09 August, 2010

I am a Dummy

"Oliver, you are stupid!"

Most people believe I’m smart. I graduated in a science-specialized high school and I am currently in my second year in one of the prime universities in my country, being a chemistry major at sixteen years old. It’s crazy how most people think I’m a goddamn prodigy just because of those things. Well, I am not smart. Okay, at least, I’m not that smart. I mean I’m not as smart as you probably think I am with what I’ve just told you.

I am not the most brilliant of students. In my high school, there were lots of guys who were more awesome students than I was. It’s because of two things: one, I don’t have a study habit; and two, I don’t care about my grades. I just go to school and force myself to learn the lessons and yeah, life goes on. Now, being a chemistry major, I don’t even feel like a science genius. Firstly, I hate my major. It’s not that I hate chemistry, but I just never thought that I would become a chemistry major. Secondly, I hate math! I suck at math. Really. I understand integrals and all those shit but I just really don’t do well in that subject. Lastly, I consider myself more of an art guy – I love reading and writing. I also love to draw and I also love music. It’s just so ironic how I ended up being a science person. It’s my mom’s dream of me becoming a doctor that shoved me into this path. So yes, I hate my academics. So I get passing grades; not excellent grades. So I get good scores; not perfect scores. So I’ve got my point across – I’m a dummy.

I’ve convinced myself that I’m stupid last Saturday night as I was trying to study for my orgo exam. Okay, let me just talk about this first: my orgo exam earlier was bat-effin insane! It was really damn difficult. When I walked into the room, I told myself, “Okay, Oliver, you can do this. You’ve got this. You’ve got this.” So I took the exam paper and read the very first instruction: “Draw the structures of the missing reagents, intermediates, transition states and products of the following reactions.” Okay, so that’s nothing new. We’ve been doing that thing for quite a while. Then I read the very first reaction… %&*#!!! What’s CH3CH2SNa? OMG, chithreechitoosna?! What the hell was that thing doing there? I don’t recall having encountered that reagent. Well, maybe it’s because of lack of practice… The succeeding parts of the exam were even more challenging. “Draw the line structures of the most stable conformations of the following…” “Explain the following observations by writing the mechanisms of their reactions…”

August 9th, 2010. A nuclear bomb exploded inside my head. Fifty million neurons killed.

Going back to the Saturday night… I was trying to study for my orgo exam and I was really not doing anything. I was just staring at the book and thinking of lots of random stuff. After an hour of not accomplishing anything, I told myself, “Oliver, you’re stupid.” Okay, I had convinced myself that I’m totally stupid… but then I switched on the TV. The ultimate test of genius-ness was on! I’m not talking about the annoying versus fifth-graders quiz show – not that self-esteem destroyer. I’m talking about… *tune* Who Wants to be a Millionaire?


I watched this smart-looking twenty-something female play the game. She said she became a chess champion twice in college. (Oh! Smart!) The first round of the quiz is the dummy quiz as we all know. The first three questions, sure, she got them all right… but then, on the fourth question (and still on the dummy round!), she was asked, “Which of the following is a name for a master?”

A. Slave

B. Lassie

C. Czar

D. Pet

Oh of course, the correct answer is C. Czar. But the girl said she wasn’t sure! Come on! Wow, I felt so smart when she said that. She used [and wasted] a lifeline. She used “Ask the Audience.” So then yes, a huge percentage answered C. (Damn, some of the audience answered A. Slave and D. Pet and C. Lassie! Like come on! Seriously, who needs a lifeline for this question? This is very stupid!) She answered C. Okay, now congratulate her for being able to answer. The fifth question got me even more annoyed at her. The question was, “How many points are there on two five-pointed stars?”

A. 5

B. 10

C. 15

D. 20

Zero! There are no points on two five-pointed stars!!! Just kidding. The answer, obviously, is ten! Basic arithmetic: two times five. But the amazing girl said, “Uhm… I’m not sure.” Goodness! Just that night I was almost totally convinced that I’m very stupid, and then here’s this girl saying on national TV that she’s not sure of the answer to a question as simple as two times five. Great, eh? She used the lifeline “Phone a Friend.” The friend was on the phone and the girl told her the question and the choices. You’re not gonna believe what happened next. The friend answered, “Uhm… twenty?”

