The Sacrifice

Who doesn’t love a smart person? How easy when nothing has to be explained in conversation, when all your references are understood. How comforting to be with someone who knows stuff. How do you work this thing anyway? The smart person knows. He knows about taxes and politics and equations and law. Have you read that book? Oh, yes, he’s read it, and many others too. Smart people read a lot of books. It’s just what they do. The problem with smart people is that in order for them to exist there must also be dumb people. Every coin has two sides. We don’t love the dumb people. Oh, the dumb, obvious things they say, and never knowing how anything works, and never having read any book, or at least any book you’d want to read. Who would ever choose to be dumb? No one of course, they just came out that way, the same as the smart people came out smart.

But how can you be sure if you are one of the smart people or one the dumb people? If you were a dumb person, mightn’t you think you were smart? Maybe you’d look at what the smart people are saying and call it dumb because it makes no sense to you. How embarrassing would that be when you learned the truth? If you ever even learned the truth. You could easily live your entire life in unobstructed stupidity, parading your dumbness around town like a man calling his pet pigeon an eagle.

Still, someone must be sacrificed upon this alter of stupidity. Without this sacrifice, the coin of smart and stupid does not exist, and we can never call ourselves smart. But whom to jail in this prison? The child with the 85 IQ? That would be cruel. Your best friend who dropped out of high school when he got into drugs? It’s more complicated than that. That fellow on TV you disagree with? That’s getting closer. Better still, someone you’ve never seen or met. Yes, he’s not so hard to imagine, this utter imbecile, whom every fine obvious lovely thing eludes, who never learns from his mistakes. He must be out there somewhere, and you are certain someday you will meet him. In the meantime, it’s good to know you are one of the smart ones.

Unless, of course, you never meet him. This could mean but one of two things: Either there are no stupid people, or . . . the unthinkable. No. It cannot be. He’s out there. This lamb is out there, as unaware of his own stupidity as the reprieve he grants us.

9781935961994-Perfect_CS.inddWrite Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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