Scarred for Life

I am currently sporting a three inch gash on my right cheek. The worst part about it is that I have been so sick that I don’t have a clue where it came from. I just surfaced from my swirling pool of delirium at one point and there it was. And of course the minute I knew it was there it started to hurt.

I hope it doesn’t leave a scar. I guess it’s actually more like a scratch. A bright red, deep, angry scratch. Maybe it’s something my enthusiastic dog visited upon me, or else the result of a bad wrestling match with my CPAP mask. I have been known to sleep walk and wind up in strange places, and Nyquil does tend to keep its secrets. I only know it looks like I’ve been in a bar fight. As people stare at me, I’m tempted to say, “You should see the other guy.”

It’s embarrassing to go out in public looking like this, especially since I don’t have a funny story to go along with it. It’s a good thing that I’m feeling so weak and unmotivated that I’m naturally lying low anyway. But in retrospect I needn’t have worried, because I forgot that I am now living in the Pacific Northwest.

You see, in Florida, if I had gone out like this, strangers would be stopping me on the street. “Child, what happened to you?” If I had been walking with my husband they might even say, “Did HE do this to you?” All while giving him the hairy eyeball. In the South, people are all up in your business.

But here in the Pacific Northwest you could walk down a busy street with a sucking chest wound and no one would even bat an eyelash. Here, no one wants to intrude. Its as if everyone walks around wearing a cloak of invisibility. You could have a second head growing out of your chest and the most intrusive interaction you’d have with somebody would be their inquiry as to what floor you are going to when you get on the elevator and can’t reach the buttons because your second head is in the way.

This has its pros and its cons. Sometimes I genuinely don’t want to be bothered with people, and here people make that very easy. You do you, I’ll do me. But I do miss that sense of community, and that honesty. Because come on, if you see a gash on a woman’s face, you really do want to know what the hell happened. At least I do. I’d rather someone asked than that they make up a story. I’d rather think that someone gives a shit rather than feel like I’m all alone in the world. I like my privacy, but I’d also like to think that there’s help out there if I should ever need it. Yes, there’s a happy medium in there somewhere. I just always seem to live out in the lunatic fringe, where all the extremes of behavior come home to roost.

In the meantime, until this wound heals, I’m kind of liking the Pacific Northwest realm of things. Here, my gash doesn’t exist. No one but small children will even look at it directly. No one will ever inquire about its origins. Therefore no one will never know that in this instance, their guess is as good as mine.

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The True Sign of Intelligence

I am fortunate enough to have a lot of extremely intelligent people in my life. I find intellect to be comforting. To me it says that problems can be solved, mysteries can be explained, success can be achieved and logic will prevail.

Unfortunately, too many people rely completely on the IQ test to measure intelligence, even the folks at Mensa who should know better, and that is a huge mistake. There are several schools of thought on the subject, but it has been posited that there are as many as 77 different forms of intelligence, and the IQ test measures only one.

In light of that fact, I’ve come up with a very simple, utterly unscientific method for determining who are the most intelligent people in my life. People who pass this test tend to be the ones I approach for advice, because they are not only smart, but they also care about others, and that matters a great deal to me.

Here’s the test. One question. And it’s not even a question you ask the person in, uh…question. No, you ask this of yourself. Is this person capable of making him or herself understood no matter whom he is talking to?

Think about it. Some of the people with the highest IQs in the world cannot pass this test. You ask them to explain something and they hit you with a long, drawn out, highly technical response that not only goes straight over your head but also leaves you feeling even more at sea than you did before you approached them. How valuable is that?

The most intelligent people I know are more well-rounded than that. They not only take in the inquiry, but they also take in the nature of the inquiry. In other words, what is it you’re really trying to find out, and why? They also look at the source of the inquiry. A truly intelligent person (by my yardstick, anyway) will have a different response for a highly inquisitive 5 year old than they would have for an extremely educated colleague in the same field of study.

That may seem like common sense, but you’d be amazed. But this measurement, many of the people in Mensa would be considered not very intelligent at all.

You can know everything there is to know, but if you are incapable of communicating that information, you are nothing more than a solved Rubik’s Cube sitting on a shelf.

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[Image credit: flytgr.tistory.com]