Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested: Part 2

When I was little, my dad used to call me his “little encyclopedia.” He might be in a conversation with someone, usually a family member, and say something like, “oh, that happened a few weeks ago.” I’d pipe up with all the authority I could muster, “no, Dad, that happened five weekends ago on Saturday, and we ate hamburgers afterward.” He’d ask me how I remembered such a detail, and I’m not sure I could ever explain it. I just remembered it.

Never one to keep quiet when I knew an answer, I quickly--and often painfully--learned that not everyone appreciates a know-it-all. It was a rough road through my early years at school, being first to raise my hand to answer each question, dodging the dirty looks and crumpled paper tossed in my direction. Teachers only called on me when the rest of the class was stumped. They especially hated it when they were trying to teach incorrect history or the wrong grammar--I’d call them on it. Of course, I wasn’t correct every time: I occasionally made mistakes, most often to a chorus of taunts and finger pointing. My ability to remember useless trivia, “too big” words, and piles of other information has always been excellent, but it’s not always a good thing.

The Man now bears the brunt of my know-it-all trait. In less than delicate terms, I’ve informed him that he doesn’t make the bed correctly, because naturally the way I do it is the right and only way. I learned that he never learned how to correctly clean a shower, or at least didn’t learn it the way I like it done. Despite his efforts to please me, I’m afraid he must be told more than once that he’s doing it wrong. Several arguments have ended with him informing me that my way is not the only way and that I can “stuff it,” or some slightly more colorful version of that sentiment. I know he’s right, I’m wrong, and that I need to learn to pick my battles more carefully.

Sheldon’s know-it-all personality has been the subject of many Big Bang episodes. Like an encyclopedia, he fills in trivia (Fun with Flags, anyone?) and points out truths and facts to the annoyance of the other characters. His great brain, like my lesser one, gets him into trouble not because of how smart he is, but because he doesn’t understand how to use it.

For as much as I’ve had to learn it the hard way, I still correct people sometimes. I have learned more when the right times are, though I am not always the most polite. It is hard to be both kind and correcting, and I err on the side of not saying anything rather than trying to be helpful. Knowing the encyclopedic “right” answer doesn’t may not mean I have the proper answer.

1 comment:

Jules said...

I have children like this. Maybe you can help me parent them better!