“I’m lazy! Who are you?
Are you lazy, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.”
I am a lazy person. I bet you are, too.
We are all as lazy as we can afford to be. We work hard enough to get what we want done, and then we waste time.
So are smart people lazier?
They can get away with working less.
By now we Yalies have figured out (remember how clever we are!) that we can get away with slacking off a bit. We are all faking it, to some extent. But if the really impressive people here can dominate their lit sections having read only 20 pages of the novel, is this a good thing?
Is intelligence a liability if it allows you to be lazy?
The smarties discovered a long time ago that they could start that paper at 1 a.m. the night before and still get an A-minus. (See the comments on my friend’s Dostoevsky essay: “This could have been an A paper … if you hadn’t stapled the pages together in the wrong order and misspelled the name of the author four times.”)
And we can see that the smartest are not necessarily the most successful. Look at the heads of the activities around you — they’re not smarter or more stimulating than you are; they’re just more driven.
Ambition cures our laziness.
We Yalies range in our smarts, backgrounds and talents, but we were handpicked by admissions officers for some vague potential, as maybe-future-world-leaders. I’d say we were chosen for our futures.
And we spend our present trying to prove that potential for the future. Mostly, we prove how smart we are.
The hard workers among us are proving intelligence in test results. The procrastinators are proving it in speed.
Velocity is distance over time (v = d/t), right? So if we set intellectual “quickness” equal to grades divided by study time, then hard workers go for distance (grades) and procrastinators go for velocity (the same grades in minimal time).
A-minus on your history paper / 45 minutes writing it = proof that you are rather smart.
Our entire student body can’t stop competing in complaints over who has the most work — and more specifically, over who has the most work and never does it; the battle of who can do less and still get A’s.
Thank God we all envy beauty and wit instead of work or some equally boring/non-genetic thing!
The hard worker’s A proves he is smart and/or diligent, so even he will try to downplay the diligence factor (discipline is not showy). But I think the smartest people don’t participate in this need to demonstrate intelligence. I think the smartest people know they’ve got it.
The ones who do great things are not hung up on proving intelligence because they worry about not wasting it.
Was Dante worried you’d think he was a bad rhymer? No, he feared he might not follow through on his potential.
Intelligence is the means to an end, so the smarter you are, the higher your stakes. I’d say Lucifer was a pretty smart guy, and look where that got him (Hell). Dante wanted to prove his worth.
You don’t admire your smart friend because she is “a complete waste of space” and she “spent the last five hours on the facebook!” (Do people think these complaints are cute? If you are my friend, don’t be offended, I don’t mind your venting, but I also don’t think you’re smarter for it.)
I admire intellectual productivity, in whatever form.
Maybe the best mind in your year is outside smoking with the homeless man he just bummed a cigarette to, philosophizing about why every person in New Haven and his mother has suddenly decided it would be fun to attack Yale students. Maybe he is failing Natty Haz because he doesn’t go to class.
I don’t care if you’re analyzing the inherent depravity of Toad’s; intellectual productivity just means bettering your brain. It means assigning a worth to your brain and what you do with it.
If you’re not doing amazingly in your classes, so be it, but if you’re not getting smarter, then shame on you.
You will be the picture in my history book whose caption reads, “This girl got a 1600 on her SAT’s and spent the rest of her life trying to extricate her fat rolls from the cracks of her suitemate’s couch.”
Just kidding. You won’t be in my history book.
You’re at Yale, and you should be improving. You’re alive, and you should be improving. And if your Natty Haz grade doesn’t confirm that improvement — why do you need so much proof? I’ll notice.
Stop wearing so much makeup, and I’ll notice if you’re beautiful, too.
Otherwise you will end up Yale’s clever, uninformed, utterly faking-it prodigal son.
But hey, at least you aren’t in King’s College at Cambridge. They print obits for their alumni like, “He was blond, good-looking in an unexciting, rather girlish (but not effeminate) way. … ‘Mild’ is the adjective which springs to my mind when I remember him.”
Don’t worry, we’re not British. If you donate some money, I’m sure Yale will say something nice about you when you die.
Susannah Bragg is all play and no work.