I still remember this old cast iron wall hanging that use to be in the kitchen of my maternal grandparents house many years ago. It seemed old to me at the time, a single color, something akin to a bright yellow with flashes and streaks of the iron underneath showing through. It hung there high on the wall across from the chair that my grandfather sat so that he could see it when he ate. If he cared to tip his head just slightly. It was written in German with the image of an old man wagging a thoughtful finger at what I assumed then and still today to be a grandchild, probably a son. In my minds eye I can still see one word clearly, Schmart. Of course my mind, being what it is might have twisted that a bit but I still think it is probably correct, after all it was some time ago. I still have a rough translation of what the little cast iron thingy had written on it, “The older you get the more you find that the less smart you are.”
This was a big topic for Grandpa whom seemed quite old to me at the time though I personally knew many people who were even older. He would get into detail about books of knowledge and how when you were young the book of what you knew was such and so big. Then he would hold his fingers far apart to indicate a book of great thickness. He would go on to explain that when you get older you realize that the book of what you actually know is only this thick and he would squeeze his fingers together to indicate a book to thin to draw even my interest as an eleven year old. I did read quite a bit by that time. I think that summer was my first encounter with To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the flies and Atlas Shrugged. The last title well beyond my ability to properly appreciate. So I liked the book reference and I thought that I understood what he meant which was that so much was being added to the body of knowledge that an individual just couldn’t keep up. Sort of the standard point of view of youth which I have heard often through out my life pointed at me as well as my wife which is old people don’t know anything. Mom’s don’t know anything, just pick your group and stick “don’t know anything” behind it.
So I thought I understood when I was young and in a way I did when I was young and that understanding was, as repetitious as it is, young. Being that I have some formal education, a mental disability and nothing but time I do a lot of thinking and reflecting which is probably one of the reasons that I deal with schizophrenia as well as a do. As a growing person has experiences and sometimes those experiences contradict what we were taught in school, college or at university. When we accept a thing as known with out having tested the idea to be sure, assuming that the thing is knowable, then it is an assumption. Believe me when I say that assumptions are everywhere like land mines. Assumptions extrapolated from, built on top of other and piled high and deep. Even when you know its an assumption you rush to defend it like the love of your life. Sometimes you think you now when you don’t. There are plenty of things of which I am fully well aware that I know nothing about and that’s not the issue the issue is the shit I think I know something about when I know nothing at all. I keep stumbling over these things, things I accept are so with out really knowing. Its getting to be a major pain in the ass and in the end that is what I think my Grandfather was talking about.
Its strange to me what I remember, those strange scant moments like shadows, vague an hazy and the ones that are sharp like yesterday’s morning. Why would my young eleven year old mind latch on to those conversations. Was it repetition? My brothers heard the same as often as I yet the have no recollection. It is odd what one remembers and how it effects them and influences their lives. So that “Not so Smart” was a joint project between myself and my Grandfather.
Look for your Muses and don’t be afraid to be wrong as much of a pain as it is, you might find a pleasant surprise on the other side of that fear.
Have a better than average day.