Don’t you love the way people always have the perfect guy for you… and don’t know a thing about him? I sometimes feel like certain people just automatically think “smart, offbeat – hey, let’s set him up with Bad4!” That might be enough for them, but it’s not really enough for me.
Person: I have a guy for you, Bad4.
Me: So tell me about him.
P: Well, he’s really smart.
Me: Really. How?
Now, I ask this because experience has taught me that “really smart” can be roughly translated as “ability to talk about things I don’t understand.” The exact smartness level indicated is then a relative variable dependent upon the knowledge base of the speaker. For the average special ed teacher, for example, “smart” can mean “he took Intro to Physics and won’t let anybody forget it.”
P: At the bar mitzvah where he met my brother, he was talking about how the band could save money by turning the vibrations from their music into electricity.
I say “Hm” because I’m not exactly impressed yet. What kind of obsessive geek subjects a captive audience to his hair-brained electricity-saving scheme? And if he were really smart, he would have spent the bar mitzvah sketching the final blueprint on a napkin and avoiding red wine so his shirt would still be white for his meeting with the venture capitalists the next day.
The truth is, I’m sorry to say, too many people with science and math degrees are just big-mouthed show-offs. I’ve heard solid C-students brag about impressing girls at the bar by telling them that their glass of beer is really just a triple integral. If these girls had taken the multivariable calculus course they’d know that this brilliant line about beer glasses is the most basic piece of information you can come out with – liking “cells are the building blocks of life” from bio class. But they haven’t, so they think these guys are uber-clever.
P: (sees I’m unimpressed) He’s getting a PhD at Cooper Union.
On the one hand, “Cooper Union” is a pretty decent indication of smartness. On the other…
Me: Cooper doesn’t have a PhD program.
P: Well, he’s doing something advanced in anthropology there.
Me: They don’t have an anthropology department.
P: Well, it’s something like that. I’ll find out for you. So do you want to go out with him?
Me: Um… Well… you haven’t really told me anything about him.
P: Well, what else would you want to know?
Me: Is he a mentch? Does he learn? What does he want to be when he grows up? Where’s he from?
P: Oh, I’m not sure. But that’s research stuff – you can find out after he’s looked into you.
Me: Then what exactly are you asking me here? Would I be willing to consider a guy who is smart and who may or may not be pursuing an advanced degree possibly in anthropology or else in Cooper Union? Yes. I’d also consider a guy of average intelligence pursuing a degree in advanced vocal arts at the Julliard School. That’s not make-it-or-break-it information.
P: Okay. I’ll get back to you then.
P is never heard from again. Possibly it’s because I’m being a difficult, unreasonable single. Or maybe she couldn’t find him again.