World's Smartest Man is a Bouncer; Thoughts on Intelligence
The Internet has made the book smart kid as obsolete at the turn of this century as the horse was at the end of the last. When all the world's knowledge is but a search away on one's iPhone, we smart kids you once asked to settle barroom debates or diagnose computer issues no longer serve a useful purpose. Why ask us when you can just as easily Ask Jeeves instead? While the automobile replaced the horse, the Google replaced us.
Oh, you still see us around from time to time. Parents trot us out every spring at spelling bees, the pony show of the smart kid circuit. Once we foals grow up, TV executives pit us against one another on Jeopardy—the Kentucky Derby of smart people. If we're lucky like Ken Jennings, we might even get a mention on Pardon the Interruption before we're sent off to stud service. While the horse gets to plug beautiful mares, we have to settle for Allstate and AT&T. After that, it's off to the glue factory for the horse and oblivion for us.
Let us take a look at this list of accomplishments from the high IQ set to prove my point:
The granddaddy of all child prodigies, this eleven year old became the youngest student ever to don the crimson of Harvard in 1910. A professor at MIT promised Sidis would mature into one of the greatest mathematicians of his age. A scant 14 years later, a reporter discovered Sidis working an adding machine as a clerk for $23 a week. He published his thoughts once, not on math or science mind you, but on the decidedly pedestrian hobby of collecting streetcar transfers.
Let me put it to you this way. The man's rent is lower than his IQ. Hoeflin scrapes by in a Hell's Kitchen hovel producing newsletters for the high IQ crowd. He is currently finishing up a handwritten treatise that attempts to categorize all of the world's philosophies under one system. He has already surpassed the one million word mark. Good luck finding a publisher for that one.
Think bouncers have rocks for brains? Think again. Langan, the world's smartest man, worked as a bouncer on Long Island for over 20 years and can bench press 500 pounds. Smart kids the world over should thank him for shattering the stereotype that we have more in common with Woody Allen than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Langan is currently working on a “Theory of Everything”, that as the name implies, explains, well, everything. But before we get into his thoughts on everything, let's go over his thoughts on college:
"There I was, paying my money, taking classes from people who were obviously my intellectual inferiors. I figured, Hey, I need this like a moose needs a hat rack!"
Unfortunately his lack of a college degree means his ideas, no matter how worthwhile, will be discarded as the chicken scratches of the amateur. Apparently this moose does need a hat rack.
This article is for all you young know-it-alls out there who think you have the world all figured out like Mr. Langan. I know the type well. I should. I used to be one of you. Just because your mother pats you on the head whenever you recite the presidents in order, don't let the compliments go to your head. Or those swirlies that will soon follow in junior high for that matter.
It's tough being a smart kid. Loved by parents and teachers, hated by our peers, our lives are a constant see-saw of emotions. Add in the fact that a veritable NASCAR field of thoughts is constantly racing through our brains and is it any wonder so few of us live up to our precocious hype? Even a seemingly successful child prodigy like Bobby Fischer peaked at the age of 29 when he defeated Boris Spassky to become Chess Grand Champion. He passed away at the age of 64, having played only one more competitive match while spending the last 16 years of his life as a fugitive.
What is the answer? Considering my own life looks like a pastiche of the three prodigies highlighted above, I am not the man to give it. But I will try anyway.
Even if you are the smartest person in the room, swallow your sizable pride and listen from time to time anyway. Even intelligent people screw up every now and then. Did any cabinet have a higher collective IQ than Kennedy's selection of "The Best and the Brightest" to serve under him? And look where that got us: the Bay of Pigs debacle and Vietnam.
Suffer through your college courses, no matter how stifling or boring they may seem. Although that piece of sheepskin may seem worthless now, it matters to the powers that be. Without it, you'll wind up as just another drop-out who must publish his thoughts for free.