Tag: genius

Part Nine: I Was Right All Along

By now it should come as no surprise to anyone that I often felt like the only thinking person in a room full of Philistines.

January 23, 1994 – Today I went to Anne’s. Kristy was there. I haven’t seen Kristy in three months. But she is way less sophisticated than Anne and I.

I’d love to know what the criteria for sophistication was in 4th grade. I pretty much lived on the trampoline and ate S’mores PopTarts, so poor Kristy must have really been primitive.

March 21, 1995 – Well I’m on a role. Everything went my way almost. In math I was chosen as the best test taker in my home room. In music I was the only one who knew what an overture was, and the only one who answered correctly to the question “what is the The Barber of Seville?” Mr. Tipton called me his star. We’re getting swings on the play ground. But as usual it ended in tragedy. Fred the mouse is dead. The washing machine got him. He’s flat now.

This is an entire scrapbook page devoted to my SAT scores in the Duke Talent Search. I feel it speaks for itself.

I have no memory of this macabre incident. We had a hamster named Fred, but I’m pretty sure he died as a result of a science fair project entitled “Do Hamsters Prefer Hamster Food or Candy?” I also have a vague recollection of a little leather mouse I used to carry around in my pocket, probably in an attempt to be a quirky literary heroine. That would explain how he ended up in the washing machine.

Also, I knew about the Barber of Seville because the theme at summer camp had been “opera.” I was on team Pavarotti. Our cheer was “La donna e mobile.” The other team, the Domingos, sang “Figaro” as theirs. It’s from the Barber of Seville, you Philistines.

April 11, 1995 – Today we found out the nominees for Student of the Year Award. I’m one! Or should I say I was. I didn’t make the finals.

As much as I wish I could win, now nobody can call me a goodie-goodie. I personally don’t want the “Goodie-goodie of the Year Award” and it’s not like I need a $50 savings bond. I’m not penniless! Can you tell I’m incredibly jealous? [These little flickers of self-awareness are signs that a sane person was trying to break through.]

If it wasn’t for Alissa I’d have that thing tackled. She brought that stupid story thing to school! [“That story” is a piece of quasi-erotic fiction I wrote with two friends, one of whom later brought it to school, where it ended up on the principal’s desk. The entire saga is detailed in an earlier entry, including the rehearsed speech I planned to give my mom delivering the bad news. Sadly the story itself has not survived.]

Any how. When I’m up there at M.I.T., first in the class and they say Dr. Bekah A. Stolhandske PhD, MD, MRD, ND.D, IQ level 206 came their way, I will personally remind them and tell the world they were ignorant enough not to give ME the SOTY award.

Sassy pose, side-tie, rolled sleeves, snarky door hanger, and room rules tacked to the door. I’m 11 and I know everything.

Thus far, Seele Elementary School has not bragged to the press about its illustrious alumna. Nor do I have any of those degrees. “MRD” and “ND.D” might not even refer to real things.  I don’t think I was referring to a Masters in Rural Development or Naturopathic Medicine degree. My IQ was not, and is not, 206.

That does not stop me from knowing ev-er-y-thing.

July 21, 1995 – I have lots of opinions. Listen:

On Millennialism and the dates when Jesus is coming back. We don’t know WHEN he’s coming. There’s nothing we can do about it, and we’ll know what to do when he gets here.

On Love: There are three kinds of love. Agape (everyone), Filéo (romance) [I continue to misspell and misunderstand phileo love thoughout my journals], and Family love. There you can like someone and love them OR you can love but not like. When you like someone you want to be around them (Filéo or friends or family) but you can love someone but not want to be around them (Agape, sometimes). You can love and like, love but not like, and neither love nor like someone (even though you shouldn’t). But no one can like but not love someone else.

It may surprise you that I did end up with a masters degree in media studies, seeing that in 5th grade I clearly do not have any filter for media bias:

May 1, 1995 – I have learned by my own opinion that the Great American heroes aren’t so great. This is from popular television! See, it isn’t always the stupid educational stuff! I learn diddlysquat from that. Nobody can ever teach me more than I can learn by myself. My grandma would hate to hear me say it but, General Custer was awful. Sitting Bull was worse. The Texans were WRONG. The American Rebels were betrayers. And let it be known that the Confederates were cruel. That’s why I wanna go to M.I.T. OR maybe I should just go to PARIS! I’m not liberated, I’m not a suffragist, I’m just a kid who know that difference between heroes and cruel, sissified, @#$%&s.

Let’s just start with the end, in which I confuse liberated with liberal, and suffragist with feminist.

Liberals and feminists were the warlocks and witches of my childhood. Mysterious, powerful forces for evil. By insisting that I am neither “liberated” nor a “suffragist” I’m not claiming to be an indentured servant who opposes universal voting rights. Actually I’m just in full-tilt denial about becoming a liberal feminist. These fits of freethinking occur intermittently in my journals.

I would be 23 years old before expressing my non-liberal-feminist views to someone who repeated them back to me and said, “That’s liberal feminism.”

However, in this particular case I am siding with, it appears, the British Crown and Santa Anna’s Mexican government, so clearly my fears of being too liberal are unfounded. But there’s some pacifism and Unionist sympathy in there too. Basically, I’m railing against the glorification of American/Southern heroes, which my whole life had been conflated with Christianity.

I have been railing about it ever since.