Smarter than the average, um, bear (was Re: Checking in)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Mon Jan 26 23:25:08 EST 2004

On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 10:25:53 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>>I should be rejoining my friends upstairs (role-playing game night) but I
>>had to share:  I forgot myself in a conversation two nights ago and in the
>>heat of the moment used a Latin phrase and received BOTH the I-feel-really-
>>stupid look AND the "Wow, you're so smart, it's just amazing how much you
>>know" self-deprecation.  I really hate that.  I would rather keep up the
>>illusion that everyone I deal with is smart and self-confident instead of
>>feeling like a puppy-kicking bully.  I may be a Jeenyus and Allways Right,
>>but I don't have to like it.
>This reaction is rude. Just ask Miss Manners. It's rude because they are 
>trying to make you feel bad about being smart.

It *is* rude, made worse by the fact that most people who do this to me have
exactly no idea they are being rude.  They seem to think of it as coping
with inadequacy or, I don't know, giving you a compliment.  I'm not kidding.

People seem to live just fine with friends who are better at sports or
better craftsmen or amazing gardeners without seeing it as a reproach.  But
you can fool yourself that those talented people had to put in hard work or
get an education to be as good as they are.  When it's intelligence, there's
just no getting away from the fact that it's an innate difference--even if
it isn't, even if your buddy is smart because he put in the hours studying,
somehow it's all "Oh, I could never do that" or "geez, wish I were that
smart."  Suddenly it's all about them and how dumb they are (even if they're
not).  I don't know anyone who's done this intentionally to make me feel, one person, but I didn't have to deal with her for long.  It would
be easier if I could be rude in return, but I can't bring myself to it.  I'm
just an old softie really.  :)

Melissa Proffitt
(on that note, did I mention we nicknamed our new kitten Wee Mad Arthur?)

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