Confessions of a Supposed
I'm Rover_Wow, and I'm a genius -- at least that's what I'm supposed
to be. But I haven't been living up to expectations. I've flunked out of
not one but TWO different special math classes for potential geniuses.
As I am writing this, I'm in a youth science talent project organized by
My project (which I chose myself): Machine Translation from English to
Thai. I recently got into a rift with my father concerning the success
of my project. He insists that anything less than 100% success is failure.
I say that it's not true. (As I am writing this, my program can translate
about 90 of the 105 example sentences.) We got into a war of words, and
the result is, he has stopped helping me do this project. Another reason
he's upset with me is my semi-obsession with Rugrats. (See my pages on
the show: 1. The
Rugrats Movie Gets Mstied, 2. The
Rugrats Get Riffed, and 3. Stu
Goes D'oh.) Besides maintaining these pages, I also download some Rugrats
strips for reading. When I'm caught reading them, he screams at me. Well
the point of this page here is to inform you about the pressures of a genius
-- or at least someone that's supposed to be, like me.
1. Not able to show your ability freely. When I went on to a
TV programme to discuss about the gifted kids association, I was told (by
my father, of all the people) not to show off my mathematical abilities
(at the time, I was supposed to have great mathematical abilites -- until
I flunked a special class for these people).
2. Being expected to do good. My parents were really disappointed
when I flunked the math classes. I was also tutored by the country's top
mathematician who trained Math Olympians -- or at least he tried. (I was
too busy folding and flexing hexaflexagons to learn.) I also got 60 out
of 100 on two National Mathematics Association tests (I took them in the
6th and 9th grades) -- about 1/4 less than my regular score in school tests.
3. Not being able to really enjoy life. I'm too busy studying
to do so. Sure, I listen to music and the charts once in a while, but I'm
too commited to studying to follow them constantly.
Comments from Usenet: "It sounds to be, genius, that you need to get smart and talk to someone
about your conflict with your father and your inability to take joy in
your gifts. Hope you figure this one out." - beeman "Hey, sorry for being a smart aleck before. I did check out your site.
So sorry your dad's giving you grief. What is he, jealous or something?
Regardless, I say be proud of your accomplishments and never let anyone
belittle them." - ShiHero "Good luck with your endeavors. You must believe that no one has the
right to live their life through you. That is what your father is
trying to do, and it will keep you from having an identity of your own...you
who *you* are, what you want in life, etc. Fight for your independence.
Be proud of yourself first." - Tezza A Comment from email: Yep, it must be hard pretending to be smart.
Don't give up, Bow-Wow! Keep flunking your classes and watching your cartoons!
You'll show them! - Llama Goddess More email!
I made it to your page, and I read all that you had to say about the pains of being a
genius. Being a genius doesn't mean you can do really well by studying your ass off all the
time, just about anyone can do that. I have an IQ of 162 and now I'm in college. I had a
straight C average throughout high school, mostly because I didn't like having to memorize
useless stupid information.. but anyway, I just wanted to tell you that my intelligence doesn't
make me miserable, because I don't preassure myself like your parents seem to be doing to you.
IQ score is only a number, and it's pretty meaningless when you really think about it. I just
think that you care way too much. There is a life outside academics, afterall. I'm just
aimlessly ranting now, so I'll end this email. -
Adam Plass Yeah. I've got a genius IQ. Truly beyond superior. What did it get
me? It got me committed - er, I mean, admitted to the Bar of the State of
New York as an attorney. On my way there, I finished high school with a
1.66 GPA (D+ average) and no diploma; I spent a few months homeless; I lost
credentials from two colleges; and I spent several years doing very
menial jobs. Of course, I excelled at the community college I ultimately
and excelled also, later, at a state university, phi beta kappa.
Believing only that 100% achievement can provide success is the road
only to failure. If I had not failed, my successes would be meaningless.
If I had succeeded without the effort a person must exert to improve one's
productivity, I would never have improved my situation.
Success sometimes arrives only by way of many failures. "When all
other alternatives have been excluded, that which remains, however unlikely,
must be the truth." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes. Failures,
by definition, show you in a way nothing else can what DOES NOT WORK.
Failures will also show you the possibilities that remain -- possibilities for
greater success. Your genius will help you see those possibilities.
Moreover, if you always achieve 100% successes, you will not temper nor
improve yourself, or your work. "We shun the rugged battle of fate,
where strength is born." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance. Success is
not in always winning the battle. Success is in waging the war itself, then
being able to win against the odds.
If you can get 90 of 105 example sentences to translate into Thai
correctly, you have already achieved an 85.7% success rate. If you had
achieved 95% from the start, you might have stopped working -- there
would be little work left to accomplish. [The software "Dragon Naturally
Speaking" claims less than 95% accuracy in converting speech-to-text
and now sells for $59-$129!] If geniuses aren't supposed to accomplish
anything but 100% success on every project we do, we'd have no room for improvement
- of ourselves, our families, nor our commmunities. Without room for
improvement and energy input, the only thing left applying to ourselves would be
the law of entropy. Life must be lived, and success must not be taken for
granted nor given over to a simple expectation of youthful potential to someday
be achieved -- it must be achieved, like all things in the universe,
through effort and energy. Enjoy the work you do and the room you are given to
improve that work -- it is what makes life. Take comfort that you have
the genius to help make the work more interesting.
By the way, I flunked my high school geometry class because I was too
busy trying to hide contraband pictures "inside" my hexaflexagons. A
re-take of that class gave me an A+ - I'd gotten one wrong on one of the pop
quizzes for the semester. The difference between the two classes (the subject
matter was identical) was my attitude and effort. In the former class,
all I wanted to do was get to the answer - I assumed too much in my proofs
as givens, and knew (because I'd already gotten a few wrong on a quiz)
that I'd not be able to get an A, so I gave up and failed. In the later class,
all I wanted to do was get a passing grade, so I simply did my best and got
I'd always been told that I had, "great potential that I wouldn't live
up to". My potential for success was based on expectations that were
unrealistic and far too simplistic. When I simply did my best, I have
always - ALWAYS succeeded. "Doing my best" should have been, is now,
and will always be, my only expectation.
For me, being a genius is not a burden - it simply gives me better
insight into the work I otherwise would still have to do.
PS. For pure adolescent humor, the things I was hiding in my
hexaflexagons that I passed around the classroom were Mss. March and April 1987 and a
caricature of the teacher, hidden behind an ad for dog food.
Tsvi J. Gold, Esq. Here's a short email I got in Nov 2003, but didn't get around to putting up until Feb 2005 (I only found this note during a digging of my inbox, and I hadn't updated this page since Oct 2002 :o ):
i have an iq of 162 and the mass subjugation a 14 year old faces is at most times unbearable. But i stay persistent in my relentless effort to maintain stability. Talk out ur problems with your dad. Glad to be able to relate-alias tim
Before I go, let me remind you that I'm not a total idiot as you might imply. I
have genius... You think I got into Thailand's
oldest university without it?! I also got the nation's highest Engineering Basics
score on my Entrance exam. (All those hours of hard study really paid off.)
If you know any more pressure of being a genius, email me here.
Back to my main