7/13/99 - Man, I feel dumb.  I got five hours of sleep, got to work before anyone else did, and smoked up last nite.  Combined with the knowledge that I'm not exactly a regular Steven Hawking, and I just feel stupid.  Well, not stupid enough; yesterday while I still had a pot buzz going on, I proofread a paper for Albutt for his Western Lit class for summer school.  I used to proofread in college for Sharon;  I was really thorough and exacting, which is why Sharon liked having me go over it with her.  I would have liked to have gone over her with Sharon, but you know how it is with me...

Occasionally I regret having such smart friends.  I always feel like the dummy.  In high school, I wasn't exactly destined to be an honors class-type student, but that's what I became.  I did terrible in middle school and early in high school.  My learning habits and skills were badly eroded, and my math level sucked.  While I managed to keep up academically, I was pretty limited in subject matter -- no AP Chemistry or Calculus for me.  I just stuck with stuff where I hd to read a lot and memorize shit -- like History and Bio.  Naturally, memorization turns out to be a skill in low demand in the modern workforce, which prefers analytical minds as opposed to rote memorization.  That's another one that God set against me...

My buds in high school all turned out to be pretty smart -- they were part of that Honors and AP clique at my new high school.  I don't think we were considered nerds per se; we didn't act goofy, or run around talking about D&D and shit.  Some of them were actually pretty damn popular.  But they were smart, naturally, nonetheless.  So I always felt like the retard in the group.  I felt pretty smart during my one year at Washington State, b/c I was prepared really well by my teachers in high school.  WSU was a second tier school academically, assuming you weren't a Hotel & Restaurant Management major (all the foreign students studied Hotel and Restaurant Management -- WSU had one of the best programs in the country.  I used to laugh at the thought that these bright kids come all the way out from Japan or Singapore just to study how to schedule room service.  Now they're all probably pulling in six figures back in the East...) 

At UCLA though, practically all the kids were really smart; I did well at first because a lot of them wanted to try partying and slacking off and getting laid, and I wasted my time studying.  But when I moved out to the apartments,  I started living with three other guys -- Ray, Albutt, and Das -- who are all quite intelligent.  Especially Das and Albutt -- their IQs have to be at least 160 each.  But they mostly let their brains go to waste, and I joined in.  Most of their friends come from their high school, which turns out to be the number one rated academic high school in California -- Whitney High in Cerritos.  So all their friends, some of whom became my friends, are big brains as well, whether they make use of it or not.  And the three people I still talk to that knew from high school?  All are getting, or have gotten, advanced degrees from prestigious schools.  And my best friend for most of high school was a guy who finished high school at age 15 and enrolled at UCSD as a sophomore entry.  But he changed his major from Physics to Chemistry to Party, and ended up dropping out a year-and-a-half later.

So I'm very insecure about how dumb I am.  I'm used to being around people who are much smarter than I, and when I'm not, it's sorta confusing for me.  By nature I'm used to looking down on people who I don't think measure up to me intellectually, if not markedly more intelligent than me -- like my mom.  I think my mom is outright stupid.  And I give Akiyo a hard time and lots of sarcastic comments as well.  But I realize that intelligence is more than just IQ or book smarts; it's common sense, and the knowledge of how to make yourself happy.  After all, if you're not happy then what good is all your intelligence? 

So I try to be nicer and less sarcastic with people who might not know the capital of Myanmar, or who maybe can't read and interpret Shakespeare, or who might not be actuaries or "associates".  Because none of that says anything about their real intelligence, their "happintelligence", or how good a person they might be.  (Yes, "happintelligence" sounds like something out of a self-help book by David Burns.  Blow me, I'm stupid, remember?) And at least they aren't miserable law library clerks who never get any.

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