Let me preface this by saying that my IQ is 143 and as a child I was kind of a bigshot with most of the adults in my life because of this genius status. I don’t want to brag but it’s all true and completely relevant with what I have to talk about. I’m 100% sure that all parents in the country have this desire to have a super smart son or daughter and the lengths that we go through to achieve this desire is evident from the various products and programs that are supposed to enhance mental ability even in unborn children. There are Mozart records for pregnant women, milk products that beat steroids in chemical content, books entitled ‘Analytic Geometry for Toddlers’, and sperm banks boasting swimmer specimen from Hawking. Okay the last two are fake, but you get the point?
In a previous post, I mentioned a Grade Five (I can say Fifth Grade, but where’s the Filipino-ness in that?) Math textbook discussing fractions in a ridiculously confusing manner. I’m a college senior and I didn’t get the explanation the first time I read it, what chance could an eleven year-old have? Anyway, I found out who the authors were: Adela C. Villamayor and Amelia D. Celeridad – Wright. They were supposedly bigshots in the academic world and there’s a tradition, a kind of rite of passage, among academic bigshots to write a textbook at least once in your life/career. I’m sure that was their intention in writing Math for Life 5, if their real intention was for the benefit of young learners everywhere, they would’ve done a better job than the garbage they published. But I ramble.
Parents put a lot of effort into making sure that their children got what they deserve, as long as it fits their budgets. When asked why they’re sending their children to an advanced preschool classroom, they invoke the age-old parental excuse, “We just want the best for our children.” What about what their kids want? Did they even consider that? The world is a horrible place to live in and making sure that your kid is smart enough to figure this harsh fact at a very young age is the most cruel thing a parent can do to their child. I know I wouldn’t do that to my hypothetical future son/daughter. I saw this documentary in QTV once entitled, “Growing Up Gifted” and it was very informative about the topic. Unfortunately, it didn’t show the downside of being an insufferable know-it-all.
The world is a horrible place to live in and making sure that your kid is smart enough to figure this harsh fact at a very young age is the most cruel thing a parent can do to their child.
Firstly, decision making gets really hard because knowing a lot doesn’t always mean that you get to make the best decisions in life. If you’re deciding between two really close choices, you’d really twist your brains to figure out which one you really want. If you chose Option A, you know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re not getting. You’d feel fine about your choice but then there’s a part of you that’s going to kill your soul slowly for not knowing what it would be like had you chosen Option B.
Then there’s the endless paranoia that creeps into your waking thoughts about the things you know and how it affects yourself and other people in their daily lives. And when you’re in some sort of trouble, this paranoia is magnified into colossal proportions because you’ve figured out exactly what’s waiting for you on the other side before you can even open the door to face it. Ultimately, you’d get chronic episodes of severe depression because of this and you’d be technically disabled for the rest of the said episode’s duration.
Then there’s the constant irritation you’d feel towards the stupider people around you day in and day out. You’d feel annoyed at your boss for making a very stupid decision that you know would lead your officemates and yourself into some sort of predicament, and then afterwards you’d beat yourself up for it because there was absolutely nothing you could’ve done to stop it. Or you’d feel annoyed at your friends for always making the same mistakes over and over again despite the fact that you’ve already given them sound advice about it several times in the past. Or you’d feel annoyed at your family whenever they get the urge to do embarrassing stuff in public especially when you’re with them.
For the parents out there who want a genius baby, I suggest you reconsider your wishes. If you ask me, it’s better to have a hardworking child than a smart one. But who am I, right? I’m just a self-proclaimed genius who sees too far ahead for his own good.
I think I’m old enough to know that sometimes, no matter how much we plan things to go a certain way, there’s always a chance that it won’t. There’s always something that gets in the general way of our plans. It could be some small overlooked detail in the preparation, an unexpected event that takes precedence over the current state of things, or it could be some drunk A-hole who decided to take a piss on your new pair of shoes, but whatever obstacle fate sends our way, I’ve also learned that nine times out of ten, there’s nothing we can do about it but accept it and find a way to get around it. I have looked forward to several things I planned for the past weekend and, as always, the disappointments were disappointing, the frustrations were frustrating, and my moods were supernaturally annoying.
My brother and I were supposed to have a one-on-one match last Sunday, the showdown that was always meant to be: Defense of the Ancients! I looked forward to it because I really thought my brother was good at the game and I was so excited that I can finally have someone to face me besides the usual AI, which after several weeks gets so predictable and boring. So anyway, three hours, four rounds, and thirty-three embarrassing losses later, I got bored because my brother turned to be such a weakling. I thought when I finally faced my brother on a DotA battle, it’d be exciting. Oh well, Mai was right, victory is boring.
Meanwhile, the little girl I’ve been tutoring at Math came by while my brother and I were out playing at some computer shop deep in the heart of Dasmariñas. I didn’t think she’d come over because it was a Sunday night. Apparently she did, and so I missed her. She’ll be back tomorrow, I know she will. Besides, when I agreed to her mother when she asked me to tutor her at Math I didn’t give guarantees about my schedule. My conscience is clear.
By the way, I think I need to share this abysmal Math textbook that little girl has. She’s eleven years old and she’s studying in one of those mushrooming private schools all over the rural world. I’m helping her with fractions and when I took a look at the book the school issued her, I thought it was as helpful as a spoon for slicing. The instructions were plainly too confusing for any eleven year old to understand. It was like, “In dividing fractions in mixed form, we take the whole number and divide it by the other number from the dividend. The quotient should be equal to the product of the divisor’s numerators and the reciprocal of the dividend’s denominator… etc.” Ever get this feeling that its textbooks like these which make studying so goddamn fun? Me neither. No wonder, Filipino children are getting dumber and dumberer every year. It’s so ironic that the textbook which was supposed to make a kid smarter is making the same kid feel a hell of a lot dumber. And the blame goes to the scholars who write these books as testament to their scholarly scholarliness, instead of as tools to help un-scholars make it through a single day at school learning something new. I forgot the name of the author and the publisher but don’t worry, I’ll put it up next post so you guys can stay away from it, or burn it, whatever you think is fitting for garbage like that.
Those scholars are the reason why I don’t ever want to be successful. At least not in the way most people view how success should be. I just want to find something that I enjoy doing. You know that old saying that goes, find a job you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life? I’m really betting all my luck on that. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my job-finding expedition the next day because when I called Shenna in the morning, she was sick like I was. She has had a cold which was turning to be a really severe cough and she just couldn’t make it. That was a little bit disappointing, because I was really looking forward to it. I even printed my resume on scented paper and everything! (Not.) And to top it all off, yesterday, my mother and my sister went to Cainta for a visit and when they got home they brought with them some of the stuff I left there except one. You guessed it, they didn’t bring my Superman shirt with them.
Disappointments add flavor to life. Without them, life would be fast filled with people’s success stories, it’s going to be nauseating. So hooray for disappointments and keep on reading for more on My Life in Exile.