How to be a Genius

Chaos in Print


SARAH:         Mark, could you come in here for a minute?

MARK:            Sure, what’s up?

SARAH:         Well, it’s this project.  We’ve got to burn these spots to CD and I don’t know how to work the burning program.

MARK:            OK.  It’s really easy.  First, open up the burner program.

SFX:  TYPING (:01)

SARAH:         Done.

MARK:            Now find the wave files and click on them to add them to the disc.

SARAH:         But I thought we were doing MP3s for this assignment.

MARK:            Yes, but that was just to e-mail to the instructor.  Remember what he said in class.  When you’re burning to disc, the wave files are better.

SARAH:         Ah.  OK.  So here’s the waves.  I add them.  Now what?  I have to slow the burn speed first, right?

MARK:            Yup.  Just click there and that’ll do it.  And, hit record.


SARAH:         And that’s it?

MARK:            That’s it.

SARAH:         Wow.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, Mark.

MARK:            Well, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

SARAH:         What?

MARK:            It means we’ll never know.

SARAH:         You’re such a genius.


I’ve been called a genius many times in my short life, but to tell the truth, I’ve never believed it.  I may be smart, intelligent even.  At least, that’s what having a degree in physics leads people to believe.  But a genius?  Never in a million years.  I just don’t have the marketing savvy.  Being a genius, or at least regarded as one, is just another label we attribute to people, like “savant” or “cool.”  Being a genius has very little to do with how smart you are.  I’ve known some geniuses who were downright idiots, and I’ve known some very smart people who weren’t geniuses at all.  Nope, genius is just another image we project.  And, since I’ve suckered many people into believing that I’m a genius, it must be an image I’m good at projecting.  So then, let me help you out.  Here are the five simple steps to being a genius.

1)     Pay attention.

It’s been mentioned in several of my classes that there are no original ideas left in radio.  That’s pretty much true for the whole world.  But, also bear in mind that we live in an amnesic society.  People tend to forget things pretty quick.  Why else do the people of Alberta keep re-electing Ralph Klein?  So, in order to be a genius, all you have to do is remember.  When you spout off the wisdom that was en vogue last week, people will have forgotten already and regard you as being…a genius!!  As was shown in the above case study.  All I did was regurgitate what the teacher said in class a few days before.  Nothing new.  Nothing original.

2)     Quote movies.

Most of the best writers today are working in Hollywood.  Well, actually, they are working in literary circles as well, but people don’t read books as much as they used to.  Besides, you’re some busy people.  You ain’t got time to read!  Pulling the proper turn of phrase from the big blockbuster of five years ago will make you seem witty, brilliant, and…a genius!!  Although, I will warn you, it’s best you choose obscure and/or old movies.  For example:

”There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

A little throwaway line from The Matrix.  It came out five years ago.  Only a die-hard geek would get it.  But, say I ended my discussion with Sarah like this:

”Who am I?  I’m Spider-Man.”


Oh, and it never hits to broaden your horizons on this.  Watch a few classic films.  And make the time to read, too!  Shakespeare is boiling over with quotes that will make you seem like…a genius!!  You don’t know how many arguments I’ve ended with Hamlet’s immortal line, “There are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  It’s a much classier way of saying, “Look, dumbass, let’s just agree to disagree.”

3)     Choose your words carefully.

The common misconception is that geniuses pepper their language with big words to show off their fancy college education.  That’s not really true.  The proper mark of a genius is choosing the right word for the right situation.  A big word isn’t as important as the right word.  So, if some guy says, “This is a grandiose scheme the kind of which has never been imagined in the schedule of imagining,” well, he’s got no freakin’ clue what he’s saying.  But, if he says, “That’s a bid idea that’s never been thought of before,” well, that’s…a genius!!   I have lost track of how many people I’ve impressed because I managed to spew out the right word.  I’ve used the occasional big word that’s best suited to a lecture hall, right down to obscure slang from the American south.  It’s all about using the right word at the right time.

4)     Be polite.

There’s a fine line between being a jerk and being…a genius!!  It’s called manners.  This is a jerk:

SARAH:         Hey, Mark, could you come in here for a second?

MARK:            Fuck you, bitch!  I’m a busy.

And this is…a genius!!

SARAH:         Hey Mark, could you come in here for a second?

MARK:           Sure.  What’s up?

Bottom line:  people will think of you in nicer terms if you’re nice to them.  It’s just nice to be nice.  (Neelix said that in Voyager.  See?  I can’t turn off my mojo.  And there’s choosing the right word again.  I just can’t stop!)

5)     Have no fear in expressing yourself.

There are six billion or so people on this planet.  That means six billion different world views.  But geniuses in the past have been the ones who have stood up and said, “Well, this is what I think.”  Let’s go through the list.  Galileo:  “Well, this is what I think…the Earth revolves around the Sun.”  Einstein:  “Well, this is what I think…a person would see if he were riding on a beam of light.”  (The Theory of Relativity came out of that one.)  The founding fathers of Canada:  “Well, this is what we think…it’s time we were our own country.”  An enemy once told me that the world was changed by those who think differently.  Well, guess what?  Everyone thinks differently.  Having the thought isn’t what changes things.  It’s doing something with it.  All you have to do is stand up and express your thought.  People will look back and say, “Dude, you’re…a genius!!” 

And that’s all it takes.  Intelligence has very little to do with being a genius.  Just follow these five simple steps, and you’ll be a genius just like me!  Living a chaste life in your parents’ basement, watching obscure movies, watching everything around you, and speaking up only when you have something to say.

True, it won’t get you laid much, but people will think you’re…a genius!!

(All things being equal, I’d much rather be the guy who gets laid.)

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