Denise Day Spencer

July 17, 2008

Dumb and dumber

Filed under: Random ramblings — denisedayspencer @ 4:08 pm

I’m trying to figure out if it’s to my advantage or to my disadvantage to surround myself with people who are smarter than me. Michael is light-years more intelligent than I am. (One more supporting fact for the claim that “Opposites attract!”)

Since my children are genetically half Michael’s, it stands to reason that they’re smarter than me, too.

And then there’s Audie, the guy I work with.

It’s not the big things that get to me; it’s the simple ones. Case in point: We label our school’s bulk mailings at the print shop where I work. Sometimes I work the output end, sometimes Audie does. Tamara prefers to feed the machine, and she’s quicker at it than Audie and me put together, so we let her. When I worked the other end I used to have a constant problem with the used tabbing tape. It’s supposed to feed into a big trash can we have set up on the other side of the table, but it wants to curl and twist its way down the front side and onto the newsletters as they exit the machine. Exasperated, I’d been–for years–stretching my back muscles as I leaned over the machine to toss the tape to the far side of the table every minute or two. Over and over. And over.

The first time Audie relieved me on that end of the machine, he strolled around to the other side of the table and worked it from there. Problem solved. Such a pure solution. So elegantly simple. And it never would have occurred to me in a million years.

I could relate numerous such examples. But the real kicker came a few weeks ago. Our boss had written a letter to our alumni and had made reference to a little old Post Office building that our previous president had brought to our campus from another town. It was recently moved to a new location right next to the print shop. Let me say that again: right next to the print shop.

In the first draft of his letter, he mentioned the Tanksly Post Office and put a “(sp?)” after the “Tanksly” to alert us that he wasn’t sure how it was spelled. I said I had no idea if that was correct or not. When Tamara typset the letter, she got online, Googled “Tanksly” and found that it was spelled with an “ey,” not just a “y.” So there we sat, talking about the boss’s spelling of it, the internet’s spelling of it and my ignorance of all of it when Audie looked out the window at the little old Post Office.You know, the one sitting right next to the print shop. “Yes,” he chimed in. “It’s spelled with an ‘ey.'” “Tanksley Post Office” was painted right above the door of the building.

William Feather (1908 – 1976) said, “One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person.” I think I’ll forget smart and just try for happy. Hey! Maybe if I’m happy enough I won’t care how dumb I am.



  1. Oh I hear you.
    My daughter and I joke that we both should have an epitath on our tombstones that says “I never would have thought of that.”

    Comment by Hope — July 17, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  2. No, Denise, no! That kind of thinking isn’t dumb, it’s just linear–follow the rules, do it the way it has always been done, because it generally works. It gets the job done. Some people are better at a kind of sideways thinking that lets them come up with new solutions to make things easier, but that doesn’t mean they’re smarter. It just means that they think differently. Don’t sell yourself short. Go for happy and smart.

    Comment by Jean — July 20, 2008 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  3. “Maybe if I’m happy enough I won’t care how dumb I am.”
    I believe the words you’re looking for are “Ignorance is bliss.”

    Thank you for listing Clark Bunch’s Weblog in your blog roll. The truth is though, I’m not doing a lot with that site anymore. I would appreciate it if you would a) leave Clark Bunch on the list and change the link, or b) add The Master’s Table to your blogroll also. That blog is updated several times a week, and that’s were all my good stuff is at. The URL is

    Thanks a Bunch.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — July 25, 2008 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  4. Don’t sell yourself short. Go for happy and smart.
    Comment by Jean — July 20, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    I agree with Jean.

    Comment by Intelligent Office — July 26, 2008 @ 9:39 am | Reply

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