Friday, August 15, 2008

Child Prodigies

I don't much like child prodigies. It doesn't have anything to do with them personally (for the most part (I think)), but moreso just the effect of their existence. Any endeavor you want to pursue, any hobby you want to take up or anything you think you're good at, there's some adorable little prepubescent kid somewhere that's already better at that thing than you can ever hope to be before you die. Trying to learn guitar? You can't even get an F-major chord to sound anything remotely like music, but that little kid in Japan can shred like van Halen (and I don't think he even knows who that is).

When I was a student I was always in advanced or gifted classes. Calm down, I'm not bragging, I'm just providing some perspective. I was particularly good with words and stuff. I always read ahead of my grade level, and pretty quickly just left the grade levels and read at an adult level (thanks to Mom's library and the awesomeness that is Stephen King). I won a lot of spelling bees. What good was that when there was always some Indian kid that still wore Velcro shoes, but knew how to spell triskaidekaphobia? In junior high I was in PASS (Program for Academically Superior Students--how Aryan does that sound?), but what did that matter when other kids my age were starting their freshman year at Cal Tech? I would use the mental balm of telling myself that I had more friends and knew how to have more fun than those kids, but let's be honest. No one enjoys the years from 13-19, and everyone feels like some kind of freak with fingers for eyebrows. So why not feel that way while pursuing a Ph.D. in Sanskrit?

Alright, fine, I admit it. I'm jealous of prodigies. I'm jealous. Is that better? Before I was aware of them I was one of the smartest kids I knew. Then I was just above average. Then began the systematic destruction of my standards. In junior high I dropped out of PASS. In high school I slept through my AP Latin exam. In college I downshifted from a Physics major to Communications, and then finally to Theatre. Now I'm temping.

Thanks Doogie. You asshole.

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