All the Facts I Need to Know
Here’s an IM snippet from my life –
Erica: I have a question. You’ve explained this to me before. But I’ve forgotten.
Very Patient Friend Sean: shoot
Erica: How do I [do simple math thing that I never quite learned in third grade]?
Very Patient Friend Sean: [easy and thorough explanation, complete with examples of this idiotic problem that I’ve written down now but will forget how to do again soon]
(obviously edited to protect the terminally idiotic)
Erica: Thank you. You may now return to your regular scheduled, non-third-grade math life.
Sean: Watching the stock market on fire? check
Erica: Please. I can’t [do that simple math thing], you think I have a solid position on our economy? How about “Everyone sucks, the middle and lower income brackets are getting screwed and Obama is disappointing.” Will that cover me?
Sean: Yeah that pretty well covers it.
Erica: Its pretty much part of my default paradigm.
Erica: that and “people settle by water.”
Erica: With those two, I can pretty much fake any conversation, anywhere.
Sean: that will come in handy when we all go Mad Max in a few years
Erica: p.s. i may be blogging this conversation of ours.
Sean: about the math?
Erica: I may leave that part out.
So, aside from accepting that my dog may have better math skills than I do – it’s pretty true about the very few things I’ve needed to know that have gotten me through a lot of cocktail parties and more than my fair share of social studies essays.
I’ve really only needed to know a few things to BS my way through a good chunk of conversations. Sure, I’ve had to add in some opinions and make some inferences and leaps – but the backbones are:
1. People settle by water.
2. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
3. The Magna Carta was signed in 1215. It had something to do with limiting the rights of the lords. Or the kings. Or something. But amazingly, it’s come up in my life a few times, and I am always super proud of remembering that date.
4. I have a pretty solid understanding of evolution and the follies of Lamarckian theories of inheritance.
5. An army marches on it’s stomach.
6. I have a decent recognition of a good chunk of Shakespearean and Biblical stories.
With those handful of things, I’ve managed to fool most people into thinking I’m pretty reasonably intelligent. And for the rest of it? There’s people who will keep my secret and help explain basic arithmetic to me. Or why planes stay up. Or why water doesn’t just spontaneously get created. And those poor fools will have to keep explaining it to me – because my brain doesn’t have any more room and is full of stories about polygamous, mentally-ill Nazi vampires. And Yiddish. And trivia about Elvis. And which fork to use for which course. You know, important stuff.