Mitt and Maewen

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Tue Sep 19 10:02:44 EDT 2000

>> It's like other immortal characters in fiction, like vampires and
>> Highlander-style immortals.  They almost never act their age, and I'd
>> living so long should have *some* effect on their personalities.

Not sure about this. I think it's *looking* my age that makes me *act* it. I
know I get a shock when I see my face in a mirror. I usually think -there's
Mother! for a split second. I suspect it's this mirror shock that makes some
middle-aged men (or women) take up with very young partners. The m-a person
simply doesn't *feel* m-a.

I saw an interesting reverse to this once, BTW. When my son James was 13 or
so, he made friends with a genius - the son of a surgeon and a university
lecturer. Alex was a maths/music genius with electronics, English, language
and computer sciences on the side. It was the computer/electronics interest
that he shared with my James. Now James is/was of normal intelligence. He is
a quick study and is a natural crammer - and has the happy way of doing just
as well as he wants or needs. He sometimes outperforms his peers who have
higher IQs because he is able to study and has a placid temperament which
means he doesn't mind exams.

The point is that young Alex had a lot of trouble making friends with his
peers because he simply wasn't a child. Prior to James his friends had all
been adults. He used to talk to me on the same terms as an intellectual
adult would - obviously bending to my level. So - I'd guess an Alex-type
might well take up with a much older romantic partner, simply in an effort
to get the benefit of experience which could "stand in" for high IQ.

It is, of course, a cliché to speak of the genius who is a duffer at games
so I was unreasonably miffed to learn that Alex was afraid of any animal
bigger than a goldfish and couldn't swim. James, a fisherman/swimmer, came
home from school camp and remarked placidly that he'd "got Alex through" the
water sports part of their course. It seems he loaded the poor lad into a
2-man kayak, assured him he wouldn't let him drown and gave him a
cram-course in paddling.

Does anyone have any theory about this "intellectual wimp" cliché came into
being? *Is* it just a cliché, or was Alex really typical?

Alex, rather to my annoyance, left the state when he was 16... I'd rather
like to have seen what he turned into. I believe he's still in touch with
James via e-mail, so maybe I'll find out one day. And yes - James, at
pushing 20, still makes firends persistently with people who are higher IQ
than he is. I wonder if that means he'll marry a very bright partner?


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