Americans still dream of their kids getting college degrees so they can ascend the ladder of success. Campuses...libraries...book clubs...history-channel programming are all part of the intellectual zeitgeist of the aspiring citizen. In the meantime, Joe Six Pack at the corner tavern chuckles. He feels you can sometime be "too smart for your own good," recalling times when the smart kids came in last. Our hard drinking neighbor Jimmy Logan was famous for that statement just before he fell off the stool.
Was Jimmy kidding himself? In some ways we all kid ourselves by defending our own turf. On the other hand, I've learned over the years of campuses, libraries and such that Jimmy may have had a point. There are times when you can be too smart for your own good.
Take these five examples:
1. Every time my car stalls on the highway I promptly do what most American males do -- lift up the hood and study the engine. Which may make me look smart to the passengers whereas it would be much smarter to simply admit my dumbness and immediately call AAA for help.
2. Every time I get a new prescription I am advised to read the label. Smart, right? Well, up to a point. I've decided to stop reading that ominous list of side-effects after the first three. Proceeding further is only to walk deeper into a black tunnel of dangers so remote that it's smart to remain dumb
3. Every time I study the financial news I try to be smart enough to decipher the latest economic theories being proposed. And God knows there are countless of these. But once you listen closely you hear so many "possibly," "in some cases," "under certain circumstances," and other hedge-their-bet qualifiers that these smart market experts are really shooting in some of the same dark as dumb you and me
4. Every time someone dredges up some dumb thing some smart candidate once did back in college, I've learned to dumb up and dismiss the whole silly irrelevant scandal
5. Every time my grandchildren ask "what was it like back then?" I am like all grandparents tempted to tell them. The good, the bad and the ugly. But at their tender age trembling at the brink of adult life, it's probably no time to play smart with the facts-of-life; instead simply play gentle with their innocence.
How many dumb's are on your list...??
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