They’re everywhere, I tell you, misunderstood geniuses and wolves in sheep’s clothing. The former, naturally, are a self-identifying group and the latter generally people who pose as, and more often than not, sincerely believe themselves to be, benign when they are in reality malignant. And it amazes me yet more profoundly to note how many humans manage to occupy the intersecting subset. A veritable embarrassment of riches, I say.The Misunderstood Genius [MG] sorts I have known range from those with certifiably stratospheric IQs to folk I would deem more simply ‘certifiable‘, yet the number fitting into the truly brilliant bunch continually astonish me with their ability to be fantastically endowed with intelligence and ignorant or downright stupid in perfect simultaneity. The clear and incessantly demonstrated fact is that a high IQ has nothing to do with self-awareness, social skills, political acumen or just plain being right. While MGs are busy nursing their indignation over being ignored and repressed, made the scapegoat, under-appreciated, envied, maltreated and squelched by their personal versions of The Man, and muttering imprecations into their shiny academic loving-cups, their supposed inferiors are burnishing less impressive tools to get something real accomplished or merely live life.Meanwhile, since the universe would so clearly be better (!) if it accepted MGs’ greatness, these people tend to see themselves as benefactors of the universe, if not its modest deities. Being misapprehended and under-admired is not proof, after all, that one isn’t fabulous. This is where the intersection of neglected magnificence and false-faced kindliness is nurtured. While there is a whole range of persons who present themselves as sweet and cuddly and kindhearted and are anything-but, right on up to full-blown sociopaths, there is this weird zone within it that is the dwelling place of those who think themselves unfairly ostracized or disliked. Whether they do so consciously or not, it seems to me that many MGs also build up quite a repertoire of acts wherein they play at sympathetic and philanthropic and other deliciously, invitingly admirable roles, all the while keeping a hand free to check on the availability of their ‘concealed carry’. It’s not only the guy in the clock tower that’s picking off passersby with his rifle but, more often, the one armed only with attitude that picks off everyone around, one chip of the communal atmosphere of support and collegiality and congeniality at a time.
There is a lady who is the Ring-mistress, though she claims to be a “domesticated clown”, in her family’s circus of life, the lovely Belle of the Carnival. While busy juggling the necessities of family life artfully, she is also a graceful philosopher-provocateuse, posing and dilating upon and otherwise exploring questions of interest ranging from the when-why-how of developing creativity to her 4 January post asking whether ‘grass is greener syndrome’ is not still a very common problem among us. I, for one, can raise a hand affirming my vulnerability to that ailment.
It’s not exactly news that I’m always peering over fences and into shop windows with an acquisitive eye. My magpie lust for all things shiny, fabulous, mysterious, arcane or otherwise alluring is hardly a surprise to anyone, and I am certainly not above wishing myself as brainy, as desirable, as clever, as witty or as talented as another person. If not more so, she said sheepishly, for who doesn’t like the idea of being the best at something once in a blue moon? I thrive on the drive for what’s rich and beautiful and compelling.
That’s when I look in the mirror and see someone who looks like Rasputin, and I mean the after-assassination version, when he’s been poisoned and shot and stabbed and clubbed and drowned and dismembered (!) and whatever else the Keystone Killers ultimately tried to bump him off. (This, because no matter how charismatic he was to some–and he really must’ve been charismatic to have the influence and power he gained, because let’s face it, he wasn’t exactly a Hollywood hottie and I’ve read that his personal hygiene, if any, was apparently ineffectual–there were those, including his assassins obviously, who found him wonderfully repellent.) So there I am, mirror gazing and seeing this unpleasant creature gawping back at me, and I think, Self, you need to switch out those nasty green glasses of envy for something a whole lot more rosy-toned. To which my inner self responds that clearly I am smarter than I look at the moment.
And I know it’s time to haul my inner Pollyanna back out of the cupboard. I need to be so optimistic as to not only see myself as perhaps worthy of a little envy myself but also to be surrounded by stupendous and spectacularly fine people, things and circumstances. Then I remember that I really am ‘all that’. Where others may be looking at life as a massive mound of manure and seeing only the steaming heap, I’m the village Natural who says, Well, if there’s all of this fine compost, why there must be a pony in here somewhere!
