good example of how we always assume we're just a little smarter that the next guy. What in the world made me think that my brother, at age 5, could not make the connection between drawer and string and bell? And here's the ironic part- if I'd never told my brother that the drawer was off-limits, ya think he ever would've given it a second glance?

As I have grown older, I have been gradually making the switch from thinking I'm the smartest guy in the room, which was almost always wrong, to wanting to be the dumbest guy in the room. The advantage in this second way of thinking is that you can't learn from anyone if you think the first way. If you're the smartest guy you can't hear- if you're the dumbest guy you'll listen to get smarter.

Wow. Trippy.

No comments: