Are you an 'In-duh-vidual'? Do so many things go over your head that you have your own air traffic control tower? Do people purposely use small words when they talk to you? If so, then I unequivocally advocate…I mean...strongly suggest you read the rest of this column. Just follow the few tips outlined below, and 'Life and Times of Joey Tribiani' will no longer be your biography!<\i>
Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to help you become smarter. I can't work miracles after all. But who cares whether you are smart, if everyone else thinks that you are? So here it is, your definitive guide to a 'brighter' future:
How To Be An Intellectual
The secret to being an intellectual is not what you say, but what you don't say. You don't need to have pearls of wisdom dropping from your lips in every conversation, but it should seem like there's a whole pile of them stashed away in your brain. I'm keeping in mind your…um…lack of mental agility, and as I can't draw pictures to explain this concept to you, here's an example:
Your Typical Dumb Conversation
Friend:- So, what did you think of the play we saw yesterday?
You:- It was really nice. All the costumes were so pretty, and the seats were nice and soft.
Friend:- Uh....yeah, I guess. I thought it was very moving, didn't you?
You:- Well, it was OK. The actors kept messing up their lines.
Friend:- On the contrary, I thought the dialogue was magnificently delivered. Who messed up?
You:- You know, that girl in the balcony talking to that painter named Art-thou. I didn't know which fort she was trying to find. Still, it was quite funny.
Friend:- What? Funny? It was a tragedy! 'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragedy! He's not a painter, he's…what fort are you talking about? There was no fort in the play!
You:- Remember, she keeps saying, " Where fort, Art-thou?"
And you wonder why your friends hit you so much.
The Intellectual Conversation
Friend:- So did you like the play?
You:- Well…all things considered, I guess it wasn't too bad.
Friend:- Did you feel the two rival families were justified in preventing the marriage?
You:- Hmm…perhaps…in light of certain events.
Friend:- Yeah! I think the play will be a hit, don't you?
You:- (pause) …all things remaining equal…maybe. I can't say without a full evaluation of both sides of the issue.
Friend:- Wow! I wish I understood plays in as much depth as you!
Notice how, by using certain stock phrases, you manage to avoid displaying your total and utter ignorance of the topic at hand, and even come across as a highly intelligent person and a deep thinker. The best part is, these phrases will fit any topic!
To come across as an intellectual, nothing is more effective than the pause. A well-timed pause gives the impression of fervent mental processes taking place, and helps to back up even the most half-witted opinion. The listener usually thinks that something so meticulously thought out is bound to have a deep-seated truth in it, and assumes that the answer seems stupid just because they themselves can't understand it.
Friend:- So who do you think should be the next Chief Minister?
You:- (pause)…Johnny Lever.
Friend:- (trying to hide his own ignorance)…Yes! I tend to...um…agree with you. Wonderful choice!
To come across as being an intellectual, one should appear to be very well-read. However, your repertoire of comic books and lunch menus doesn't count. This problem is easily solved by what I call the 'Quotation Technique'. Just remember the following names - Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius. (No, not Confusion, you dummy!). Drop these names as often as you can in conversation, you can even attribute your own ideas to these legendary minds.
High-brow friend: The wonderful view from up here reminds me of man's insignificance in the universe. (Looks expectantly at you)
You: Well, I believe that Socrates covered all that can be said on the subject when he remarked, "Man, we're pretty high up! I hope I don't fall!"
High-brow Friend: How profound! This sort of place makes one go through a whole gamut of emotions, don't you think?
You: (not having understood the question) Um…yeah. As Aristotle once exclaimed, "What, after all, is a gamut?"
High-brow Friend: Quite so! Quite so! Every time we begin to grow out of our bodies, Nature comes and puts us back in our place!
You: To quote from Plato's most famous book, "Yes."
Before you assume that this whole 'intellectualism' thing is going to be easy, let me rush to assure you that it's not. There are two ways to do this, the right way and the wrong way (count them, I'll wait). The correct way was covered in the paragraphs above, so now let's look at what might happen if you really are as dumb as you look.
The Wrong Way
Girlfriend: (strolling on a moonlit beach) Do you love me, darling?
You: All things remaining equal…maybe. I can't say without evaluating the pros and cons of the issue.
Host: So, are you enjoying my party?
You: (long pause)…Yes.
Little Kid: (after you've just run over his dog) Is he dead?
You: As Confucius said, "What is death to a squashed up puppy, after all?"
Just a word of caution about the Thoughtful Pause - while it is an effective tool, try not to overdo it, no matter how much weight you want to give your words. Graveyards are filled with people still waiting for the right moment to say their piece!