Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm Getting Not Smarter

I didn’t want this to happen. I mean, I don’t think anybody wants this to happen. I remember hearing that your IQ peaks somewhere around 6th grade, which I believe was also the last time I handed in my math homework on time.

But I had always thought that as I got older it would be an upward climb to a feeling of confidence, security, and wisdom.

Not so much.

I appear to be on the road to confusion, disarray, and… dumbness.

The more I strive for wisdom the closer I feel myself getting closer to the time when I was a kid and I got a bead stuck in my nose.


I don’t know if my own stupidity is rubbing off on other people, or if theirs has rubbed off on me. But the more I think about it, the more I worry about it, and the more likely I am to make stupid mistakes. As with most problems in my life, it started when I made fun of somebody else.

After I moved out of my parents’ house I had to change my address on all of my bank statements, credit cards, etc. Well shortly after I did so I received a letter in the mail from my bank. It said:

Dear Valued Customer,

The security of your personal information is very important to us. This letter confirms receipt of your recent address change.

We have updated our records with your new information. If you had not requested an address change, please contact our customer service department.

We value your relationship with us and look forward to being of service to you for many years to come.


Your Bank

This letter had to be forwarded to me at my new address because the bank sent it to my house.

The house I moved out of.

The house I told them I no longer lived in.

I can’t even wrap my brain around the logic that did not go into sending this letter. Shouldn’t they be organized? You are a BANK! I give you people my money because you are SUPPOSED to know what you are doing!

Looking back now I think that should have been my first clue that banks weren’t as on top of their stuff as they should have been, but that is neither here nor there.

As I was ranting against the bank I was thinking about how they should keep better track of the important information like I do.

Well, kind of.

I did my taxes recently. Well, I mean, I didn’t really do them I just did what Turbo Tax told me to do like I did last year. And after being fortunate enough to get money back AND not go to jail last year, I thought I would be more diligent this year to ensure I could get even more money back.

But when I went into my drawer of files I found out something.

I had not done that. In fact I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I completely took for granted that I would remember how to do my taxes. In my drawer of pay stubs, credit card statements, and 1098 forms I found… Magazine articles, script pages, and a takeout menu.

Not exactly tax material. Somehow my “Tax and Important Document” drawer had turned into my “Shove crap in this drawer because somebody is coming over and you don’t want to look like a slob” drawer.

And then I realized I wasn’t the only one who appeared to be disorganized.

I take the train at least 2 different times a day. And since the NY subway system is so old there is construction, all the time, always, ever. They will usually post the change for a particular train on an orange sign and hang it on the walls of that station. But some times, like this weekend, it gets out of hand.

Just because there is a giant orange F on the outside of the train does not make it an F train. It could be an E train, or a Volkswagen, or a rocket ship. Even though he sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, you really have to pay attention to the announcement from the conductor on the train.

So one of those crazy construction weekends, a train pulled into the Herald square station with an F on the side of it and I asked the conductor, “Is this an F train?”

He looked at me as if I had asked him what kind of Camembert would go well with a ’97 Beaujolais. So I leveled with him and said “Hey man, I know it says F on the side but it wouldn’t be the first time the letter didn’t mean anything.”

The conductor laughed and bowed his head as if to acknowledge my point. He said, “That’s a good one man.” He even gave me a little wave as he pulled away on the train that was apparently exactly what it claimed to be.

I thought the same kind of logic would endear me to a city bus driver on a recent weekend.

Not so much.

He had parked his bus and was getting off and I was worried I had missed the bus I wanted, the bus that went to the train station. I wanted to ask him if this bus went to this train station, but in my haste I walked up to him and said, “Where does this bus stop?”

He looked at me without a trace of emotion pointed to the ground, said, “Right here.”

Damn it.

Perhaps if I just took the time to think out my questions, and maybe organize my life a little bit, I wouldn’t make myself look like such a goof.

After all, they say there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. So does that make ME a stupid people? And if a stupid person asks a stupid question, does that make it smart?

Never mind, my brain just exploded.


Pond said...

Just be glad you aren't blonde as well.. it takes a terrible toll ;)

Jordyn said...

