Hey, Boo-Boo!

I recently read an article that referenced a group of extremely gifted thirteen-year-olds, saying that only 1 in 10,000 scored as well on the tests. I have always been smarter than the average bear but I have no idea if I am smarter than the other 9,999 in my statistical sample.

But it does not really matter. One of the things I learned from my brief sojourn at Mudd is that there is always someone smarter than you. I think every incoming freshman has the idea that they are the smartest kid in the class; they probably all were. But that did not survive the first exam.

I had the additional disadvantage and advantage of not being a scientist or an engineer. On the one hand, I was equally poor at all subjects; I had no strong subject on which to fall back. On the other hand, I realized before I was invited to retire that I was not a scientist or engineer and hence my lack of success was to be expected. I did not know what my talents were but I surely knew what they were not.

I am still unsure on what my talents are. I seem to have a facility with languages of all sorts: spoken, abstract, programming. For some time I incorrectly assumed that programming was my metier. I have learned that, while I am good at programming, I am more than that.

If I have undiscovered talents, why not everyone else? Maybe the other 9,999 are not as good at taking tests. But I bet that most every one of them has some talent at which they excel. Maybe it is poetry. Or quantum physics. Or whistling through their nose hairs.

Whatever their talents may be, everyone deserves the chance to shine.

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