Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Out of the Closet

This is probably the most difficult post I’ve ever had to write. Not because the words are hard, but because I’ve had to come to grips with something about my nature. About who I am.

I remember when I was a young boy, I played a game of chess against another boy about my age. After his opening move (Pawn to A4), I felt the beginnings of…well, something inside me. I knew that there was something “wrong” with this feeling, but as the game progressed it only got stronger. Seven moves later, after I checkmated him, I told him exactly how I felt.

He punched me in the nose and called me a slur. Since then, I’ve lived a double life, afraid to come out and be who I really am.

It appears that the truth has a way of coming out anyway. Despite my best efforts at hiding it, several bloggers have discovered the truth. And while I tried to laugh off their attempts to ridicule me and pretend it wasn’t true, I realize now that this has only harmed my self-image. I must come out of the closet. And so, publicly, I now reveal to everyone my deepest secret.

I am smarter than you.

I cannot help it. It is partly in my genes: both my parents are intellectuals. But I also know that my lifestyle has contributed to my inability to overcome this weakness. I am addicted to internet arguments. It began simply, and it began before the internet was widespread even. I saw a book and I read it. Then I needed to read more books. And soon, I began to act out on what I had read. I am ashamed to admit it, but I began to do math. It got so bad that some days I would do math as many as six times a day. I started with simple math. And it progressed (oh, how does it progress!). Soon not even algebra was enough for me. No, I had to progress into the realm of calculus.

After I got online, I discovered a whole new world of argumentation. When I read many arguments (especially if they were on BHT), I couldn’t help but think: “The guy who wrote this is just plain stupid!” It was the same feeling I felt playing chess against my stupid friend so long ago.

But I didn’t say it out loud. I tried to respond in a way that would subtly deliver my point, but still they accused me of being an intellectual elitist. They accused me of being a smart ass and wise guy, as if there was something wrong with being smart and wise.

I’ve been called many things in my life. I’ve been called a nerd, a geek, a braniac. All of these slurs have hurt. And I want to know…just what is so wrong with being smart anyway? It hurts no one but me! Is my intellectual superiority so hard for you to stomach that my mere existence causes you pain? If you are dumb enough to write stupid things, then why should I be the one who has to suffer? If you run with scissors, put your own eye out, not mine.

I say enough is enough! No longer will I stand in the shadows content to draw geometrical figures in the dark! I say it’s okay to be smart! I challenge all my dumber brethren to cut me some slack. Just because I’m smarter than you doesn’t mean you have to be offended when I demonstrate your arguments are as pointless as a water buffalo in Cleveland! I say it is YOU who should change! It is YOU who should start to be smart!

Say it with me now:


Yes, yearn to learn my brothers and sisters! Don’t succumb to being dumb. Open your eyes and choose to be wise!


  1. P to King Four.

    or e4. (If you prefer algebraic notation.)

    P.S. I loved your satirical post!

  2. Seven moves I'd love to see the notation of that game. What is your preferred opening? English? Spanish? I'd be very interested in finding out.

  3. My preferred opening is German--quickly take over Czechoslovakia thanks to the British, and then invade France and Poland...I know nothing about chess.

  4. German: Will you stop talking about the war!
    Basil: Me? You started it!
    German: We did not start it.
    Basil: Yes you did, you invaded Poland!

    Someone had to say it, so it might as well have been me.


  5. Peter, I feel your pain, Brother. As a child, I used a five syllable word and ended up in a trash can. When it became painfully clear that I couldn’t relate to my peers, I too was diagnosed with early onset intelligence. I suspect you know the kind of treatment which began. The “special” textbooks. Separation from my “normal” classmates for different activities, many of which only seemed to exacerbate the problem.

    Fortunately, decades later, my family and friends unanimously agree that I was misdiagnosed. But to this day, the shame I carried forward from my “condition” leads me to post under a pseudonym. Perhaps one day I will have your strength. Carry on. For all of us.

  6. My prefered opening is the Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique, although Five Finger Death Punch is a great alternative (if you're into music).

    As to the notation, I still have it memorized from the third grade. I, of course, was black:

    1. a4

    At this point I realized I was dealing with a complete imbecile.

