The MacArthur Foundation has announced it’s annual “Genius Awards.” And I sadly was yet again overlooked. There was a time when “I coulda been a contender.” I was in the smart classes. I impressed people with my intellect. I was gifted and talented. But somewhere along the way I lost my smart. It could be with the socks that went into the dryer and never reappeared. I don’t know, but it’s gone.
However, having once rubbed elbows with the above average, I take issue with some of those who have been labeled geniuses. Matias Zaldarriaga, 35, a Harvard University professor from Argentina who is working to uncover the early history of the cosmos seems like a good choice. I have no arguments about Kevin Eggan, 32, a developmental biologist and principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. But German-born artist Anna Schuleit, 31, who uses flowers, grasses and music to bring historic institutions to life was named a genius, as was Josiah McElheny, 40, a master glassblower from New York. Really?!
I think if you’re going to hand out a half million dollars to geniuses, then they ought to actually be geniuses. Although, I’m starting to think the key is to get yourself a very good title. I’m going to demand new business cards that label me the Director of Developmental Biology rather than the Director of External Relations. See one sounds a lot smarter than the other. Mostly, I just want the $500k.