This evening I feel like putting others down and talking myself up. Hey, I may be an ass, but I should do more to appreciate myself.
At my elementary school out in rural Chicagoland, we had acres of land to run around during recess. On rainy, muddy days, an announcement would come over the loudspeaker before recess informing us that today’s recess would be “blacktop only.” To keep kids from getting filthy in the mud, we were restricted from playing in the grass and instead had to stay on the blacktop, cement, and playgrounds.
I never questioned this because it seemed pretty reasonable. The teachers didn’t want us to get muddy, so blacktop only made sense to me. But one rainy day, I remember some of my friends talking about how unfair it was. They complained bitterly about this great injustice until one of my friends, a nice girl with long, black hair, shrugged her shoulders and wandered out onto the grass. “Hey, you’re gonna get in trouble!” I called to her, looking around to see if any teachers were coming.
She and the other girls stared at me, confused. “It’s blacktop only,” my best friend said. “She can play in the grass. We can’t.”
Frolicking through the field as only a first grader might, my black-haired friend smiled and patted herself on the head. “It’s blacktop only today. See? Black top.” She leaned her head forward to show me that it was, indeed, black on top.
And that was when I first realized that I’m smarter than everyone else around me.
For some reason I’ve ended up with a lot of dumb friends throughout my life. Way more than someone of my intellect should’ve had. And I don’t mean that they did dopey shit, because that’s cool. I do dopey shit all the time. I mean they were legitimately dumb. Stupid, unintelligent, low IQ, poorly educated, DUMB. Like, even the smartest of these dummies couldn’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re,” while the dumbest wouldn’t even know there’s a difference (it’s all “ur” to them). So we’re not just talking community college dumb in many cases. It’s worse than that.
Some of my friends have been very smart. They know who they are, and we’ve been friends for many years. We’ll always be friends, at least casually. But most of the girls I’ve considered my best friends (not in terms of friendship quality, but in terms of hangout frequency) were really fucking dense and oblivious. It gets way too depressing after awhile trying to relate to people who use words wrong or send unintelligible texts.
No, I don’t need to check my privilege here, because nearly all of us came from the same wealthy, white, western suburbs of Chicago. Most of their families were better off than mine, too. (My family lived in the “poor neighborhood” of Campton Hills: mere acre lots, 3 BR 2.5 BA, laminate counters, 2-car garage, and at least one previous homeowner.) I had the privileges of my genes and my mother’s emphasis on education, but otherwise, we’re all the same.
So, that brings me to the present. I’m starting a new job this week, doing accounts receivable. Is it below me? Yes. I shouldn’t be doing administrative work at this point in my life. But I need money and to close this gap in my resume, so I’m taking it. It pays, and at least it’s real office work with high chances of a promotion. Hopefully, I can raise myself back up quickly enough.
Final thought: I will never accept a job with “technician” in the title, because I have a real degree. Just wanted to get that off my chest after all the weird spam email job offers I’ve gotten lately.