    1. ... e5
    2. a5 Qh4

    This move would be typically dubious. But under the circumstances, I knew I could be risky.

    3. a6

    Of course at this point he threatened my b7 pawn. But even then I was totally prepared to sacrifice every single pawn for the greater good (namely, my benefit).

    3. ... Bc5
    4. axb7

    Since he didn't defend anything, I realized that I could mate him whenever I felt like it. So I toyed with him for a bit. Only because I could.

    4. ... Bxb7

    5. Na4 Na6

    This was a copy-cat move designed to throw him into further confusion. It worked:

    6. Nb1 Nb8

    Here he decided to try a different attack:

    7. Nc3

    And I finally went for the kill:

    7. ... Qxf2#.

    At this point, he tried:

    8. Kxf2.

    I pointed out that the Bishop on C5 guarded that square as diplomatically as I could by tapping on it and saying, "What, did you see this, idiot?" At which point he punched me.

    I knew I shouldn't have ever agreed to play chess against Bush.

  7. Kaffinator,

    According to my parents, the first word I used as a baby was "isomorphological." Apparently, I was pointing at a pari of Mobius strips at the time. But this is to be expected when you mother sings you the digits to pi as you go to sleep.

    It appears that you may have been mis-misdiagnosed. That is, have you considered that you might have Type II (Adult onset) Debilitations? You were intelligent as a child, but now that Debilitations has set in you're finding Global Warming more and more plausible?

  8. Perhaps, Peter. All I know is that these days, movies seem funnier, voting is easier, and visionaries like Al Gore and Michael Moore seem so much more...y'know, visionary-y.

    Sometimes I have to stop and think, being smart would be so hard sometimes! But that's all behind me now.

    Sorry, didn't mean to brag.

  9. Vytautas asked:
    Who are you satirizing?

    There are several targets. I predict in the upcoming days it will become clearer :-) In the meantime, you can examine the BHT reference for one of the targets....

  10. "In the meantime, you can examine the BHT reference for one of the targets...."

    Is I-Monk the target of good, light-hearted, satirical humor? Let it be!

  11. Well, you know how it goes. Those of us who are Big Brained need to act out from time to time lest the iMonk be wrong 100% of the time.

  12. I'm not very good at chess, but 1. a4 is a terrible opening. If you want a wild one, though, one that's fun to play, give this a shot:

    1. b4 e5 2. b5 ...

    It's a surprising one, and better than it looks!

  13. 1. b4 e5 2. b5 ...

    This move loses time.

  14. The a4 opening was my homage to Martin Gardner's April 1975 Scientific American article, where he talked about the computer program MIT had developed that demonstrated a4 is always a win for white.

    Of course, as often happens when smart people play jokes on dumb people, not very many people caught the date of Gardner's article.

  15. Vytaus said:
    1. b4 e5 2. b5 ...

    This move loses time.


    I think he meant:

    1. b4 e5
    2. Ba3

    Which is a Fianchetto.

  16. "Of course, as often happens when smart people play jokes on dumb people, not very many people caught the date of Gardner's article."

    April 1st is April Fools Day. Why do I have to explain this to a bunch of neanderthal pea-brains?

    Me smart, you stoopid.


  17. No, no, I meant what I said: 1. b4 e5 2. b5 ...

    This is a variant on the Orangutan, an irregular, or unorthodox chess opening. So, it is not typically played in serious games by high level players. Openings like this are useful for a couple of reasons: (a) Bobby Fischer used irregular openings to get computers "out of book" (e.g. Crafty has to think about how to respond to the Orangutan variants); (b) I have found irregular openings like this one useful against players who are more skilled in the opening game, since they generally haven't studied the irregulars; and (c) it is also useful in blitz games because players will make mistakes in the face of unfamiliar openings.

    Plus, the irregular openings are fun. They add creativity into the opening of the game where it can sometimes be just a tired rehearsal of familiar openings. In fact, Bobby Fischer liked to randomize the second rows of pieces when he played. This trashes a lot of opening theory and further opens the game up to the imagination of the players.

    Anyway, play with 1. b4...

  18. "Bobby Fischer liked to randomize the second rows of pieces when he played."

    Fischer Random.