Friday, February 24, 2006

Pretending to be Smart

When I was in high school – and, embarrassingly, in college as well – I would play dumb on occasion. You see, if you liked a guy, he had to be smarter than you. And I liked some fairly average guys – who were sweet and handsome and had other attributes. So dumb I played.

But now, sometimes I play smarter than I am. I have a fairly good memory, and I can make assumptions and draw conclusions that are more often right than wrong. And those attributes can cause the illusion of being smarter than one is.

First, I have all of these words in my brain. Take entropy, for instance. Entropy is a chemical term, having something to do with the universe tending to become less ordered over time. That's about all I know about it. And I vaguely remember that it is one of the "Laws of Thermodynamics". Okay, that's all I remember. But if I, off the cuff, say something has little to do with the second law of thermodynamics, it sounds darned impressive, but I am not really saying anything. Level of intelligence – not much. Perceived level of intelligence: high.

The other day, someone said something about "To Kill a Mockingbird." Okay, I read the story in high school – we probably all did. I remember two things about the story: the auther (Harper Lee) and a character (Boo Radley). Truth be told, I am not sure I liked the book very much. But I added the following to the conversation – "isn't it amazing that Harper Lee did not write any other books." She wrote that one American classic, and not a thing more. Again, level of intelligence – not much. Perceived level of intelligence: high. I offered no real analysis of the story – heck, I can't even remember what it is about. But I remember the author's name, and a vague notion that the author never wrote another story, and I am a literary critic. Score!

Neals Bohr, the Kinsey Report, IP address, Albert Einstein was married to Mileva (who he divorced), Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, "The Origin of Species", Lincoln and Douglas debated. All of these things are random facts. In fact, they are little nuggets that are stuck in my brain, and I know little more than what I have written. People, however, make assumptions – they assume you know more than you say. So if I happen to remember Einstein's wife's name, I may know more about the theory of relativity. Completely fallacious, but I can tell you, people subconsciously make this assumption all of the time.

In short, various facts may make one appear to be smarter than one is.

A few weeks ago, I made a comment on Mike's blog, something about "denial of service." I really don't know about these types of attacks, but I joked that the reason he had 20-40 comments per day, but 500 visits, is that I was (or someone else was) performing a "denial of service" attack on his blog. Again, I know little about this, but the assumption is that I know more than I am saying.

Funny that I pretended to be dumb so guys would like me, and now – more out of a game – I pretend to be smarter than I am.


Tai said...

Smarty pants!

I do the same thing.

Knowing a little about a lot of things is okay, but occasionally it gets me into trouble, that's for sure!

I just don't have the patience to study one thing for long periods of time!

Mike said...

Obviously you're not dumb...and you know this...but there are times people like to appear smarter...or dumber than they really are...and you pointed this out very well.

(There's always a hidden agenda behind such tactics huh?

Glad to see you posted today!!

It was an interesting usual.

Grant said...

I think the whole "guys like dumb girls" thing is a fallacy with most men, or at least the good ones. Why would you want to be with a guy who has to feel mentally superior in order to care for you? Besides, if any woman gets too smart on me I can always kick the crap out of her. :p

Oh, yeah - delta vee, pythagorean theorum, techtonic plates, geosynchronous orbit and Rodin's "The Thinker." Take that, little miss smartypants. :)

nosthegametoo said...

Most of us have done this, seen this, and both.

Nice insight on this piece.

Great post.

~Deb said...

What attacks? I'm not understanding this. (Am I acting dumb or do I know more than I tell?) ;)

Really though, wasn't sure what you were referring to as far as 'denial of service' and 'attacks'. As far as traffic on blogs----people come in and out of blogs browsing which makes it appear as more people reading---which gives us less people commenting. Those 'windown shoppers' you can say...

Leesa-------I always found you intelligent. There are so many types of 'intelligence' too I believe. Street smarts, the witty type, and the book smarts... So it depends on each individual I think.

Great topic though! Got me thinking at least, and hell---I'm dumber than a box of rocks! ;)

QChique said...

