Intellectuals vs Yosemite Sam

October15/ 2009

Intellectuals vs Yosemite Sam :  Every parent does it.  Gaze at your cherubic new born.  Imagine he/she slurping that oyster called “Life”.  Will he/she be a doctor, lawyer, ninja assassin, butcher, baker, Biggest Loser winner, quarterback, nickel back?   Does ANY parent wish their child to be “an Intellectual”.  Would even an “intellectual” wish such a gloomy fate on an infant.

I can use $.50 words correctly – most of the time.  I know who Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were – O-linemen for Knute Rockne.   I have a faux MENSA key I can wear as a cravat pin.  Hellfire; maybe I can get work as “Rent An Intellectual”.

I will show up at your fancy shindig as a boorish snob and pretend that while I may not know EVERYTHING, I certainly know lots more than anyone else in the room.  – “We both know I am Gene Nichol; but I really don’t care who you are” –   Pretend I don’t thumb thru People magazine while checking out at Target or don’t know which Kardashian dates Reggie Bush.   Kim.

I won’t quote Dalton The Cooler or Aunt Bea.  I can quote Maya Angelou and in “an NPR voice”.  I know that Yo Yo Ma is a very cool dude who, when not fiddling with his cello (or celloing with his fiddle), enjoys NASCAR and making motorboat sounds in his Mello Yello.

The #1 disservice that “intellectuals” inflict on society is equating themselves with the performing arts.   One “intellectual” in an audience for Wicked need not be like one flatulent skunk on a crosstown bus.

The value of “intellectuals” can be equated with the ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot using one’s tongue.

The worth of that skill decreases exponentially after seeing it done twice.  A drawing room or faculty lounge full of people tying cherry stems into knots can be stifling after ten minutes.  That each one thinks they are THE best knot tier in the room amps up the hilarity a few notches.

“Intellectual” being synonymous with “smart” or, worse, “educated” is a common mistake.  Furthering that misconception is essential to their fragile self-worth.  The docent in the museum did not paint the pictures.

I am the strongest champion there is of Knowledge.  The stockpiling of knowledge should be every man’s life work.  The application of knowledge trumps its possession.  Winning a living room round of Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit is satisfying but hardly the most rewarding application.

Kid has enjoyed an epiphany in her final year of “going to college”.   “Getting an education” thru completion of assigned course work has been easy for her.  Thru taking several “that sounds interesting” electives she found the simple pleasure of learning stuff.

“Drink deep or taste not the Perian spring” is not the only alternative.  If acquiring knowledge is akin to a Golden Corral Buffet then a precursory trip to sample items can be followed up by returning to “pile it high” pig-out on what really tastes good.   What tastes good to me may not be as tasty to you.  That’s why Golden Corral, and Life, has so many items to choose from.

My famous Deep Thought that Renaissance Tradesmen are the luckiest of us all still holds water.  A cabinetmaker or an auto mechanic that speaks several languages or has read “the classics” or collects miniature soldiers or plays a mean harmonica is likely a man not having the want to convince others that he is “quite the intellectual”.

Missus collects ceramic turkeys.  I don’t collect anything but I sure gain pleasure watching her get out, and display, her collections.  Maybe I DO collect “watching those I care for be happy”.

Is my disdain for “intellectuals” simply a political thing since the stereotype “intellectual” resides on that side of the aisle I don’t abide very well?  That’s not a good enough reason.

Is it because “intellectual” is often associated with the foppish arrogance of academia?  No, “teaching” is still among the noblest of professions even when practiced by the less noble among us.  Kid had one of those “noble ones” last semester in her Geography of The Middle East class.  She has had a few of the less noble ones too.  In the work-a-day world she will find the same variety in managers, bosses and co-workers.

Learning to maneuver thru the human wheat and chafe we all encounter in life is certainly valuable knowledge, I think.  I hope Kid will be a faster learner than I have been.  That knowledge seems to be of the “with no pain – there is no gain” variety.

I associate “intellectuals” with people who take themselves quite seriously.  I find that to be the most unabideable of human traits.

Those with whom I arbitrarily choose to spend my time, are, without fail, “quick” and well-intended.  They may not all be “glib” but are, at heart, humble folks and “raised right” either by parents, spouses and/or life experiences.  Tolerating me is not always that easy.

My request to whoever will carve my tombstone epitaph is it not include BobLee was quite the Intellectual.   Think I’m pretty safe on that one?


Remember my terrific Christmas gift of getting my trusty F-150 painted high-gloss black?  It already ranks with “giving up golf” among my five personal best lifestyle choices.  The perfect complement to my shiny black truck was a pair of Yosemite Sam ‘Back Off’ mud flaps.  NOT those Foxy Lady mudflaps.  Those are déclassé.  I’m talking Yosemite Sam ‘Back Off’ flaps.

Getting Yosemite Sam mudflaps is NOT a decision a husband / daddy would EVER put up for vote in a female-dominated family.   It’s on a par with “where should I hang my prize mounted 5 lb bass?”.   The answer will be “where no one will see it”.

I got the Yosemite Sam mudflaps from, where else, the tacky truck accessory store.  Three days later Missus notices them.  She kinda freaks and tells Kid “your father is strange”.   To which Kid wryly noted “Mom, dad passed ‘strange’ a long time ago, while you were collecting ceramic turkeys.”

Say good night Gracie.

BobLee’s Deep Thoughts have become an instant Internet sensation.  Ol’ Roy2Rings is considering buying an IMac, an IPhone AND an IPad just so he can ICollect them.

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