Two Kinds Of Smart

My wife is scared smart. She worries about everything. Well, not everything -- the sensible things. She worries about having enough to live on. She worries about being safe.

She became a lawyer so she could address the living on issue. She doesn't like being a lawyer, but she sticks it out because it gives her (and us) financial security. She also learned about investing and made sure we invested so that we could have enough money for the kids' college and for our retirement.

I wanted to live in the city. We use less resources that way. More energy efficient. No need for a car. Less far to travel to get everything we wanted. I wanted to live in this cool neighborhood, but it was only a couple of blocks from a poorer neighborhood. She told me she wouldn't live in this house unless I put in an alarm system. So I did. The only thing it's caught so far are mice, spiders, our cleaning lady and fines for too many false alarms. But she feels safer. That's what is important.

I'm curious smart. I want to know everything. I want to know people. I want to know language. I want to know how the universe works. I want to know how to know things.

So I work in academia. I get to interact with professors from many different disciplines and I get to ask them to teach me what they are doing, one on one, because that's the only way I can help them. I get paid to learn stuff.

Amongst my friends, whenever there's a question that people don't know the answer to, they all look at me. Whenever my kids have a question my wife can't answer. "Go ask your father." If I don't know the answer, I can look it up faster than most people can.

She's smart because she has to be to get where she wants to go. I'm smart because I'm curious and I know how to learn. Two kinds of smart. Probably not the only two kinds, but they work for us.

wundayatta wundayatta
56-60, M
2 Responses Jul 26, 2010

Hmmm. I'd never thought of myself as secure that way, but I think you're right. I always felt that, financially at least, we'd do all right. I'm not worried about the future like she is. I think we could retire if we wanted to. She will never, ever, ever retire. She says she doesn't like the stress of her work, but I think she actually needs it. Without it, I think she'll feel like she's doing something wrong. I don't think she can stand being stressless. Or even with only a little stress. She makes up problems as she goes along.<br />
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It's fine with me, so long as she doesn't drag me into her mishegoss. I'll run along, solving problems on the fly as they come. I'm not going to make them up before they exist. I dunno. She feels like she has to baby our son along, and sit with him every night as he does his homework. I feel like if we expect him to be responsible for it on his own, his teachers will keep him in line.<br />
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But it's not like I don't have my own issues. You can read about them all over EP. It's just that in this area, I feel pretty secure. Thanks for pointing that out.

Very, very interesting. In other words, she's surviving and yr secure. It's nice that she's with someone like you! I'm "scared smart" because I've lived my life on the edge and can't get the fear out of my head. I know how she feels. It's better to be curious about the world around you. You're happier that way.