We Don't Like Perfect People

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Picaresque FINALE, and the insidious Seinfeld

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It seems that nearly every post I’ve written here has an opening monologue.  I have just noticed this, and I don’t know whether I like it.  Audience poll:  should I cultivate it as a fabulous new addition to my shtick?

Regardless, I suspect that I know from whence it came.

Hello, Jerry...

Oh my Christ, am I Newman?  Though I did not previously feel any kinship with him, his character as described by Wikipedia bears several resemblances to my own:

  • Often speaks in a humorously sinister tone
  • Impulsively protests the idea of any mail being “junk”
  • Tends to be bombastic and verbose
  • Loves food
  • Talents have so far eluded similar recognition to Jerry’s
  • AND my paternal grandfather worked for the Postal Service, so we are genetically linked.

Oh dear.

All of this evidence can only lead to one conclusion:  Seinfeld is insidious.  Cunning, sneaky, quietly powerful; a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It is a persistent cultural meme.  It is not as explosive as the Interrupting Kanye, but it is nevertheless omnipresent.

Seinfeld is ostensibly a show about nothing.  But by being about nothing, it is simultaneously about everything.  That is why it’s insidious.  While we’re watching weeknight reruns, cringing at 90’s fashion and Jason Alexander’s negative sex appeal, Seinfeld subliminally worms its way into our brains.  We think it’s a sitcom, the sole purpose of which is to shut our brains off, but we are very, very wrong.  Eventually, Seinfeld takes over our subconscious.  We become Seinfeld zombies.

And we write 250 words about a canceled television show, instead of continuing to blog about our life stories.  And that is sad.

*

I am left handed, which endows me with special powers.  These powers are further enhanced by the fact that I have sharper-than-normal eyeteeth, and my second toes are longer than my first.  Also, I may have absorbed my twin.  One of my powers is the power of prophecy.

And now, for the benefit of my readers (all two of you…), I will prophecy:  In twenty years, medical schools will take over the world.

My powers allow me to know this, but perceptive Muggles may find evidence of it in the fact that half of the damn populations of all three of the colleges I have attended seem to be pre-med students.  (I told you I can’t do math:  add that up, and it makes three halves.)  Assuming every other college in the United States has similar demographics, the Congressional healthcare bill will soon be damn superfluous, and the U.S. population will soon have a frighteningly high percentage of smart, highly-educated sadists with God complexes.

And the best of these will come from Emory.

Because it is a top-20 university, Emory has a highly diverse student body.  Everybody has something that makes them special on the surface.  You could probably find a New Zealand-raised Palestinian kleptomaniac with a surgically-corrected cleft palate and a transgender parent somewhere among the undergrad and graduate student population of Emory, if you tried hard enough.

But if you gathered everyone in an auditorium and polled them, you’d find out that nearly everyone wants to be the next Sanjay Gupta.  In other words, wealthy, personable, famous, millionaire doctors with hot spouses.  Many twelve-year-olds also want to be those things.

I should stop to point out that I’m not trying to condemn Emory University in particular.  I suspect this is true of most top universities.  Furthermore, I am sure that there are many exceptions to the rule.  What I am railing against is the stereotype.  So please hear me out, okay?

In middle and early high school, I was socially awkward.  I was kind of a freak, to tell you the truth.  But by the end of high school (probably thanks to those fantastic SSRIs), I had learned how to make friends.  But I really didn’t make many at Emory.  This was not for lack of trying; it was just that, honestly, I preferred the company of my Sims to the company of my classmates.

(I named one Sim baby Pootbrick, and she grew up to be the coolest person ever.)

This is going to sound horrifically snotty and holier-than-thou, but most of the people I met were repulsive.  Even the ones who didn’t smell of tuna salad.  My impression of them was that they were obsessed with gossiping, social status, and money. At their best, they behaved like high schoolers, and at their worst, like the cast of Gossip Girl.

Example:  my English class, taught by a totally awesome guy named Dr. Galle, was full of the sound of crickets, i.e. silence.  Nobody ever talked except for me, my roommate Hira (not the tuna salad one), and Dr. Galle.  Okay, I know most of the students at Emory are scientifically-minded and were taking the course to knock out a graduation requirement, but come on.  These kids are supposed to have SAT scores that are higher than Amy Winehouse.  Need I remind you that two of the three components of the SAT are verbal and writing?  They should at least be able to bullshit their way through a class discussion of Huckleberry Finn.

Honestly, I think the other students were afraid of getting the wrong answer.  This makes me feel a little sorry for them.

In order to get into top universities, you have to have spent your entire childhood being groomed for it.  There are rules you have to follow, which over time become so deeply ingrained that they become part of your character.  You learn to always know the right answer, always make 100%, always do everything correctly.  But English isn’t like that:  there are no right answers, and the best work tends to result from breaking the rules.  That’s scary.

*

I think the real problem is that I can’t handle highly competitive people.  They never seem to have any emotional depth, and even when they do, they seem to be doing their utmost to conceal or destroy it.  They are so consumed with displaying the various ways in which they have “won” at life.  At some level, they seem to realize that it’s hard to display winning at being a good person, and that accordingly falls by the wayside in favor of other goals.

You’d think it would have taken me fewer than thirteen years, forty thousand dollars, and countless thousands of miles to realize that I don’t want to be a Smart Person after all.  I don’t like them, and I don’t like what I become when I think of myself as one of them.  And I don’t think they like me, either.

I’ve decided I don’t believe in dignity, or status diplomas, or Smart People.  All I really believe in is being happy, and for whatever crazy reasons, Country Club University makes me happy.

Well, Punky helps with that too.

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Written by Estie

March 13, 2010 at 5:59 am

One Response

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  1. I took biology to fulfill a gen ed requirement at my university. What follows is an actual snippet of a conversation I had with another member of the class, who found biology “easy” (which I did not).

    Her: What’s your major?

    Me: English.

    Her: That’s so hard!

    Which, of course, proves your point above. Not that scientific people lack imagination, but they do seem to lack the mechanism needed to deal with situations in which there can be more than one correct answer, even when those answers contradict each other.

    Literary Dreamer

    March 14, 2010 at 12:00 am


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