SO relieved that I'm not the only human whose childhood includes the sticking of beads up one's nose.

French Shelter said...

Part of public transportation training is the diving into a bible of quotes that are designed to confuse, astonish and inspire pure adoration.


one is dumb until one turns 30,
at which point one becomes dumber...
and thank god for that...
because imagine if you had to be
responsible for your smartness...

see what I mean? And I'm 41!!

Joey's Dream Garden said...

I think people who haven't put beads up their nose when a tot, must be very strange! I'm 36 and I still do it... so yes I'm still yet to achieve the pinnacle of wisdom and intelligence!

PS I love reading your rambling posts, keep writing!

Caroline B said...

Many's the time I have had to restrain myself from running after someone and shouting 'no, no, that's not what I meant, I'm really not stupid, just listen ...' but instead shuffle off feeling hot with shame at the rubbish I said. I can't wait to be old then I can pretend anything daft I say is down to senile which time, it probably will be.

Christopher said...

Just carry around some heavy philosophical reading with you or a book on quantum physics. Then people will think you're so smart that you're absent minded, that's what I do.

Jeninacide said...

Hahaha! I think my dad says something like "There is no such thing as stupid questions, only stupid ANSWERS." So, that is what I would say to that bus driver.

Rowena... said...

Looking at that 2nd image....I would be so LOST and STUPID in New York. Stick me in the middle of an alpine forest and I can usually find my way out as long as I have a compass (for that reason, owning one makes me smart).

Nancy said...

What the heck is with beads? My youngest stopped the festivities at birthday party pulling that stunt. It was a major issue, believe me! The one birthday party her father was responsible for...

Michelle said...

To quote the ever-insightful "Idiocracy:"

The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.

Anonymous said...
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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Maybe the bead is still stuck in your nose? Seriously though, I so get what you are saying, I had a very slow brain to begin with, and than I went off and had children, I can honestly declare that I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader. You, my friend - you have time on your side, your young, vibrant, live in NYC which stimulates your brain the minute you step out on the sidewalk, hey wait - maybe you are being too stimulated??! Just a thought! BTW- I am in LOVE with your writing, and I LOVE your other bloggity blog too!!! Thanks for finding me!


ummm. i have never claimed to be super smart or above average smart and yet i am responsible for raising 2 small children a dog and a husband. and yes that IS what is wrong with the world.

Julia said...

I work in a school, and anything up the nose is normal but if you eat the paste....that has long term effects!!! This post was a great read! Thanks :)

Lady V said...

I often look-sound stupid. Who gives a fuck...I don't:)

Old School/New School Mom said...

I would just like to point out that whenever I attempt to read the subway re-routing signs, I feel dumber and dumber. "There is no C train service. Instead there will be a shuttle bus that will take you to Kenya and then back to Brooklyn where you can proceed on your journey to Manhattan."

The Kid In The Front Row said...

you shouldn't trust the banks with your money, not after these last few years.

not that i really have any clue what's happened these last few years, but someone on tv threw a brick threw a bank window in london, and another bank closed, and another one lost all it's money or loaned all its money, or something - and generally we can blame all the banks for everything; for debts, for poverty, for swine flu; maybe even for unexplained aged induced dumbness.

so, therefore, you really shouldn't expect the banks to know what they're doing, or where you live. none of that made any sense i just really wanted to leave a comment, i apologise.

Pat said...

Ha! At first I thought you were going to say that you put your old address down as the new address so it was all your fault!

Welcome to the world of stupidness! It was getting lonely here! Nice to see you!

I guess it's not 'cause I'm blond, either. Plus - the drapes don't match the carpeting, if you get my drift, so the stupidness must be in my genes! Shit! I just FEEL stupider because I'm blond.

Cathy said...

6th grade is when it peaks? I thought I had kept some of my intelligence in tact until at least 25! But then I went and had children...I swear as I was pushing my oldest child out one end, brains were disappearing out the other end! And, sad to say, they have never regenerated!
And I actually think kids who put beads up their noses are being creative - why put them on a string like those boring kids? Now, eating paste, that's just plain stupid - beads - there's creativity!