I’ve seldom felt like the smartest person in the room. I amend that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like the smartest person in the room. I married a computer/math whiz, and, let’s face it, the math brain trumps the English brain every time. Nobody is impressed with my knowledge of grammar and my ability to diagram sentences. Admitting to knowledge on either of those subjects is usually relegated to the category of being anal. When my husband and I were engaged and several hundreds of miles away from each other for a few months at a time, we wrote letters to each other. Yes, those things on paper sent by what is now called snail mail that we just called mail. In David’s letters to me, whenever he had to use the word to, he would write (to, two, too) because he wasn’t sure which one was correct, and he wanted to cover all the bases. It was considered cute. When it is discovered that I am functionally illiterate in algebra, I’m considered to be less intelligent. Politicians talk about the need to boost national educational standards and test scores in math and the sciences. No one ever talks about how we have to boost the abilities of our students in English, even though we all need to communicate on a daily basis. Anyway, suffice it to say, I’m the less brainy of the two of us. Most of the time,that’s fine with me, but every so often, I want to be the smart one.
Last week, like millions of others in America, we were on the road traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, and we found ourselves in a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Going to Cracker Barrel isn’t cool or hip or fast, but we were looking for chicken soup, and it was the only place we saw on those blue signs before the exits on the interstate that seemed likely to have soup on the menu. What they actually had was much more like a chicken pot pie without the crust, but I digress. So, we were sitting there in that awkward interval between ordering your food and it arriving at the table. Cracker Barrel has those little triangular pieces of wood with the golf tees in holes spaced evenly across the surface sitting on all the tables of its restaurants to keep their guests occupied while waiting for their food. So, of course, I picked it up and played the game that’s supposed to be a test of your intelligence. Low and behold, I moved the pegs around, jumping over a peg and removing it and repeating it until there are no more moves, and I was left with one peg! To those of you not in the know, that means I’m a genius. You may not accept that accomplishing this feat is a sign of braininess, but my husband, the real genius in the family, remembered that I had done this the last time we were in a Cracker Barrel! Certainly, even in scientific terms, the data supported that I am indeed more than “just plain dumb” or even “pretty smart.” It felt pretty good.