They say be careful what you wish for. And, as is often the case, “they” are right.
As a kid, I wished the world favored the smart. I was a smart kid, and it seemed like the world – at least my world – was dominated by bullies and airheads. Might made right, just like in the times of old. My high IQ and love of learning were no match for popular dolts, so a portion of my childhood was wasted just trying to disappear into the background.
Unknown to me at the time, much of the adult world operated the same way. It didn’t take a lot of intellect to have a respectable, enjoyable middle class existence in the world of the 1970s. The willingness to put in a full day’s work (or, if protected by a union, a portion of a day’s work) was enough to trump the potential impediment of a double-digit IQ. As I’ve mentioned before, my own uncle had a nice house, an even larger vacation home, and plenty of leisure time, and he worked inside the stink of a Louisiana paper mill.
The world did change, however, exactly as I hoped. My first indication was a cover story of California magazine titled “Revenge of the Nerds” with Steve Wozniak’s smiling face and Apple-logo eyeglasses. It turns out the grey matter languishing in my head started to have value. At 15 years of age, I began writing articles for nationally-distributed computer magazines. At 16 years old, I wrote my first published book, which was followed by a couple dozen others. I was earning enough money to buy a Porsche in high school. It was suddenly cool – and profitable – to be smart. (more…)