I don't know if you've had a chance to hang out with me lately, but I'm pretty f---ing smart. Go ahead, put an "-er" on that statement. You know you were thinking it. 'There's something different about him,' you probably thought. 'I knew he was kinda smart, but he seems........smarter. What gives?' What you were picking up on is that I'm not only smarter, I'm quicker, I've probably raised my IQ, I'm pretty sure I know how to fix the economy, I'm starting to find flaws in Stephen Hawking's theories, and even though men are from Mars and women are from Venus, I think I know how to accomplish that inter-planetary travel.
Allow me to explain. I read Newsweek. Now, this could be a blessing in and of itself, especially if my old pal Jon Meacham were still at the helm, but recently Newsweek came out with a story that changed my life. Even though I had not changed my life at all.
The article is called "31 Ways To Get Smarter-Faster." Contained within are any number of tricks and techniques to get us down this path to greater smartivity. And, of course, reading such gospel provoked a little bit of self-analysis of the ol' Bob. Let's investigate together, shall we?
#11. Eat Dark Chocolate. Christmas Eve? Guess what I dipped my banana in? That's right. Dark chocolate. I've been gnawing, sucking, melting this stuff for years. Medicinally, of course.
#1. Play Words With Friends. Been there, done that. Know what I learned? Inside tip: they don't even have to be friends. It's just as fun to beat the mental crap out of people you don't necessarily like all that much.
#31. Get Out Of Town. Hey, you don't have to tell me twice. Even though relatives kept me stuck here for the break, I still managed to drag one batch of them down to Atlanta for the day, and, last weekend, when my daughter didn't want to travel alone to a wedding down there, I was like, "Hop in the car, baby, I'll be your chauffeur for the day." Got a good meal out of it, too.
#26. Zone Out. Huh? What did you just say?
#16. Eat Yogurt. I also drank some milk that was sitting in a glass in the den for a couple of days. I hope that counts.
#7. Download The TED App. Done and done. I hope it's not presumptuous to say that you'll soon be watching me on a TED App.
#10. Learn A Language. Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
#22. Visit An Art Museum. Took my whole clan down to Atl over the break to see everything from Picasso to Warhol, though hearing Modigliani called "one of the greatest technical painters of the 20th century" for painting a series of vertical and horizontal lines wasn't working for me. I think I'll paint my name on a shovel, hang it from the ceiling and call it art.
#30. Write Reviews Online. Bottom-of-the-glass.blogspot.com. Be happy to tell you what I think of Alejandro Escovedo's concert or the Avett Brothers or the Stones after 1973 or movies like "Winter's Bone" or "Drive." Working on a review of Darwin's Origin of Species which should be ready soon.
#14. Play Violent Video Games. Dude, I'm working through Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for the second time. It's all about timing that jump to get to Makarov's helicopter, throw his son-of-a-bitch pilot out of the cockpit, crash the damn thing and then hang Makarov from the ceiling. Oh, yes, he'll pay for for what he did to Soap and Yuri. Count on it.
#2. Eat Turmeric. Don't own any turmeric? If you canned pickles, you would. Do my teeth look yellow?
#23. Plan An Instrument. Dylan Night? Neil Young Night? I've been a guitar-playing machine for the last month!
#18. See A Shakespeare Play. Okay, I haven't seen one recently, but I've watched the trailer for Coriolanus. Looks pretty good, like an action flick.
#5. Toss Your Smartphone. I do. Every night. Onto the bed. So I can plug it in and get it all charged up for the next day and so that it can sleep next to my pillow.
#20. Hydrate. Those who know me know that I never order anything to drink except water when I eat at a Chinese restaurant.
#27. Drink Coffee. Just did. Still am. Third cup this morning. Do you notice my prose getting crisper, tighter, more focused? Here's the best news of all: the more you drink, the smarter you get.
#24. Write By Hand. Took notes in a meeting just yesterday. Actually, there are a lot of things I do by hand that I'm pretty good at.
#13. Wipe The Smile Off Your Face. I've never had much trouble looking down on the actions of other people. Ass.
#29. Become An Expert. Or, in my case, more than one. Which one do you want to know about?
#28. Delay Gratification. This was my favorite one, but I saved it for last. I also didn't start playing Call Of Duty until over a week after I opened it on Christmas Day.
Let me save you the counting; your slower brain probably can't handle that anyway. You probably use a calculator to add. I'm already accomplishing 20 of the 31 techniques, which has to make me practically the poster child of Smartville. And I'm going to do the other 10 tonight. How much Tae Kwon Do do you think I have to learn, anyway? And what the fuck is Al Jazeera? Sounds like a Middle Eastern place we used to eat at in Pittsburgh.
I hope you had a nice Christmas and got some good stuff. Know what I got for Christmas? Smart. That's what I got. A stocking stuffed with "Smart-er."
When I finished reading the piece, finished going through the checklist, I thought to myself, 'You know, Bob, you do seem a little quicker. Keep up the good work.'
Yes, I like working on self-improvement. Yes, I like seeing the kinds of immediate, tangible results that I'm seeing and feeling. My boss likes to think that he's the smartest person in the room. Little does he knows what's happening each time I sip my coffee, jot down a note, stare off into space, snack on a yogurt-covered pretzel or throw down the smack with a "Triple Word" score under the table on my phone during a meeting. Yes, I really do like all of the ways that I feel better about myself. Mostly, though, I think I just like validation for all of the wonderful things that I do for myself and others that take absolutely no extra effort at all. Who doesn't wish they had a smart friend like me? You should try it.