I was sitting in the office with one of my office friends, about ten-twelve years ago and we were enjoying those round candies called Smarties. I was thoroughly enjoying my Smarties when one lodged in my throat and I nearly choked to death. I coughed and sputtered and hacked and turned a few shades of red. I laughed, she laughed and I coughed some more. Smarties burn when they dissolve anywhere else besides your belly. When I finally calmed down enough that no one felt the necessity to call the paramedics, my friend responded with one of her classic, clipped quotes:
I haven’t thought about that odd story for a lot of years but it came back to me just weekend when I had a self-actualization: I am a smarty pants. Oh, I tried to talk myself into saying that I just had a lust for knowledge and for sharing said knowledge, but the cold hard facts are thusly: I am a smarty pants. I love to tell people all about all the worthless shit I know.
Then I began ticking off the times when I exhibited the traits of a smarty pants and here’s what I found:
I told my friend how to wash her hair. Honestly, how to wash her hair. Okay, in my defense, I added a new twist that was specific to this product, but really, I told someone how to wash her hair. And it didn’t stop there, I accidently left out a step and so now every time I’m in the shower, and correctly washing my hair, I fret over not supplying her with the proper technique to correctly wash her hair. Ohmigod! It’s just hair!
Yet I obsess over these kinds of things. I find myself unable to keep my mouth shut and dispense all sorts of useless knowledge: how to clip dog toenails; how turkey’s mate; how a fax machine works. There’s no limit to the crap I’ll try to educate people on.
I remember the lunchtime conversation about why Chaz Bono wants to be a man and how I explained in painstaking detail the therapy, medications and surgeries the poor man went through to achieve mandom. Who the hell am I to say why Chaz wants to be Chaz?
I’m a smarty pants. That’s who.
So from now on, I think I’m gonna take a back seat and not try to educate the populace on what is so obviously not important. I’m going to talk less and listen more and let people find knowledge on their own.
And the next time someone calls me a Smarty Pants, it will be because I’m choking on candy!