I used to have two shirts that said HTTP Error 403 and HTTP Error 401 which always seemed to work wonders. Well you write intelligently enough and your posts are amusing for sure. In fact at dinner last night the topic of your stories came up. Suffice it to say we enjoyed reading them. Cheers!

Kalani said...

One thing I know for sure is that you are very perceptive and very good at articulating what you observe, thus making you very smart in my book.

Boris Yeltsin said...

Just lurking

Lee said...

I think you have just blown the cover of most middle managers everywhere.

~Deb said...

I'm sure all these intelligent people who visit your blog don't enjoy reading dumbass posts. have to hold intelligence. That's just my opinion....What do I know? ;)

~Deb said...

What's 1 + 1 ??? QUICK!

Okay. I'm a dork.

Edtime Stories said...

Leesa I have always found what you wrote, even a rant or two highly intelligent. I think there are times that the frailty of the male ego has many of us hoping we are smarter than our lover, partner, date, etc. But I think most men want a woman who they can carry on a real conversation with. Some one who is at the same place they are.
Intelligence is so illdefined in our culture. There are many ways to be intelligent, but we choose to look at only a few. We all have intelligence some where, the trick is to let it come out.
Leesa you are a brilliant expressor of ideas, I bet you could talk all night long and never get boring. You really don't have to fake anything.

Prata said...

Denial of Service (also known as DOS) attacks are nothing more than a technique to overload a server (machine) with requests (in the case of anything you see on the net; web requests) so that it can no longer respond efficient or at all to further requests.

One such example of a DOS attack is to coordinate dozens or hundreds of machines to send malformed (or perfectly well formed) bits of data to one particular machine. "Hackers" do this to bring services to a halt on just about any machine. It could be a ping flood or half open requests or any major influx of data.

As for men that need to feel mentally/intellectually superior to their mate. Eh. I find fhicks with any lvl of computer competence super hot.

~Deb said...

Okay Leesa, you forced me to put you the star of my blog today. I spoke of your well as the mystery that goes behind that beautiful face of yours... I filled in the gaps of what you 'may appear' from head down. ;)

Check it out.

Lenora said...

Is it pretending, really? You're saying things that you do in fact know. As you pointed out, the listener fills in the gaps . . . it would be extrmemely tiresome to follow every statement with a disclaimer, and the listener would at a certain point dismiss said disclaimers as false modesty or a "game" in and of themselves anyway.

You know what You know. Being well-read is not the same as being "smart." You're obviously smart.

The Stevo in H-Town said...

I thinkya nailed a lotta us charlatans, leesa...I have probably an above average vocabulary and a lotta peeps think I'm "intelligent" azza result...I ain't...I jus' read stuff..thassall...and lenora iz prob'ly right'bout well-read vs smart....TKAM iz the first flick I ever saw Robert Duvall in...Turned out ta be a pretty fair actor, I'd say...

~Deb said...

Come again Stevo?

The Stevo in H-Town said...

~Deb...See? I toldya I wuzn't intellujent...

Leesa said...

tai: I know what you mean.

mike: thanks; sometimes it is a game to pretend to be smarter than one is.

grant: when one is in high school, one is not looking for "Mr. Right." One is looking for "Mr. Cool" and I assure you, he doesn't want a smart chick.

nosthegametoo: thanks, sweetie. I thought it might strike a chord.

~deb: I always thought rocks were smart.

qchique: I came up at a dinner conversation. I am flattered.

kalani: I think perception sometimes is more important than smarts.

lee: you crack me up.

~deb: 1 + 1. I have heard someone argue that it does not equal two. Was that finite math? Not sure. Just trying to blow smoke up your skirt.

ed: I would rather be wise than intellegent.

lenora: good point. Not really pretending but giving the appearance of more than I am. I guess that is advertizing!

stevo: I have read you in ~deb's blog. You have an interesting point of view.

chele said...

I am in agreement with another poster ... is it really pretending to be smart? I don't think so, if people want to make an assumption about your intelligence because of random facts that are stuck in your head, than that is their option. What happens when someone decides to corner you and try to have a real conversation about the theory of relativity or DOS? The jig will be up.