March 13th, 2012



So all this time I've been rambling on and on about being smart and all that stuff, and frankly, we've been getting a little concerned because all this thinking about it is making us start to think, "Huh. I guess we are pretty smart after all." I'm pretty sure there's still a significant danger of that, but anyway, in a sort-of related matter, last night we got a wonderful reminder of why we have problems with Smart People to begin with.

It may or may not have been such a problem to begin with, but there was a combination of factors that had us extra grumpy. It still would have been annoying, though.

See, last night was Home Evening Group. And for the activity, to our delight, we found we would be playing the sentence-picture-sentence game. Maybe it needs a better name, but that's what we call it. Maybe we should start calling it Tyrone. But anyway, the person in charge--we'll call her Dorothy--explained how it worked, and everybody seemed to understand the instructions pretty well except for one person, who we'll call Jennifer. There were some brief attempts at explaining it differently, but since the game is much easier to understand when you're actually doing it, we decided to just get started.

Dorothy is the timid type, and...well, I guess we have some Smart People qualities ourselves, because we decided to take charge as the People Who Know What's Going On and Are Decisive. So once everyone had their paper and pencil, we said okay, we're just going to write a sentence--that's it. This was for Jennifer's sake, because she was still very much like, "I don't know what I'm doing!", and we wanted to take it one step at a time.

So everyone finished their sentence, and we said okay, pass it to the person next to you. Only then we realized that Jennifer hadn't stopped writing--she just wasn't because she hadn't started. Well, all the papers had been passed, so everyone with a new paper might as well draw a picture on it, but for crying out loud, hold onto it until Jennifer finishes her sentence and draws a picture!

So we were trying to tell people, "No, stop, stop stop!" and they were all like, "No, just go, just go!" So Dorothy ended up with a huge backlog because she was the only one who listened to us. The reason we wanted people to slow down was that Jennifer was stressed out enough as it was with the content of the game that we didn't want to pressure her by making her think she had to go faster, but these other people seemed to think that if they weren't playing the game RIGHT NOW, they were going to somehow lose.

When I was reviewing it in my head, I classified it as a Smart Person move, but now that I've typed it out, I think it was just inconsiderate.

On the other hand, there was Jennifer. Jennifer can be a wonderful person and we like her very much, but last night, she drove me up the wall. I can understand being a perfectionist, and I understand that she was sitting next to someone who likes to write novels as his first sentence, but...

Well, you see, it was the third paper she got. It had one sentence (folded back and invisible) and one picture. Now it was her turn to write a sentence. But she is good friends with Joe, who wrote the original sentence, and based on the picture, she was convinced she knew exactly what he wrote. Only she didn't know exactly what he wrote, which was the source of the problem. She had to sit there trying to figure out the second half of what he wrote so she could recreate the sentence perfectly. We told her repeatedly that that's not the point of the game (it's so much more fun when the sentences and pictures vary wildly), but she was determined. And here we were, frustrated that we were trying to get people to slow down and ease the pressure off of her, and there she was, wasting time trying to look smart!

The great irony of it all is that there was no second half to Joe's sentence. If she hadn't bothered trying to figure it out, she would have been spot-on.

Fortunately, she seemed to figure it out as the game went on, and I think next time she won't complain so much about "all the crap I have to draw." Also fortunately, nobody seemed to notice our increasingly bad attitudes enough to let them dampen their moods.

Anyway. The moral of the story is, patience. ...We're working on it.

Today I'm thankful for finishing work slightly early today, getting a check in the mail, having a slightly easier time waking up this morning, having enough milk for our cereal, and ice cream with chocolate chip Eggo waffles.