When I was not yet two years old, I began reading to my mother from a cereal box on the kitchen table. Suffice to say, my parents were ecstatic to have spawned such an obviously brilliant wunderkind, and visions of Ivy League universities and Nobel Peace Prizes danced proudly in their heads . Unfortunately, I appear to have peaked at eighteen months as I have spent the subsequent 41 years doing everything in my power to destroy any shred of intelligence I may have once had. To wit, I have become the human equivalent of Homer Simpson ramming the crayon up his nose to reduce his I.Q. because he was tired of being a "Spalding Gray in a Rick Dees world".*
*Further proof of my subpar intelligence: I can't do my son's fourth grade math for squat, but can reference every 'Simpson's' episode since 1989. I win at life.
While my parents (both highly intelligent and well-educated people) did everything in their power to foster my burgeoning acumen, I handily counteracted each of their attempts with an act of such inanity that it would have had Pauly Shore saying "Dude, that's some stupid shit right there." Over time, my years of reality television viewing and alcohol consumption opened up my brain like the bomb-bay doors on a Boeing B-29 and spilled all of my parents' best efforts on the ground below. As a result, I am currently a 42 year old woman with the intelligence of your average ABC Family viewer. I have the interpersonal skills of an autistic lemur, and generally, whatever puerile garbage I happen to be yammering carries about as much depth and relevance as Jerry Springer's "Final Thought". Over all, I'm like a quadriplegic in a two-story house: totally lacking in motor skills, and not a lot going on upstairs. But this year, I vow to change all of that. 2013 will be the year I become more
Improving my intelligence has long been a goal of mine, but on my Bucket List it's not exactly number one with a bullet. Truthfully, it falls somewhere in the middle, between "cut a demo with David Guetta" and "learn how to Dougie". But as Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj aren't exactly blowing up my phone and I lack the requisite skill set to walk and chew gum at the same time, I've chosen to focus on my brain for the time being.
Unfortunately, my lifestyle isn't exactly conducive to higher intelligence. I subsist on a steady diet of Starbucks and Taco Bell, my car looks like a family of Sudanese refugees have been squatting in it, and at the end of the day I lack the attention span for anything more thought-provoking than a DVD of "Bring It On".*
*Yes, I own the DVD. . .OK, the complete boxset. Don't judge; this is not a democracy, it's a cheerocracy.
So, seeing as how my home environment isn't exactly a NASA think tank, I have been making regular excursions to my local library. As much as I truly do love to read, I am not a fan of public libraries because they are. . .well. . .public. While the clientele of my neighborhood library is relatively innocuous, the staff is about as friendly and helpful as a team of Stasi footsoldiers and I have zero tolerance for that kind of passive-aggressive douchebaggery.*
*There is nothing passive about my aggression.
Also, I'm a bigger germaphobe than Howard Hughes. Since I spend the better part of the winter months slathering myself with Purell and popping AirBorne tabs like they're freaking Skittles, the thought of fondling book jackets that have been touched by myriad unseen hands sends a chill through my veins. But, in the interest of my intellectual betterment, I have sucked it up and begun checking out the classics I "pooh-poohed" in my youth.*
*But only after I rubbed them down with Clorox wipes. Because. . .reasons.
I began with John Steinbeck, progressed to Hemingway, and gradually made the slow ascent to Ayn Rand. As I read, I felt my synapses begin to snap open and my neurons -- long dormant -- begin to shudder and slowly creak to life. The books were like old friends, and as my eyes took in the eloquent prose, I felt a small part of my atrophied brain slowly expanding. I joyfully declared Project Get Smart(er) a success and estimated my I.Q. to have increased exponentially.*
*Although I have to subtract 10 points for finishing Jane Austen's "Emma" and squealing "Oh my God! That was TOTALLY based on 'Clueless'!" ((shame spiral))
Is my quest for knowledge complete? Probably not. . .and in truth, I don't think I want it to be. I'm probably never going to write the great American novel, or redevelop Microsoft, or cure lupus, or anything like that; but if there is a small part of me that still believes that someday, maybe. . .just maybe. . .I'll be able to remember where I parked my car in the lot at Target, then my quest will not have been in vain.
Happy New Year! Don't stop believin'.