When I was a little kid, I thought that being smart was the main thing in life. I just assumed that that's what it was all about. Of course, I was pretty stupid back then. It was only later, in highschool, that I started to realize just how insignificant intelligence actually is when it comes to things like happiness, success, receiving oral sex, etc.
It seemed that everywhere I looked I saw brilliant people who were underpaid, miserable, and alone, while happy idiots where making money, getting laid, and cheering at the latest Steven Seagal movie. Not only did intelligence appear to have very few practical applications in the real world, it actually seemed to get in the way.
To give you an example of the kinds of things I was noticing back then, I present to you a couple of snippets from two separate conversations I'd witnessed, both on the topic of sports. One of the following statements was spoken by a guy named Pete, who was socially awkward, and generally felt alienated from his peers. The other was expressed by a guy everyone called "Muley", who dated a cheerleader and was admired by many. Let's see if you can guess which guy said what:
Did I mention that Muley wasn't even rich, or particularly attractive? His girlfriend, however, was spectacular. Ridiculously hot. She was the kind of girl that could walk into a room and cause other girls to instantly develop eating disorders. She was even kind of nice.
I couldn't figure it out. It didn't add up. Then it dawned on me that maybe that wasn't the problem, but rather the solution. Maybe it didn't need to add up... maybe I should quit wasting so much energy on adding everything up, and focus on getting with the fucking Program for a change...
At the age of sixteen, I set a personal goal to kill as many braincells as I could get my hands on.
And I did. I actually found many of the murdering techniques to be quite fun. The only problem was that no matter how many braincell population-control methods I employed, I just couldn't seem to get rid of the little cocksuckers fast enough. I didn't know exactly how many of those things were in there in the first place, but my efforts just did not appear to be paying off.
Well, during a beach vacation I took a while back, I think I finally made some real progress in this area. I used a comprehensive, three-pronged strategy. I was coming at it from multiple angles at once, a cerebral blitzkrieg operation. One night I fell down the back deck stairs, landed flat on my back with a loud "WHAP", and said "Holy shit! Look at the fucking stars!"
I then stood up and proclaimed loudly that I, Captain F. Smack, was going to walk across that long, old, narrow, uneven, rickety, wooden peer to the beach, goddammit - but my more sensible companion managed to talk me out of it. It was a long way to the nearest hospital, she pointed out.
That's ok. I didn't need to fall off a peer. Between the Chartreuse, the stairs, and the head-shaped dent I left in the ground, I probably nailed at least a couple hundred thousand braincells right there, and I wasn't even trying that hard.
And that was just the first night. I won't get into all the sordid details, but let's just say I caught a wave and rode that baby all the way to shore. My skull had become somewhat of a braincell deathcamp.
Admittedly, I didn't notice very much progress at first. When you're at the beach, with each day slowly rolling by with no demands, no need for creative problem solving, and nothing very complex to negotiate, it can be difficult to gauge exactly where you're at on the smart/dumb scale.
There were very few challenges. It seemed that each day we had only one thing to accomplish. One day it was to take the kayak out. Another day it was to fly the kite. There was one day when all I had to figure out was how to use the grill. Seriously. And there were at least a couple of days when we didn't do anything at all, we just sat around and blinked, like a couple of retarded lizards.
It wasn't until I returned home that I realized just how successful I had been in my IQ Reduction Scheme. I turned on the news to see if anything had happened in the world while I'd been away. All of the names, faces, wars, bombs, disasters and genocides went in one ear, wandered around in the dark awhile saying "Hello? Helloooooo?", bumped into each other a few times, and then stumbled out of the other ear, wondering what the hell that was all about.
I have to admit... at first, it was pretty nice. My thoughts were soft and round, and they just sort of quietly rolled about. They didn't have those sharp, distracting, well-defined edges, which can cause alarm and discomfort. I remember, at one point, picturing a giant hand just flipping a coin over and over again. I wasn't thinking about it, I was just thinking it. Automatic pilot, baby. It was awesome. I thought yeah... I could get used to this...
Then things began to take a turn.
I went out to my car, got in, and closed the door. I sat there for about 3 minutes trying to figure out why I was in my car, when I remembered "oh, yeah, I have to take those videos back to the video store". So I started my car, backed out into the street, and then realized that the videos were in my book bag. No problem. I pulled back in, got out of my car, went into the house and started looking around. I just kind of walked around the house for a while, looking here and there.
At one point it dawned on me that I wasn't actually attempting to locate any specific object. I was just sort of looking around. What the hell am I looking for? Oh, yeah, the videos. That's right. So I looked for my book bag for about 10 minutes before remembering that it was actually in the backseat of my car.
Hmmm. This whole "low intelligence" thing was starting to get annoying. Maybe I didn't think this through as well as I'd thought...
I got back in my car with the intention of going to the video store, and promptly drove to the nearest convenience store. I walked in and stood there, looking at the rows of Twinkies and Slim-jims before realizing that I didn't need anything from the convenience store. I was actually going to the video store. Right. The video store. I got back in my car and finally made it to the video store, which, by this time, was closed.
I started thinking that maybe I had made a terrible mistake. Do braincells grow back? Surely, they grow back, right? I made a mental note to Google it later (which I then forgot).
Later that night, as I sat reevaluating my strategy, it occurred to me that permanent brain damage isn't necessarily the best solution. Ignorance may be bliss, but video store late fees can really add up over time.
And, finally, the point of this post:What we really need is a way to adjust our brain power on an as-needed basis. I think that, considering the strides we're making in the areas of neurology, chemistry, and electronics, we should start working on some sort of "IQ Dial" thingy.
I'm picturing it as a small knob, surgically implanted on the forehead. You could then adjust the intensity of your intelligence to the appropriate level, depending on the situation at hand. Basically a dimmer switch for your brain.
I can think of a LOT of situations where an IQ Dimmer would come in handy. Say you're at a company cookout, and your boss has had a few cocktails and decides to impress you with his keen insights into politics. Just set the dial to "Typical Idiot" and your head will effortlessly bob up and down in agreement.
Or maybe you're at a family reunion. These can be brutal when operating at full mental capacity, especially if there's no liquor available. But with the IQ Dimmer, you can just set the dial to "Easily Entertained" and listen with genuine interest as your aunt relays all of the details of her latest kidney stones.
Here's a situation I'm sure we've all faced at one time or another: you have a date with an exceptionally dumb, yet extremely attractive person. Normally, this means several hours of mind-numbing conversation, in exchange for maybe an hour (or 5 minutes, depending on whether or not you've been doing your kegels) of Happy Naked Fun Time.
But with the IQ Dimmer, it's no problem. Before you leave the house, just take a shower, throw on some clean clothes, and crank that dial down to "Practically Retarded". Finally, your brain and your genitals will be on the same page. Wouldn't that be nice?
The only problem I see with the IQ Dimmer is that if you crank it down too low, you may never remember to dial it back up. I suppose a simple timer could be added, so that after a predetermined period of time it automatically turns itself back up to full intelligence.
Of course, building a device such as this would require quite a bit of research and development, and millions, if not billions, of dollars. It would also take several years, maybe a decade or more, before it became available commercially. And once it did finally make it to market, it would probably cost a fortune to have one installed.
Then, on the other hand, if I wanted to make myself temporarily stupid, I suppose I could do what everyone else does, and just drink a few beers.
Maybe I made this whole thing a little more complicated than it needed to be.