Getting Stupider

Remember that song Things Can Only Get Better by D:ream from 1994?  I do.  One of the reasons is in that very band was a man who grew up to become a personal hero of mine, none other than Professor Brian Cox.  Professor Cox has on numerous occasions pointed out that the very song which made him famous (and probably quite a bit of moolah), was dead wrong.  According to some fairly fancy scientific principles which I don’t understand, but still love to hear explained to me me, things don’t get better. They get worse.

I’ll get to more of that in a minute, but first I need to digress.  I so enjoy listening to experts in the math and scientific fields discuss their stuff – even though I’m a complete dumbass and can barely manage to figure out how much per kilo I’m paying for chops at the butcher – that I subscribe to Professor Cox’s podcast The Infinite Monkey Cage, (TIMC) as well as other similar podcasts by similar, (although not so entertaining) really, really smart people.  If you haven’t discovered TIMC, do.  Oddly enough, listening to such shows, while they constantly point out there’s more and more stuff I don’t know and will never understand, only serves to bring me pleasure.  There’s a beauty in it, and it’s not just in maths and sciency stuff.  You listen to any real expert in their field talk passionately about that subject, and chances are you’ll feel a tug of enthusiasm toward the subject too, even if it’s something you know your brain could never even begin to comprehend.

Now, back to things going downhill.  There really is a scientific principle of physics that proves things can indeed only get get worse.   I don’t know what it is.  As Professor Cox.  But remember this is my blog, so of course I have to tie all this back to me, me. me.  Sure my bones are weakening, my eyes can’t focus on any font smaller than TNR 8 at a distance of 30 centimeters or less, my joints are becoming more arthritic, the fuzz on my chin is getting grayer, and my metabolism is slowing down so much that even looking at a Quarterpounder makes me gain weight.  I’m also getting dumber.  Granted I’m more aware of my own increasing stupidity, and no that doesn’t make me wise; it just means I’m capable of observing change.  A fucking monkey can do that.   And it doesn’t help.  What does help is technology.

I’ve got spreadsheets with calculations and algorithms for doing my day-job buying and cost calculating.  Some of those spreadsheets and tables are years old, and I know I wrote at least some of the sums myself, but I’d be buggered if I had to do it again now.  Wouldn’t even have the foggiest idea where to start.  One of my brothers, who luckily enough has math brain, wrote some of the trickier ones for me.  I remember that much, but as to how they actually work?  Nup.  I could read out the zeroes, minuses, pluses, brackets etc until I’m blue in the face, but I might as well me trying to speak chimpanzee.  I’d sound kinda funny but not make a scrap of sense.  I’m now also able to carry these forms around with me when I do my job as a buyer at trade fairs and when I visit factories, all thanks to my phone.  Even getting to those places used to be a challenge I enjoyed.  I’d read a map and drive or occasionally take the train.  Now if I drive anywhere, on goes the gps app.  Probably couldn’t even make it out of my own driveway without it now.

So, yeah, I’m getting dumber.  But you know what?  I don’t mind.  As long as I can still read and write…  so long as I can still appreciate smart stuff, I reckon I’m doing ok.  In fact, I reckon I can appreciate that smart stuff more now than I could when I was in fact smarter.  Again, no, I’m not becoming more humble or less arrogant.  I’m still the centre of the universe thank-you very much, and by far the most important person you’ll ever get to know (You know I’m having a little joke, here right?  Professor Cox is waaay more important than little old me.)

But being thick as a plank, and getting thicker all the time, does have a benefit, and maybe there might be some of that getting of wisdom malarkey in there for all I know.  It’s really quite simple.  The world really is a wonderful place, full of wonderful things and wonderful people.  I can look around in wide-eyed awe at everything, from a building that every synapse in my noggin says shouldn’t be standing up, to a flowering weed in a garden bed, following the sun across our sky, and just take it all in.  Wow!

I’ve talked before about my topsy-turvy moods, and that boggart in my head who opens up the dark tunnel every now and then.  Meds help, but you know what else does?  Going for a walk.  Leaving the phone on silent, and just walking around, being dense.  Disconnecting from all the crap that’s going on, and just taking a few moments to enjoy looking at something, anything, and thinking ‘isn’t that amazing?’  Try it.  You might not be getting dumber like I am, but if you feel you are, don’t despair.  It just means there’s more out there for you to discover.  So, yeah, maybe things aren’t getting better; they’re getting more wonderful!