Note to Self (2)
17 November 2002
My dearest M—
Heartfelt apologies for not writing sooner; as you know, I’ve been a bit busy. I am astonished to find that you have yet to make any new friends. Is there a reason for this, or are you simply idling? Philosophers through the millennia have pointed out the necessity of forming friendships, both for one’s health and for one’s happiness; and you know that—what’s your excuse? I had held out hopes that you were not socially benighted, but it appears you are more inept than even I had imagined. It sounds cruel, I know, but I am more than a little frustrated at your lack of amiability.
And then there’s the question of intelligence. A few people have told you you’re ‘smart’—I trust you’ve realized that this just means they can’t lie well enough to pay any other compliment such as, ‘gosh, you’re sweet,’ or ‘gee, you are really nice, you know?’ etc. because (setting aside, momentarily, your myriad failings in appearance and demeanor) you’re not that smart. Okay. Let’s rephrase: you’re an idiot, but your’re smart enough to see, to some extent, how much of an idiot you are. (I don’t mean you have a Socratic level of self-knowledge, either, so stop smirking.) You are merely clever. And of all human failings cleverness, I’ve come to find, is one of the worst. Nonetheless, I remain