Goddammit. Birds of the same feathers (brain size) flock (fail) together.

So go ahead, people! Crown me! Crown yourselves! We’re geniuses. Give me the Nobel Prize, baby!

The girl didn’t want to believe her friend. She said she was still unsure and that she was thinking of answering twenty, but she was still really unsure. So she used her last lifeline, 50:50. Oh God, she should’ve left the show instead. She’s an embarrassment. And thank the computer for removing 20 from the choices. She answered… “B. 10”

Hooray! Ode to Joy should’ve been played in the background. I’m sooooo proud of her… I almost cried.

After that, I realized that I’m a smart guy, after all. With the new confidence, thanks to the very glorifying stupidity of that contestant, I went back to study. I was able to practice a little, but I think I dozed off.

Why was I even convincing myself that I am stupid? I just need to tell everyone that I am not a genius. What’s our measure of genius-ness, anyway? Who Wants to be a Millionaire? That remarkable contestant? How about Albert Einstein, how about that guy who invented Facebook (whose name I don’t care that I don’t know), or Lady GaGa?

Lady Gaga wins.

kudos to you, smart friend.


Mrs. C said...

I think I'm smart *enough,* but if I got up on television, I would probably freeze in front of the camera and look not very smart. It's probably different looking at the answers in your living room than it is up on the stage with the lights and the people and cameras and feeling that pressure. People who are used to cameras (like politicians and movie stars) I do judge a bit more harshly...

ScoMan said...

I know the feeling. Some people think you're a genius because you might be able to do one thing really well, or you might know a lot about a few things, but across the board I feel like nothing special.

I did know how many points are on two five pointed stars though.

KellyCan'tBehave. said...

Haha congrats to everyone for knowing how many points are on two five-pointed stars, hoorah for us and civilisation!!! Although not including this girl, she doesn't get my hoorah for being an utter fail at the question. Oliver you sure sound smart; be a genius in your own right! xo

Hanis. said...

OMG. I laughed so hard reading about the girl. Yeah, there's the pressure but its not like she was pulled off the street randomnly 5 mins before sitting on the chair, right?

Not knowing if its 20 or 10 or whatnot?*shakes head before laughing again*

Total mood for studying has been created. xD

RicAdeMus said...

I'm glad you came around at the end and saw the truth--no one passing chemistry is dumb. Unless that tv contestant somehow passed it. Wow, I hope I'm never so nervous or dumb that I couldn't answer those questions! But I have had a few blows to the head, one more might push me over the edge into stupidity.

ishashime.ü said...

I seriously laughed a lot at this post.

And since I, too, wrestled with chemistry (though it was an easier chem subject) last year, I know how you must have felt taking that exam. I never liked chemistry so I salute you for majoring in it. Haha.

Oliver said...

@Mrs. C
Yeah, I understand there is a 'pressure' factor on quiz shows. But I'm quite sure that when I get up there, I will be able to answer questions like basic vocabulary and arithmetic. Just don't make me do integrals!

I might have been too mean to judge her and be writing about her in my blog, but I just enjoyed watching her... and realizing that I'm not really stupid. My classes make me feel I am. =]

I know you're really smart, dude. You know everything. You are a genius. LOL. And congratulations for knowing how many points there are on two five-pointed stars.

Why thank you! It's really hard majoring in such a rock-solid science program, but I just laugh at myself whenever I fail in something or whenever I feel dumb from the lessons. I'm always happy. Yeah, it does happen a lot. XD

Oliver said...

Thanks! The greatest and most brilliant people in the history of the world have all answered that question. We might include ourselves in history!

Hahaha. Yeah, I know. She was either very nervous, very occupied, very confused, or plain dumb.

I've had a number of blows to the head as well, but I trust myself that I still can do some two times five regardless. No one passing chemistry is dumb? That's news to me! HAHAHA.

Anonymous said...

I 100% understand. I am Asian and everybody is under the impression that I a genius, I'm NOT. SHHH!!! I HATE math with a passion and in my Algebra class I'm a scatter brain. Everything else like English and Biology I'm great at.

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