Dear Mr. President,
Given my last name, I feel
imminently eminently* qualified to offer you some advice on how to best react and respond to being called a moron.
* special thank you to itinerant editor, Kerry Brown.
I have, in jest – due to pronunciation and in direct angry assessment – been referred to as “Moron” and “a moron” for as long as I can remember.
There was a time when such an assessment would leave me angry, frustrated, and even sad. Upon reading about your recent challenges with being referred to as a moron, I can feel for you. And so a little advice to help you weather this.
After leaving, oh, I guess the third grade, I learned to better absorb and allocate the barbs and the jests in a more effective way.
First, by accurately identifying my own intelligence. I am, as it turns out, reasonably smart. Okay, overlook that I could not pass a timed multiplication test in elementary school. Experts have concluded that such tests are NOT very good at assessing intellect – particularly for me. The school psychologist gave her assessment to my mom, “Your son doesn’t like timed math tests and places no importance on them.”
And that was accurate. More power to people who did great at them. I never saw the point.
On the other hand, I taught myself to type, program computers, and could write the hell out of anything – plus, as Mr. Blaisdail (I don’t know if it was Blaisdale?) told me in 6th grade, “You have a keen mind Matthew.” He was the kind of teacher who would refer to minds as “keen.” I liked that.
Teachers like him, Ms. Buniff in 10th grade, and both Mr. Daukus and Mr. Siegel in 12th grade all confirmed an understanding that my thinker worked pretty well.
And, then there was my dad – Dirty Harry – not prone to demonstrations of emotional support. He would say things like, “I’m pretty smart and your mom is smart. So there is a good chance, genetically, that you are smart.” Yeah, he was warm and fuzzy like that.
Armed with this knowledge, a love for science, history, philosophy – really, any knowledge, and a willingness to delve into ideas, both challenging and varied, being referred to as a moron or the popular, “Mr. Moron” and even the adolescent, “booger eating moron,” lost all its power.
You see, knowing yourself should help you in this area. Well, that worked for me.
My fear is that in your case knowing yourself might work against that type of confidence. Knowing yourself, Mr. President, may actually exacerbate the issue. I’m sorry for that. That must, to put it in base terms, suck!
Most importantly, I’ve learned that the best way to avoid the moron moniker, outside of changing my name, is to NOT act like a moron. And that, Mr. President, would be a great place to start.
Moron… er… Moran