I never claimed to be a smart person. I nod politely at dinner party conversations and when people ask what I think about Somalia I say “Oh my god, like, it’s so bad right now.” and then I make my way to the cheese. But I also always lived in the safety of knowing I wasn’t a dumb person. I moved to New York which is a smart thing to do. I made it through NYU in four years and graduated with honors. I’ve read lots of big books with lots of pages. I fucking love Samuel Beckett and religious non-fiction so the bookshelf in my living room would blow your mind. I own a copy of the Qua-ran, which is not only smart but edgy. People see that and they think “This bitch plays with fire.”
I was at Christine’s birthday party a few weeks back. Her friend, Amy, who I really like sat down next to me and we started talking. She’s a feminist writer and quintessential smart person.
AMY: “I gave this interview a while back and the woman says to me, she says: So you would consider Margaret Thatcher a model for the modern feminist. So I say to her, there’s no way I would say that.”
I nod and take a deep drink of wine.
AMY: “I would say that she was an example of what happens to a strong woman in power…”
I decided my best bet would be to repeat the last word of whatever she said. And then make a sentence out of it.
ME: “Power, yes.”
AMY: “But definitely not a mold that should be repeated by decisive women everywhere.”
ME: “Women everywhere are totally normal women.”
AMY: “I’ve even gone so far as write an article about how her relationship with the US during the first year in office was a predictable and undignified approach.”
ME: “Approach is the key to everything.”
AMY: “She was a highly specific person in a highly specific time. In most ways, her example has no affect on the working women of today.”
ME: “Today is the day we should really worry about.”
AMY: “Maybe the men…” (she laughs)
ME: “Men are totally the people who…TODAY…would have things that would have to do with this thing. The thing we are talking about right now.” (I laugh)
Okay, so I don’t know anything about Margaret Thatcher. So what? It’s not like her example has any affect on my modern life. What does have such an effect? Trivia night at my local pub in Queens. I begged Dawn and Meredith to come with me last Wednesday. It’s really fun. Cheap drinks and good bar food and a chance to stretch our academic muscles. I mean, my god, we were in Queens. Not a MENSA conference. Zing!
We were so excited. We were laughing endlessly coming up with our team name. We finally landed on the “Pharma-Sisters.” Dawn wanted people to think we were pharmacists.
By the end of the night, we were deflated. We had no idea who wrote the score to The Lone Ranger. We were totally bust on sports. Can you tell me where the Tarantula got it’s name? The worst part was when the question was “What is the least inhabited state in Australia?” The musical clue was “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” So we put…Georgia. (and I have to say we were pretty confident in our answer.) It was Tazmania. And the DJ went as far as making fun of us over the microphone. “The song is a clue. Not always a literal clue…there was one team that said Georgia!” Everyone laughed and Meredith kept her eyes down and mumbled without moving her lips “Don’t look up, don’t look up.”