Smart-Stoopid is the New Skinny-Fat

Skinny-fat.  You’ve heard the term?  It’s when you fit into your skinny jeans but you barely have enough muscle to pull them up over your tiny rear end.  So you are skinny, but you’re fat too, sort of.  (Yeah I know, I get stuck on the part where I fit into my skinny jeans too, as if anything matters after that! My youngest is 4 and I just lost the baby weight. But you get the idea.)

Smart-stupid is the same concept. I am smart-stupid. I seem smart because I know a little about a lot of things and because I use big words to distract people from noticing my lack of intrinsic cognition pertaining to convoluted and/or academic discourse. See. (This is useful at parties and work-related functions. And by useful, I mean people usually stop talking to me because they think I’m smarter than they are or a big fat jerk.) Too much fat, not enough muscle.

This is what I look like when I’m waiting to see if you’re buying my BS.

My practical knowledge is limited, but I use it to the best of my ability. I can tell my boys which paint colors to mix to get fuchsia (and yes, Goofus loves fuchsia). I can make anything out of cardboard and duct tape. I can, and do, answer all the “where do babies come from?” questions. (My 6 year-old, Goofus, has a better understanding of the female menstrual cycle than some men I’ve dated.) I teach them how to cook and give their bodies proper nutrition. And I will always be able to help them write term papers or analyze a piece of literature. That pretty much sums up my smarts. My stupids cover a lot more ground.

My stupids leave me powerless against Goofus and Doodlebug’s endless questions about life, liberty, and the pursuit of total chaos. I am especially inept when it comes to questions about science. I like the idea of science and I’m grateful for many of its discoveries and inventions. I’m super stoked about electricity (hey look, I’m using some right now!) and I enjoy the clean water that comes out of my faucets. I also like gravity; I have a hard enough time putting away laundry without it floating all over the place! So yeah, science is good stuff. But I’m not very interested in how it works. In high school I passed biology because I shared a table with 3 guys who did their homework and all of my labs. (Don’t read that last sentence to your children…or my parents.)

When my kids ask how rain and sunlight make rainbows, my best answers are: “Magic” or “No one really knows.” Ditto for, Where does electricity come from? and How do airplanes stay in the air? I don’t feel guilty about these lies. I’ve tried being honest. Honesty doesn’t fly:
Doodlebug:  “Mama, why do giraffes have brown spots?”
Me:  “I don’t know, Honey.”
Doodlebug:  “Why, Mama?! Why!? Tell me!!
Me:  “Honey, I don’t know. I don’t know means I can’t tell you the answer because I don’t know the answer.”
Doodlebug:  “Tell me, Mama! You have to tell me RIGHT NOW!!
Me:  *sigh*  “It’s magic; fairies put them there.”
Doodlebug:  “Oh yeah. Magic!” (Big smile.)

This is what I look like after 782 of these conversations with my kids.

So I don’t feel guilty. Besides, I am a mom who wants my kids to believe in magic, woodland fairies and the easter bunny. I’m not into organized religion, but I like the idea that there are forces we can’t explain at work in the universe. Some things are just better without explanation, like jokes…and chicken nuggets. Besides, as they grow up my boys will find plenty of other reasons to think I’m an idiot. Mommy is perfect is one illusion I don’t want to create.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Smart-Stoopid is the New Skinny-Fat

  1. Martha

    I find that people think I’m much smarter than I really am if I just keep my mouth shut. One person I was too intimidated by to even speak to later referred to me as “the intellectual”. See? It works.
    Your eyebrows are very tidy, btw. Nice work.

    • Thanks. I wish I could say the same for my bikini line, btw. Oh, and you know it’s physically impossible for me to keep my mouth shut. Oh well, next life I guess.

  2. Martine

    I’m with you on the science part. I remember having a feeling of magic lost when in Physics it was explained to me how a comb can make water (running from the faucet) bend. Not that I understood the explanation, but just the fact that there was an explanation other than magic.

  3. I hear you on the “whys.”

    Can you channel your inner Deanna Troi and ask, “Why do _you_ think?” Or do G and D have a script that returns them to “WHY?”

    If only David McCauley had a book on giraffes….

  4. Great link to the chicken nuggets part! eeehhww. Glad we don’t eat them.

  5. Wayne W.

    There are some topics, like emotions, that are just not good to talk about in sciency terms. Sure, I learned about the hormones involved in Love…that subject is best left up to the magic bits. Unless it goes sour.

  6. I’m going to be smiling in appreciation ALL DAY of that picture. Its a bit priceless — it’s a very “Jen” face that I love seeing in person, especially! I also think ‘magic’ is a very applicable answer to most of those questions, btw.

  7. Christina

    I rely heavily on my Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock! education to answer these questions. Check out Electricity.

  8. Debra

    It’s nice having the internet so we call look up answers to these questions, isn’t it? My son is 24 years old and I still haven’t lost my “baby fat.” Ha Ha Ha!!!

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