Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Deep Thoughts

We are the proud grandparents of a young man, who is just a fuzz below genius in intelligence. When he was a little guy, his smile was endearing and always lit up a freckled face like sunshine peeking through clouds. I remember his fourth birthday, with his little hands hanging onto each newly opened present to the point that he was unable to open any more. His desperation to keep an older, more savvy brother from latching onto any of the new "stuff" was hard to watch. His abilities in math and with video games was amazing, his personality seemed to be even keeled and affable, but lurking under the surface was a mind in turmoil. Junior High was a very uncomfortable period --- he didn't do homework (why bother, I know all that) or if he did the assigned work, he forgot to take it to school. There were fights on the playground by the fifth grade, but he would never tell us what was bothering him. In high school, he spent most of his extra time in his room with his computer playing video games, and his grades were not outstanding. There was never a girlfriend in his life or any great interest in the outside world. After three years in college, majoring in computer engineering, he couldn't come up with the money for any more classes and he decided to join the Air Force. The recruiter told him to lose 49 pounds and sent him to a larger base to test him for decoding abilities. The 49 pounds came off in four months and he got the highest score they ever had at the center where the testing was done. As an honor graduate from basic training, he was tested and is in the .06% of the entire Air Force.

Finally, we arrive at the deep thoughts part of this whole thing. After flight training, he was sent to The Defense Language Institure in Monterey, CA for eighteen months of training in Arabic. While chatting with the head of the Arabic language section, we discovered that linguists are usually extremely intelligent and are loners. This explains the diffident behavior all of those years --- so, I asked him if he were aware that he had been stand-offish as a teen and a loner. Here comes the part that hurts for the parents and grandparents of these kids ---Yes, they know that they are extremely intelligent and are not like the other kids in their grade. They are not well liked, other kids resent their smart genes and they don't particularly care to associate with kids their own age, but of normal intelligence. So, truly bright children hide in their rooms, read books that are years beyond their age level and study things that appeal to them.

This disparity continues into adulthood and it becomes harder and harder to make friends, since the majority of people are not overly bright and even conversation becomes tedious. Would it explain people like Vincent Van Gogh --- "And when no love was left in sight, on that starry, starry night, he took his life like lovers often do ---but I could have told you, Vincent ---the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you". In America, we have classes for developementally delayed, regular, everyday kids, but who is looking out for the truly exceptional kids? They are usually pretty unhappy until they find the key to their personalities.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Today's the big day....but, no fireworks or celebrating in these quarters. When your birthday is two weeks after Christmas, nobody notices or goes into raptures of good wishes or offerings of extravagant presents. Frank Sinatra's "When I Was Seventeen" comes to mind, and it was a very good year! I ran off and got married that year and it was wonderful...still is. Some years are better than others, so I'm hoping that this year will be everything that I ever dreamed it could be. We have been caught up in buying, decorating, selling and buying again in the sunshine of Florida. True, you can make money, but will the old bodies hold up long enough to enjoy the latest purchase? We spent December running up and down Interstate 75 in an attempt to furnish the newest of our follies. What's 1,200 miles more or less? Three trips in three weeks with Christmas in the middle of it all... makes me tired just thinking of it. We came back in time for New Year's Eve and spent the last week in the company of an alcoholic house painter. My idea of morning is watching the sun come up at 10:00 A.M.... this dude arived before 7:00! Egads! The middle of the night! However, his painting skills diminished by 10:30 to noon and he was off to spend the rest of the day lying in the sun with a beer in his hand. The kitchen is painted (mostly---I'll do touch-ups) and Old Bud is a thing of the past. The expensive things are all purchased and we only have a couple of things to do, like laying the new kitchen floor, putting in a sink and counter top. There are sewing projects that will take a couple of weeks and twenty-eight panels of drapes to press, but I'll handle it as long as I can sleep in the mornings without a crazed painter banging on the door. I'm left wondering how Murphy Brown stood Eldon for all those years???? Florida would be wonderful, if the only things you had to contend with were blue skies, sunshine and white sand by the mile, but no --- there are old people all over the place, riding in their golf carts (but they play no golf), tooling around on three wheeled bikes and pushing baby strollers with poodles in the seat. And friendly? Planting a bush or shrub is an occasion for all and sundry in the neighborhood to stop by and tell you the story of their lives and how to plant said bush. We once had neighbors who buried a dead fish under all shrubs and plantings....maybe, I'll try that and keep the weirdos away by sheer odor. Perhaps, they'll think we are the stink in the area.
My DIL called last night and said that my son was rocking and sobbing in the throes of kidney stone pain and what should she do. OMG --- Take him to the hospital! Now, this led me to think that perhaps having children was not such a hot idea. How could I have know forty some years ago that the pain would go on forever. Your babies are your babies always and then grandkids get into the mix. I just plain don't believe that my heart will be able to take great-grands or the troubles that are just down the road for all these boys in the next few years. I refuse to worry about the only grand-daughter... the seven grandsons will keep her straight! (And keep the mongrels away from the door) So, I started out saying that it is a big day for me...Happy 70th Birthday to me --- I freakin can't believe it! Somebody must have changed my birth certificate!