So I start digging. And I think, yes, I have got it great and I’m not such a slouch myself. Heck, I would trade lives with me if I were someone else! There might be enough little occurrences of peeling paint or math-phobia or hangnails or totaled cars or intestinal indisposition here and there in my oeuvre to keep me from appearing in any way fiction-perfect, but the sum total of my existence is, was and ever shall be (hope, hope) mighty nice indeed. Here I am, rolling on into my second half century with twenty-eight undaunted original teeth, working body parts basically functioning tolerably well, a decent education under my belt (any indecencies having been added by the recipient), living a comfortable and entertaining life with the Love of it (my life), and having a remarkable quantity of chances to meet fascinating and admirable people, to go astounding places, eat as much hypnotically delectable food as I dare (plus a little extra), wear whatever I jolly well want to wear, and not talk on the phone for whole days if I don’t feel like it.
In fact, my life is so good that I can admit to you that yesterday’s post about fantasizing favorite things in life is essentially all stuff I’ve already had the privilege of experiencing, some of it many times in different ways and combinations. Clearly, I don’t even have to be a terribly imaginative person to invent a fantastic life when I’m simply privileged enough to live it, do I. When you’ve seen a field of blue poppies pierced with late afternoon brilliance, you’ve stood in the hollows of the worn stone steps of Canterbury Cathedral watching history sift down in the dusty lamplight, you’ve eaten the exquisitely dainty Toast Skagen in Vaxholm where the shrimp apparently leapt from the sea directly onto your piece of buttery bread, you’ve crossed the Charles bridge over the Vltava in an evening mist so pearly that the statues seem to hover between inanimation and life–you have no need to go far to summon magical thoughts of all sorts into being. When you’ve carried a squalling baby over your arm singing an old nursery song until the colicky tension finally leaves her body in a sigh and she droops asleep, you’ve built forts in the shadowy midst of the tall Douglas-firs just to picnic there, you’ve ridden a train along the flanks of the Italian Alps and you’ve wandered Viejo San Juan to stand on the sandstone overlook and blink in amazement at the surreal turquoise of the crystalline seas, and you’ve had a sweet young calf nuzzle up against you in a grassy spring pasture, well, miracles must seem almost an everyday phenomenon.
It would be crass, given all of that, to sulk over things not had, places not gone. I’ve admitted to the infrequent twinge, more of a tiny zip of static really, but let’s face it, if I were to mope around coveting and envying I would be as big a heap of steaming whatsis as the aforementioned one that might or might not have contained the proverbial pony. So I will simply say that I am never permanently surfeited, what with being a mere mortal and all, and only consider each fresh miracle dropped into my undeserving but avid gift-receptacle lap as so much additional icing on the cake, another sparkler to add to my coronet of childish cheer and delight.
On which note, I must tell you that yet another unreasonably generous person has granted me the Versatile Blogger Award today. Pamela Zimmer, having been a most deserving recipient herself as the writer of the engaging and inspirational blog Stories of a Mom–ostensibly about being a mother (having devoted herself to this admirable and challenging art in trade for her previous profession as an architect)–sets a high standard for versatility herself. Somehow it seems appropriate that her name means “room” since her blog provides a welcoming place for finding like-minded and thoughtful and spirited companionship and insight, one of those homes-in-the-ether that are such a grand find through blog reading and writing. Many thanks to Pamela for this great kindness, and for reminding me indeed of this other boon I’ve been granted in the last year: finding a whole new world to explore and in which to meet, learn, rejoice, ponder, commiserate and laugh. These are among the riches that anyone viewing my life should well find enviable–though I’d love nothing more than that no one had need to envy me but would rather be equally rich and content.I wouldn’t mind having a pony, mind you; however, our back patio mightn’t be the ideal digs for one, especially if that bobcat still lives in the greenbelt backing our property, so I’ll gladly accept in its stead the VBA, which I believe requires less hay and currying and de-worming medication. And I say, Thanks again for Everything!