Edward Udel: Stable geniuses unite
DALTON — The poly-unsaturated, unadulterated weight of my genius has almost been too much to bear. My upper discs have compressed and most of my lower lumbar discs 3, 4 and 5 have all ruptured. I can barely lift or rotate my head and over the past few years, I have lost height.
This enormously heavy burden began when my second grade teacher (we called her Missy) at Lanesborough Elementary School patted me on my head in response to an assignment I completed and declared that I was "a little genius." No one else in my class heard it as it was her practice to call each of her students to the front desk for private consultations, but the damage was done. I heard it all too clearly and from that day on, I secretly bore that title and the heavy obligations that went with it/
Missy was one of my favorite teachers and she never gave me any reason to doubt her honesty. Since I was always taught by my parents to walk humbly (that probably applies to running too), I never thought I would be released from this terrible juxtaposition of genius and humility, this oxymoronic blend of ethical obligation and unfettered brilliance. To add insult to injury, I thought I was all alone. Then I heard our president, Donald Trump, declare that he too was a stable genius.
He lifted a terrible weight off of my shoulders. After I heard his declaration on MSNBC, I switched to CNN and then FOX to validate his comment. There remained no doubt. From that evening on, the president and I were simpatico.
This also helps to explain the president's untraditional behavior, and why he poses as a habitual liar, contradicting himself as often as the famous Wilt Chamberlain is reported to have achieved intimacy. It also explains why the president seems so unstable and insecure. All of it is an act to conceal his genius from the world and he has done so most convincingly. He too must be wedded to the goal of walking humbly except on the golf course where he drives a cart.
I can identify with President Trump. I too did everything I could think of to hide my genius, including my choice of profession. I heard at a very early age that those who can't do, teach. What a perfect cover! I posed as a teacher.
Because of my obligation to walk humbly, I taught in classrooms at North Junior High, Crosby Junior High, Crosby Middle School, Herberg Middle School, PHS and Taconic, barely causing a ripple of success in 35 years. Occasionally, I would screw up and some of my students ended up at Harvard, Williams and the like but others achieved less. They protected my genius from public discovery. At the very end of my 35-year teaching odyssey, I was presented with a $2.50 green and yellow plastic coffee mug by Taconic High School and I knew then that my concealment strategy worked like a charm.
But the daily effort to hide my special gift was exhausting. I can fully understand why our president finally blurted out his secret. The many strategies he must employ to hide his genius take a toll. I speak from experience.
Mr. President, I remember when you criticized President Obama for playing golf so often but in your first two years as president, you have played far more often than he did in eight years. But I fully understand why. You, more than any other president in our history, have born the terrible burden of stability and genius so it is perfectly understandable why you need an outlet. If only you could reveal the real reason why you ignore security briefings and do little or no reading. Undoubtedly, your genius enables you to know what has been written without the pedestrian need to waste time reading.
With whatever time I have left, I hope to regain my height and to lift and rotate my head more freely. I hope to throw off the shackles of stability, genius and humility and take comfort in the fact that I am no longer alone. You and I, Mr. President, will make the journey together. But being a stable genius, you already knew that.
I only wish that I could have concealed my genius as successfully as you. Not every genius can lose more than a billion dollars in 10 years! Every now and again, I screwed up. You, on the other hand, have an unblemished record.
Edward Udel is a frequent Eagle contributor.
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