Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Genesis or the Application of One's Self

"In the beginning, God created the Boy Genius™. He saw that he was good".
Well, it may not have been exactly that way, but it sounds good, huh? Actually it was slightly less dramatic. As a kid at Camellia Avenue Elementary School in the early 50s, I displayed some unusual talents. My art skills were quite advanced for a 5 year old and the teachers took note. I've posted a painting that I did in kindergarten and another that I did, almost 60 years later. Yeah, yeah, I know, "which one is which?" Later on as I learned to read, I was reading at a level far above the usual Dick and Jane stuff. I got into trouble for reading my entire textbook in a few days, rather than waiting for the whole class to struggle along, at one or two pages a day. Again, the teachers took note. It was during this time that someone decided that I should be tested. I'm not sure if it was to find out if I was bright or an idiot savant. They gave me the Stanford Binet IQ test. I scored 124. Now, this should have marked a turning point in my young life. However, this was the unenlightened 50s. I suppose I was expected to do better, at that point, without any outside influence. I was never guided into any special programs or counseled in any way. I was just told, every time that I screwed up, that I was a smart kid and that I should "apply" myself. My parents, who were good people, pretty much did the same. I don't know if they were intimidated, by a snot nosed kid who may have been smarter than they were, or not. So, all of this, and my life long inability to focus on anything for more than an hour or two, led to a school career marked by failure with occasional bursts of mediocrity. I graduated from high school with a low C average. I attended school in the Navy and did well because the curriculum interested me. Later I attended welding school with the same results. I never had to study during either course. That is the extent of my formal education. I bounced around, pretty much, the rest of my working life doing this and that. I was an embalmer, an auto body and paint guy, a teamster, a carpenter and a bunch of other stuff. I guess my failure to "apply" myself led to my failure to capitalize on my, alleged, talents.
So, to get to the point of all this. Little Carl was a 7 year old "Boy Genius™", Big Carl is a pretty smart guy. No more and certainly no less. Do I feel that I am smarter than everyone else? No, I do not. I feel that I am smarter than most, if not all, of the ditzels, dimwits and career under achievers that we all come into contact with every day. I can, usually, do the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle. I can visualize a finished product while looking at a raw piece of material. I can do, basic, math. I can speak, spell and write reasonably well. I can dress myself. Am I still a Boy Genius™? Yes, absolutely. An adult genius ...........Nahhh, just Ol' Carl, the guy that knows how to do a variety of things with a fair degree of competence.

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