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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memoirs of a dumb kid

They sound familiar to us. In our school, we had "reading groups." Those of us in the A group looked down on those in the B group. One of our buddies in the B group got the last laugh, though -- he was worth about $20 million by the time he was 30.

Comments (11)

I hear you. In my case, I was one of the smart kids who "didn't apply himself," because hanging out with the dumb kids was a lot more fun. I learned a hell of a lot from the dumb kids, too, as this author learned, and I'd still prefer to be associated with the dumb kids to this day. They're still a lot more fun, and more interesting to boot.

My boss tells me that he went through all 12 years of school and only read 2 books the entire time (including textbooks). Me, I read everything in sight and was always in the "Butterfly" reading group (or whatever the top group was called that particular year).

Today? Well, he's the boss, and I'm not.


How did he make the first $20 million?


How did he make the first $20 million?

Worked hard as a bookkeeper and fell in with a smart guy who cut him in on some amazing venture capital action.

Thanks, Jack.

It's always throwing in with the Smart Guy. Or real estate.

You rarely get there working for the Man.

skeezicks: the Chinese are getting rich on plastics these days, not the Americans.

The guy in question paid a lot of dues within the VC firm. Even got stuck in Portland for a couple of years trying to salvage one of the few bad calls they made. But he alone pushed the B group over the top in the financial success category.

My kid deliberately did badly on the math placement test at his parochial school so he could hang out with his soccer and basketball buddies in the "dumb" math group. I didn't know this until he confessed to it after placing into the accelerated math classes in high school. He ended up scoring a "5" on his AP Calculus test during his senior year. It's interesting how loyalty to ones friends at that age can override pretty much everything the parents care about.

Mister Tee, you missed the joke. Hou're probably not alone. A reference to a revered generational cultural artifact -- Harken:


I started in the "A" group and moved down every year until I ended up in the "D" group in my Jesuits school.

In my 35th reunion a few years ago, most of the "A" people who showed up had become doctors, professors, corporate executives or government officials. Most of the "D" people became entrepreneurs.

Atlantic magazine has so trashed itself prone and corrupted to publish dictated false MIC propaganda and to censor truth or investigation.

I can identify with the writer, Bowen, in school. Only I was much worse (going 'dumber') than he was, and by turns much better (way 'smarter'), too. He can't span the spread, the range, existing beyond his margins because, (and he emphasizes), he got stuck in catholic righteousness, which is low gear.

Jack, like you I had 'A' and 'B' reading groups, too, each apprising and solidifying (lifelong) prejudices of and about those of the 'other'; and in our classroom there was a third group -- 'C' or 'X' or 'Group W' or something -- and that group was me, singular and solitary, and I had autonomous license for whatever I wanted to do and all things the teachers delegated to me to do which included, on a few occasions, replacing them and holding authority over the classroom as 'substitute' teacher for an hour or two, or even all day if the teacher couldn't get there.

So where did that shape and position me in the social relations with my peers, do you suppose? You get three guesses and the last two don't count.

Here is my distilled summation of knowledge from vast experience
in the American education system:
1.) A good teacher cannot help a bad student
2.) A bad teacher cannot hurt a good student

Bottom line, the teacher specifics are nearly irrelevant; the blame or credit
is all the student's own in his or her fates, no excuses, none a 'victim'.
(BTW, personally piling up $20 million is not 'success' in life.)

Here is the only other knowledge I got in school, the whole school, and nothing but the school. This was in college (if that still counts as 'school') and was taught to me by a man who (years later) said I or anyone ascendant must have a mentor, a sponsor, and that he was mine. It's a decades-long story about us, only the point is that he was the singular 'teaching' individual, for me, in all my schooling. And he said, "At least one test of a good education system is, when the student graduates through it, if he or she looks back and says 'that was a bunch of bullsh!t and I see all its faults and failures.'"

In other words, a good education system is one that can teach you (there are) things beyond what it can teach you -- teach you what it can't teach you.

But, like I said, the student's performance and results is a foregone conclusion, pre-ordained, in individual fates. Recently the following article described the newest findings in 'autism' research, showing 'autism' and 'genius' might be the same 'disease,' (in neurological development). There comes a profound question asked in the Q & A section at the end, and it is not answered, (the speaker says, "I don't know"), about a speculative case which might have inordinate measures of both polar-opposite neurology-shaping hormones. I identified with that speculation, I am that case,
I do know.

A Conversation With Simon Baron-Cohen [4.30.12] -- edge.org
, out on the.

(Since reading the article, I'm thinking about starting to tell people I'm 'autistic' when I hear some snide remark about my writing sounding to them like I'm stoned or trippy or crazy. 'I'm not wearing a tin foil hat, I'm simply autistic.' In that flippancy, I'm wary of too many people wrongly taking offense.)

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