“If You’re So Smart…

…why aren’t you rich?”

That’s what they used to say to me back in the Midwest, in response to my being an insufferable know-it-all.  I am a more sufferable know-it-all these days, so I am rarely asked this question, which is disappointing since I now have many good answers for it.

There’s the factual-sociological-statistical answer.  If you correlate income and intelligence statistics, you will quickly discover that millions of geniuses are working at McJobs, if they can find work at all.  Smarter people are not richer.  Those who hold advanced degrees and/or desirable skills and talents are richer, and so are people who fit whatever the current societal standards for physical attractiveness happen to be.

There’s also the philosophical response, which requires a re-evaluation of what truly constitutes richness.  I could just say, “I AM rich!”  I have a loving spouse, satisfying work, good friends, creative outlets AND my health.  I may not have much money, but I have enough to pay the bills, my taxes, and I live in one of the world’s cutest little houses.  I am SOOOoooo rich.

Even though I’m rich, I’m not Rich.  Frank Rich, that is.  Frank Rich is a superb columnist who has been writing for The New York Times for three decades.  AFTER my last post comparing and contrasting The Social Network with True Grit (among other things), Frank published a terrific piece about why both versions of True Grit were hits.  Then he compared and contrasted each one to their value-opposites; Easy Rider, and The Social Network.

Frank Rich’s column is longer and better than mine was.  I did, however, notice and explore these two thematic opposites ONE WHOLE DAY before he did!  I may not be Rich, but it made me feel smart.

Here’s Frank Rich’s column:



Filed under Ethics and Morality, humor, Money, Self-Esteem

18 responses to ““If You’re So Smart…

  1. You ARE smart, Michael. 🙂

  2. You there, on the south half of the globe – stop making me blush!

  3. I really like your transitions and quality. I have been producing for Ghost Writers for a while now, and they pay me well to write blog posts like this, or articles. I clear $100-$200 on a poor evening.
    Judging by your ability with the written word, you may enjoy doing the same.
    It wouldnt hurt to check them out.Here are the details

    • I appreciate the compliment, but truthfully, I haven’t got the time and money doesn’t entice me much.
      (I hope this isn’t one of those companies where people write term papers so students can cheat and buy them.)

  4. Hi Mike,

    I too have the know-it all streak. It’s comforting to know that it dissipates over time.:) You are incredibly rich. And smart too!

    • I’m happy to have finally learned the real value of things and ideas. It’s so enjoyable to discover it was all about love all along, like the songs have said since the beginning. Matter, money and material count for little, though I admit it is nice to have a functioning body to tool around the physical plane in as long as I’m stuck here.

  5. I’d say you’re rather rich.
    I’m rather rich too being rich chard. lol
    And theres nothing better than feeling smart than knowing you though of something before another rich did

  6. Cat

    I wish people were just paid for every IQ point they had above average. 😉 (I kid.) But honestly, I get the same sort of thing. I’m always asked why I won’t go into law or medicine (though I might go into law) because, “You’re so smart, so you could make so much money.” BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT LOL.

    • We who will die deeply beloved will have the best of everything in life. You need enough money to pay basic bills, but that’s usually far less than the amount we’ve been pressured to run the maze for.

  7. I’ve never taken an IQ test by a psychologist or anything. If a test is timed I end up below average. If the test is math I’m below average. I once got Forrest Gump levels on an online IQ test. But on untimed ones I can sometimes get above average.
    I imagine you hit in the over 150 set.

  8. CM

    Great post. I’m still as confused about my life as I always was but now I don’t feel all alone. Thanks. MM

  9. Mikey, I have a lot of crappy days, today being one of them and I needed to read this. Love the part that starts..”If you correlate income and intelligence statistics, you will quickly discover that millions of geniuses are working at McJobs..”

    And of course, the suggested philosophical response, “I AM Rich!”..just not Richie Rich, right? It’s all in perspective, thanks for handing it to me on this crappy morn. 🙂

    • Thank you, Maria.

      (Maria’s one of richest women I know. Loving family, the heart of a tigress, and a great balance of edge and compassion in her writing – something I strive for in my own. She calls her posts “rants”, but of course they aren’t. They’re good arguments in favor of living ethically, told with passion and eloquence.)

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