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Confessions From the Past

The Chapter About Being Smart

Today, at my Boring Ass Job, someone asked for my co-worker because they didn’t think I knew how to help them.

“Oh, well, I can do that.” I stuttered awkwardly.

“Oh. Really? Okay then.”

The fuck?

At this point in your past, Dear Future Self, you’ve been working at your Boring Ass Job for five years.



When I really think about it, I’ve always kind of been that girl. I wouldn’t say ditsy; as you know, I’ve always done well in school. I just feel like I’ve had so many moments in life like the one I had tonight.

For example, here is a conversation I wonder if you’re still used to having:

“How’s college?! What are you studying?!” And then, “Music…? Oh. Well, that’s nice.”

Follow your dream, they say. (But make it practical.)

I went over to Grandma’s house to have dinner last week and as we got caught up in discussing everything under the sun over strawberry pie, the conversation led us to politics. I told her I knew nothing about the subject except that Donald Trump was an ass. (This is 2016, mind you. I pray he isn’t the man that gets to run this country. I hope you’re sighing a deep breath of relief remembering how that was something that could potentially happen but didn’t.)

“Well, that’s all you need to know.”

I told her how I still wished I’d spent more time educating myself on the matter. She said how she’s always paid attention to politics but loved studying history, mostly.

“American history, that is. I hated learning about other countries. It just wasn’t interesting to me.”

From there she told me that story that I’d heard several times before but loved all the same. She was sitting in a Latin American history class, 18, and two weeks from graduating high school. Her teacher, a woman she described as “terrible,” “short,” and “ugly,” saw that she wasn’t paying attention in class (talking to her girlfriends about their latest endeavor to Coney Island) and asked her to come to the front.

“Find Guatemala,” her teacher said gesturing to the big map behind her.

“You know, one of those old ones that pulls down,” Grandma always says when she tells this story. “Well, I looked for a couple seconds and knew I wouldn’t be able to find it so that’s exactly what I told her. ‘I can’t find it.’ ‘Yes you can,’ she told me. ‘No. I can’t. I don’t know where it is.’ And, ya know what? She folded her arms like this,” This is the part where she folds her arms and sticks out her chin out as much as I think is humanly possible for a woman her tiny size. “And do you know what that old bitch says to me? She says ‘Well, no one is leaving this class until you find it.’ And I say ‘Well, then no one is leaving because I can’t find it.’ We waited, it must’ve been half an hour, with me standing up in front of the class like that before the bell rang and everyone left. I started to walk out when she goes ‘Ms. Coniglio, come back here!’ ‘I’ll be damned if I do!’ I shouted back. I never did go back to that class.”

In fact, she never even finished high school because of that class. With two weeks left in her senior year, she dropped out all together. She always says it with such confidence and sass that it never even sounds like a dumb idea.

“That’s crazy! At least you know about American history. I dropped out of my history class my freshman year of college after a week. I don’t think I’ve had anything remotely close to it since I was a sophomore in high school.” Knowing you, Me, that’s probably still true. “I’m so dumb when it comes to that stuff.”

She shook her head. “No. No one is dumb.”

I looked at her like she was crazy because, at that very moment I could name at least five people that came to mind.

“It’s true,” she said. “No one is dumb. I’m not dumb when it comes to music. I just didn’t spend my time trying to learn it because it didn’t interest me. It’s not that I couldn’t figure it out, it’s only that I never cared to try. You’re not dumb when it comes to history. It’s just not where your passion lies. Passion is the road to intelligence. No one is born knowing everything there is to know about everything.”

And how true that is. Sometimes I wish I had her spunky, sassy, confident outlook on life for everything.

Suck it, Boring Ass Job.