I Heart Indies

Friday, May 31, 2013

Never Marry Anyone Dumber Than You and Other Advice

The other night we had dinner with my cousins Don and Judy who'd come up from Florida to do some shopping and gallivant in Atlanta.  Over crepes, Judy opined that she wouldn't have married Don if he weren't "just a little bit smarter" than she was, and that she saw trouble looming large and unmistakable for any couple where one partner was significantly brighter than the other.

Nancy amended this to say that she and I are smarter than each other "in different ways."  For example, I completely suck at navigating streets.  Back in the days before GPS, Nancy took me on a shortcut, and we drove through streets to me as unfamiliar as anything on Mars, until finally we turned a corner, and I exclaimed in triumph, "I know where we are!"  We'd arrived on our own street.  The mysterious route she'd taken me on was through our own subdivision.

As if to compensate for this deficit, I have an inherent knack for navigating in what Nancy calls "fantasy land."  Plop me down in an amusement park anywhere in the world, with its winding circuitous paths that loop and intersect without rhyme or reason, and in a few minutes I can tell you exactly what you need to do to get to the tilt-a-whirl or the food pavilion.

Nancy is good at all the day-to-day financial stuff: making sure the light bills are paid and the dog's ear drops are current.  I, and this is as astonishing as anything ever written in a blog, am the one who handles our investments.

Nancy can recognize any actor and tell you after a moment's consideration every movie he or she has appeared in.  I cannot do this.  I believe I have a mild case of face-blindness - or, no, face-blindness is too harsh.  Maybe it's just face-astigmatism, but in any case, I am incapable of identifying any celebrity whose image hasn't been pounded into my brain by constant appearance on magazine covers at the grocery checkout.

And Nancy reads a lot more than I do; she easily finishes four or five books in the time it takes me to read one.  I recently finished two books by friends of mine (Where You Can Find Me by Sheri Joseph, and The Home Jar by Nancy Zafris) and I worry I might offend them by how long it took me to get around to reading them, but I can't help it.  I'm just a slow reader.

But I do remember stories - it may take me forever to get through a book, and I may not be able to spot Janeane Garofalo from James Gandolfini, but I remember what the stories were about.  Sometimes I recall entire passages.  Decades after reading them, I can tell you about the wonderful metaphor B F Skinner used with the word "precessing" or how Frazier (in a greatly abridged version of  The Golden Bough) used another metaphor employing black, red, and white threads to represent magic, religion, and science.

So back to the actual topic of this blog, which is selecting a partner based on his or her intelligence.  What you really want is someone who is both stupider and smarter than you are... in very specific  ways.

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