But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well

I say Cary Elwes was my first big crush, but I already had a thing for Ricky Nelson by that point. Afternoons in front of the TV watching Ozzie and Harriet had ruined me for life.

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The problem for me as a gifted kid was sitting around and waiting for everyone in class to catch up. What I already knew within five minutes, it took them weeks. It wasn’t their fault that they took longer. But it wasn’t my fault that it took me less time.

I feel that frustration so acutely as an adult. I thought eventually people would catch up and love learning. After all, every parent my age brags when their kids get awards that these same adults used to tease me about when I was getting them.

But it didn’t happen. On the whole, people didn’t catch up. I feel like I ran a marathon, starting out with a giant crowd and now, here I am at mile 22 and no one kept up.

I stopped watching TV in 2016 for a lot of reasons. Partly because of Cheeto. Partly because of stupid TV. And partly because supposedly “smart” shows weren’t challenging me. I’d get frustrated midway through a documentary or historical drama and shut it off. Movies and TV are no fun when you already know what’s going to happen.

It wasn’t a coincidence that I started listening to music at that time in earnest. I needed to be surprised.

This isn’t arrogance. I don’t need to tell anyone how smart I am. There are no prizes anymore now that we’re not in school. My ego doesn’t need it. But I need several challenges at once or my brain delves into anxiety and eats itself from the inside.

There is a difference between smart and whatever this is. What this is is seeing the spine of a book and knowing what the contents are before I’ve even read it. Whatever this is is knowing things I have no way of knowing but I do anyway.

You know that feeling of having read the whole internet and having nothing to do? I do.

I’ve reached my limit with facts. Facts aren’t the point. You can horde them as though they were gold and still be a pauper if you don’t have understanding. If you can’t connect the science with the history and the art and spiritual, you can’t really see beyond the artifice through the egocentric emotion that most people operate with.

I didn’t ask for any of this.

I feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not from the show but from the movie:

“All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. Now it may not sound too great to a sconehead like you, but I think it’s swell. And you come along and tell me I’m a member of the hairy mole club so you can *throw* things at me?”

I am humble before whatever is happening. I am amused by how people act in their lives not understanding how they’re part of something bigger while also not understanding that they each contribute to the bigger.

I need a teacher right now. I need someone to keep me sharp and get me to the next level. The only way I’m going to find that teacher is if I shut up and listen. Listening has become a most valuable skill to me as I’ve learned to manage my ego a bit. I went from a person who waited for my turn to talk, to a person who wanted to exchange ideas, to a person who wanted to listen to people so they could tell me what they knew…not through their words…but through the motives behind the words they chose.

I need to sleep. I am exhausted. Funny how the world goes on sick leave and are bored at home, and I am overwhelmed by “work.”

——-
Here’s what I wrote this morning on FB.

You might not be ready for this, but then again, no one ever is and that is the problem:
The link between countries that aren’t fighting the spread of coronavirus is populist leadership. But that’s the symptom, not the cause. There is something going on in the world that is causing entire countries to support leaders who tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

If you want to see where it could lead, think shut down of elections, closure of free markets, draconian, arbitrary restrictions on travel and other freedoms for “the good of the people.” That’s the playbook. People who are afraid are incredibly easy to manipulate.

How do I know this? Because I was reading library books about 1960’s and 70’s social experiments carried out by American academics in conjunction with the U.S. government back when I was a kid in college. On my own. For fun. Yeah, I’m not just a moderately attractive face.

I’m not ringing alarm bells. I’m telling you what will happen if we don’t educate people to think critically. The stakes are high. That means we not only need to fight but we need to be very, very strategic in order to survive this stuff.

This is a unique moment in world history where everyone is a captive audience and we could be taking advantage of the opportunity to teach everyone how bad things happen and how to prevent them from happening again. Teach them history, civics, ethics, literature. Give them a basis for how to think for themselves. Not just lefties, but righties too.

Or, you know, go back to binging shows until everyone’s better and life goes back to normal. Like that will happen. Like normal was good.

Nostalgia, my friend, is the tool of the wicked to control the feeble who’ve already given up. Nostalgia is what keeps Putin in power. It will do it here, too.
———-

I’m nagging when I should be inspiring. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

I’ve got to figure out how to teach them how to long for the endless immensity of the sea. that’s one thing I definitely don’t know yet.

Comments

  1. Vene you say “There is something going on in the world that is causing entire countries to support leaders who tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear”.
    I have been thinking about this increasingly since 2016. I think the answers would conatain racism. greed, envy, selfishness, increasing downward socioeconomic drift, lack of intelligence, anti-intellectualism, shaming of rational thought. Ugh.

    If you want to see where it could lead, think shut down of elections, closure of free markets, draconian, arbitrary restrictions on travel and other freedoms for “the good of the people.” That’s the playbook. People who are afraid are incredibly easy to manipulate. Yup. Good grief

    1. The U.S., Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil…these countries’ wealth have come from the persecution of indigenous peoples and subjugation of the unseen oppressed and poor to maintain economic status. It’s not an indefinite solution. The drastic wealth disparity that is exacerbated by entrenched self-interested parties at the expense of people worldwide has led to this. It took a virus to uncover the decay that was already there. And still most people don’t understand. If we expect anyone to come and save us…then we deserve everything we get and more.

      This was not a house built to stand. And without immediate and severe measures done to right the wrongs, we’re looking at very bad times ahead. This package that just passed is a joke.

      I can’t teach everyone. I can’t even reach most. All I can tell you is that we’re at a fork in the road and history will judge us.

      I wish I could bring levity into this, but I lack it today. I’m tired of everyone with a bit of entitlement going around and pointing fingers and acting like they had nothing to do with it.

      And I spent all my humor trying to make my friends in NYC laugh a little when life is grim and people are terrified.

      I’m all out today.

      I’ll isolate and regroup.

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