What’s the use of being smart when life has a nasty habit of making you look dumb?
I got good grades in school. The other kids called me teacher’s pet because they were jealous of my truly impressive collection of gold stars. I’m not bragging, merely explaining why I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent. And yet…
I can’t spell “occasion.” 1c, 2s’s? 2c’s, 1s? 2c’s and the s’s can go jump in the lake? If spell check isn’t handy, I have to change the word to “event.” It’s the same with “dessert” vs “desert.” I know the memory trick that “strawberry shortcake” and “dessert” both have 2 s’s, but I play mind games with myself – how about “sandy Sahara?” Then I’m lost again.
I can’t say “subsistence.” I like to watch those TV shows about people living off the land in remote places like Alaska. If I’m at a party and we’re talking about the morality of clubbing a baby seal if the alternative is starving to death, my first attempt at this word is “SUB-sti-dence.” Next I go with “sub-SIDE-dunce.” Then comes “SUB-stance.” By the time I’ve fumbled my fourth attempt, whoever I was trying to impress with the big word has already sneaked away to find another drink.
I don’t know when to use “whom” vs “who.” I’ve lost the will to even try with this anymore. Luckily my hubby, Bill, has serious English grammar chops. I go straight to him for a ruling instead of worrying my pretty, little head about it.
I don’t know my parents’ address. I’m pretty sure the street name is Stoney Creek, but I don’t know if that’s a Rd, St, Lane or Rte. The number is anyone’s guess. Given that they moved there 8 years ago, you might expect me to know this by now, but I blame them. They’re the ones who abandoned my ancestral home.
I am clueless with geography. I’m confident I can name the states immediately bordering Illinois in roughly the proper order, but anything beyond that is beyond me.
I have a friend who moved to Guinea almost a year ago, and I still can’t figure out where that is. The smarty pants among you may be asking, “Which Guinea?” Exactly. It turns out there are scores of places with variations on this name scattered all over the globe. There are something like 10 of them in Africa alone! I always refer to her new home as “down there.”
I was pretty good at geography in school, so this is clearly not my fault. I blame all the countries that have sprung up, merged or irresponsibly changed their names since I memorized them in grade school. Back then, when asked to identify a country you could guess “USSR” and have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
I’m comforted by the thought that I’m not alone in this. I have a friend who can’t grasp Sudoku puzzles, no matter how many times the concept has been explained to her. I bet everyone has at least one knowledge blind spot.
To be honest, I have a few more little problem areas besides these. I’d be glad to list them all if anybody is interested – it will only take the next 283 blog posts.